Game 104 Recap: Halladay Extends Pirates Hitting Woes

Ciriaco had his first hit of 2011.

Much in the same way that Lloyd Bridges picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue in the movie ‘Airplane’, the Pirates picked the wrong day to try to score five or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since July 4 and July 5. Pittsburgh faced Roy Halladay and he allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings. The Phillies scored eight quick runs off of Charlie Morton to make it a laugher. With Milwaukee and St. Louis winning and Hunter Pence being swapped to Philadelphia, the only good news for Pittsburgh is that Pence isn’t in the Central Divison.

The first inning was rough. The second inning was brutal. But Morton was left to fend for himself until the fourth inning due to the thin bullpen. Chase Utley hit an RBI triple. Ryan Howard had an RBI double and Raul Ibanez singled in another run in the first inning that saw six of the seven balls in play go for safeties. The seventh was an inning ending double play from Carlos Ruiz.

The Phillies put up five runs in the second and it could’ve been a lot fewer than that. Wilson Valdez whiffed but reached when strike threw got away from Michael McKenry for a wild pitch. One out later Jimmy Rollins singled. Dom Brown reached on a Neil Walker error, witih Valdez coming home on the play. Utley poked a three run homer. With two outs, Shane Victorino tripled. Morton then walked Ibanez and plunked Ruiz to load the bases. Valdez, hitting for the second time in the inning, walked to force in the eighth run of the game.

Trailing 8-0, conventional wisdom said the Pirates wouldn’t come back. They had scored eight or more runs just three times in the last 48 games. Only once in the last decade has Halladay been charged with more than seven earned runs in a game. Conventional wisdom was correct.

Halladay gave up a lead off single in the fourth to Xavier Paul. He walked none. He struck out five.

Jimmy Rollins popped a two run homer in the seventh against Jason Grilli to make it 10-0.

THe Pirates put three runs on the board in the eighth against Drew Carpenter. With one out and Lyle Overbay on first after a walk, McKenry and Pedro Ciriaco hit consecutive doubles, with both runners scoring on Ciriaco’s knock. Paul collected his second hit of the game to score Ciriaco.

Morton gave up nine hits and eight runs (six earned) in four innings. He walked four and struck out four.

The Good
Bucs pitchers struck out twelve Phillies.

Tony Watson tossed two scoreless innings.

Paul had two hits.

The Bad
A lot – Morton was tagged, the offense was manhandled, the defense committed two errors.

The Rest
Morton is 0-3 against Philadelphia. Halladay is 3-1 against Pittsburgh.

The hit for Ciriaco was his first in 2011. He now had three career RBI.

Both Walker and Andrew McCutchen were pulled before the game was over, apparently to give them rest.

Pence, who is a career .314 hitter against Pittsburgh, is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday.

Author: Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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