Mike Hampton has not lost to the Pirates this decade. That streak continued as Hampton allowed just one run, three hits and three walks in seven very effective innings.
Virgil Vasquez certainly was fine. He gave up a two run triple to Geoff Blum in the first and a two run double to Miguel Tejada in the fifth. He retired the side in order in three of his six innings.
The Pirates outburst came in the 7th. Garrett Jones led off with a double and Robinzon Diaz singled with two out to bring him in, getting thrown out at second in the process to end the inning.
Diaz had two of the three hits.
Evan Meek whiffed the side in the 8th. Jose Valverde returned the favor in the 9th.
Daggone. The offense.
Freddy Sanchez was out again.
Hampton’s last loss to Pittsburgh was 5/30/99. Mike Benjamin (of all people) did the heavy lifting in that one with a bases clearing double in the second in support of Kris Benson. Since then Hampton has won all 10 of his starts against the Pirates, including four this year. In that span he allowed one run or fewer in eight of the 10 games.
No complaints about Diaz and Jason Jaramillo in the absence of Ryan Doumit. Thus far for 2009, Pirate catchers are third in the NL in RBI with 45 (tied with Atlanta and trailing the Mets and Giants).
Pirates are 37-46 just past the halfway point. Through 83 games last year the Pirates were 39-44 and 10.5 games out. In 2009 the Pirate trail St. Louis by 7 games.