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Game 97 Recap: Four Run First Lifts Birds

Maholm gave up four runs in the first.

St. Louis hit a pair of two run homers in the first inning and held on to win the opener of the weekend series 6-4. Paul Maholm was touched by both Albert Pujols and David Freese in the first. Two Pirate rallies were stunted by base running errors.

Pujols’ dinger came with John Jay aboard after a triple and one out. With two out Lance Berkman double and scored on Freese’s blast.

Pittsburgh put together four straight two out hits off of Chris Carpenter in the second to get two of those runs back. Garrett Jones doubled. Ronny Cedeno singled him in. Michael McKenry singled and moved Cedeno to second. Maholm contributed a hit that scored Cedeno. As Cedeno was scoring, McKenry attempted to go to third and was tagged out in a run down.

St. Louis plated one more. Berkman singled and Yadier Molina doubled him to third. With two gone, Maholm gave an intentional walk to Nick Punto to bring up Carpenter. Like Maholm, Carpenter helped himself with an RBI single. Ryan Theriot was retired to end the inning.

Carpenter wasn’t challenged again until the sixth inning. Andrew McCutchen singled and Lyle Overbay doubled to put runners at second and third with one out. They both scored on a single by Garrett Jones. But he was snuffed out at second trying to get to second on the hit for the second out of the inning. Cedeno and McKenry each singled. But Xavier Paul pinch hit for Maholm and was retired. Pittsburgh would put just one more runner on the rest of the way.

Molina homered off of Chris Resop in the eighth to make it 6-4. Fernando Salas closed out the Bucs in the ninth.

Carpenter survived eight innings and was charged with all four runs. He gave up 10 hits and one walk. He struck out four. Maholm was tagged for five runs in six innings. The damage was done by four singles, three doubles, a triple and two homers. Maholm walked two and struck out two.

The Good
Eleven hits for the offense.

The defense turned three double plays and committed no errors.

Welcome back Ronny Cedeno. He had two hits.

McKenry had three safeties and McCutchen and Jones both had two.

The Bad
Giving up four first inning runs.

Getting two guys thrown out on the bases.

The Rest
Carpenter is 12-2 against Pittsburgh and 6-1 in PNC. Maholm is 4-5 against the Redbirds.

Maholm had allowed nine first inning runs in his first 20 starts of the year prior to this game.

This was McKenry’s second career three hit game.

Jones was hitting just .175 in July prior to this game.

Cedeno has an eleven game hitting streak that reaches back to mid-June due to his stay on the DL.

Another sellout with a crowd of almost 38,500 on hand to watch.

Bucs remain percentage points ahead of St. Louis in the standings.

Bucs had just nine hits and two runs in the previous two games.

In case you missed it, Tim kept everyone up to speed on the roster moves involving Cedeno and Steve Pearce.

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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.

Game 96 Recap: Weak Bats, Shaky Defense Prove Costly

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Game 98 Recap: Cards Pounce in Fifth

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