The Pirates and Reds played another tight game. James McDonald and Mike Leake were both effective. The Pirates managed a single run. The Reds managed none. The Pirates remain in first place. I’m happy.
The lone run of the game scored early. Josh Harrison singled with one out in the first. Neil Walker followed with a ground rule double deep to left center. Andrew McCutchen’s grounder scored Harrison. That was it.
The Reds mounted a couple of scoring chances, but came away empty. In the second Chris Heisey reached with two outs after his grounder forced Miguel Cairo at second. Heisey swiped second and went to third on a balk by McDonald. Fred Lewis walked but Ryan Hanigan flied out to end it.
Hanigan doubled with one out in teh fifth and moved to third on a ground ball out from Leake. But McDonald whiffed Drew Stubbs to end the inning. McDonald would not escape the seventh. Cairo walked and was sacrificed to second base. Lewis slid head first to beat out a grounder deep in the hole at short, putting runners on the corners with just one out. McDonald then walked Hanigan to load the bases. Joe Beimel was summoned to face Jay Bruce (pinch hitting for Leake) and he struck out the Reds slugger. Chris Resop was called on to retire Stubbs and he did so.
Resop tossed a perfect eighth and handed the ball over to Joel Hanrahan. He gave up a pair of two out singles before retiring Bruce who stayed in the contest to end it.
McDonald allowed no runs in 6-1/3 innings. He gave up four hits and three walks. He struck out seven. Leake was the tough luck loser. He gave up just those two first inning hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out four.
McDonald was tough.
Joe Beimel and Chris Resop came up big in the seventh with the bases loaded.
Not much offense. All three Pirate runs that have been scored in this series were driven in on balls that were outs.
Bucs lost three men on the bases tonight with one double play and two players caught stealing.
Joey Votto struck out three times for just the sixth time dating back to the start of the 2010 season. That’s pretty good, but Albert Pujols has whiffed more than twice just seven times in one game since 2002!
Leake falls to 1-2 against the Pirates. McDonald improves to 3-1 against the RedLegs.
McDonald has struck out seven or more hitters three times in 2011.
The Pirates have won a pair of 1-0 games in 2011 after not having won one since 2008. Going back to the start of 2008, the Pirates are 4-67 when held to just a single tally.
Over 26,000 were on hand. Nice crowd.
Bucs last tossed back-to-back shutouts on 4/17/09 and 4/18/09. Ian Snell and Paul Maholm beat Atlanta with help of the bullpen.
Since Matt Bandi capably filled in with last night’s game recap after he and other Bucco bloggers enjoyed a rain filled delight last night (yep, I’m jealous), I didn’t get to mention how much I enjoy Dontrelle Willis. He seems like he is having fun out there and I wish him many wins at the expense of people who would otherwise mean to catch the Pirates.
I was also reminded of former Reds catcher Bo Diaz and how hard he played. He was slower than molasses. But he hustled all the time. With no one on base, Bo would run down to first trailing the batter as he sprinted up the first base line in case of an overthrow. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do that since. It reminded me of an anecdote from Roger Angell’s book ‘The Summer Game’ (I have/had it mind to finish all five of his books during the season. I’m at the tail end of his first book and clearly, I’m not going to finish all of them before October). Anyway, Angell is describing the Mets miracle run to the 1969 World Series. He doesn’t give much detail but he statest that in a game against Pittsburgh, Mets backstop Jerry Grote trailed the Pirate runner down the line. In this case, the runner took a wide turn at first and Grote fielded a ball from the right fielder and tagged the runner. I was so intrigued, that I had to search baseball-reference.com to find out the details. It was 9/21/69. Jerry May led off the top of the seventh with a single and was caught by Ron Swoboda in right field. THe box score at baseball-reference.com shows he was thrown out at second (RF to C), which I’m assuming is standard score keeping protocol since Angell describes him as being nabbed off first.