If there is a little extra bounce in the step of Pirates fans everywhere and a little extra swagger in the gaits of Bucco players, I don’t think anyone will hold it against us or them. The Pirates are in first place. It’s mid-July. Jeff Karstens threw a complete game shutout and was backed by a two run triple from Andrew McCutchen. Combine that with losses by the Cardinals (thanks Brandon Phillips!) and the Brewers and you have the Pirates alone in first by percentage points.
The offense and Alex Presley got things going early against Brett Myers. Presley singled to lead off the first and stole second. He scored on a single from Neil Walker to make it 1-0. Presley was plunked leading off the third. Chase D’Arnaud singled and both runners scored when Andrew McCutchen tripled.
After that Myers would settle in and the Pirates would manage just two more hits the rest of the game. Myers would strike out seven Pirates among the last eleven outs he recorded to finish with a season best eleven whiffs.
But Karstens was stingy and worked quickly. THe game took 2:20 minutes to make it the third quickest game of the year for Pittsburgh. He allowed two hits in both the sixth and seventh innings but worked out the jams before recording 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth to end it.
The Pirates tacked on another run in the eighth against Sergio Escalona. Garrett Jones walked and was replaced by Xavier Paul as a pinch runner. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error by Jeff Keppinger on a ball hit by Lyle Overbay.
Karstens allowed five singles and no walks. He struck out two. Myers went six and whiffed eleven. He gave up four singles and McCutchen’s triple and walked three.
Karstens, of course. He faced just three over the minimum.
Presley continues to hit and scored twice.
Bucs struck out 14 times.
Myers is 6-6 against Pittsburgh. Karstens is 4-2 against Houston with three of those wins coming in 2011.
Karstens 83 pitches were the lowest amount needed by any pitcher in a complete game since 2009. The last time a Pirate needed fewer pitches to go the distance was Doug Drabek on 9/30/90 against St. Louis.
While I’m not a Yankees fan by any stretch, I certainly have nothing against Derek Jeter. But I don’t like how the media is treating his 3,000th hit so breathlessy – using odd story angles and goofy stats to remind us of how great he is. Don’t get me wrong – great player, future Hall of Famer on the first ballot. No doubt. But when ranking the all-time Yankees, he doesn’t crack the top five (Ruth, Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Berra). When ranking the top shortstops ever, he certainly isn’t first (Wagner). He probably isn’t even the best shortstop on his own team. One of thing that drives me nuts are the goofy stats that people throw out to try to embellish him. The AP published a story about him in which they noted he is only the 11th player to get 3,000 hits and spend his whole career with one team. Not only is that a meaningless fact, it’s also not the impressive from the outset – better than 1 in 3 of the current 28 members of the 3,000 hit club spent their entire career with one team. Second, if you add players who got to 3,000 hits with one team while also having spent time playing with another team, you add a handful of more players (Cobb, Rose, Aaron, Mays). Third, some perspective: There are 25 men with 500 career home runs and only five of them spent their whole career with one team – Schmidt, Mantle, Williams, Banks, and Ott. My point isn’t to be a Jeter-hater. Because I’m not. And I’m all in favor of articles that objectively and reasonably describe his career and his place in baseball history. I’m just sick of all the fan-boy perspective over the last week from the media.