Somewhere a baseball pundit will say or has said or will write or has written that good teams win this kind of game. If the Pirates are to stay in contention for a full season, this is the kind of game they will have to win. Nursing a 1-0 lead into the eighth, the Pirates let the game get away from them and lost in extra innings. Call me a pessimist, but I have officially given up hope for a post-season birth in 2011. There is still a dim light of possibility that this club can get back above .500.
It started well enough. Shawn Marcum gave up two doubles in the first inning. Garrett Jones scored on the double from Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates led 1-0.
The Pirates wasted a lead off double from Morton in the third. He moved to third on a fly ball from Xavier Paul. After Jones walked, McCutchen whiffed and Neil Walker grounded out to end it. The Pirates also put two on in the eighth. Paul singled with one out and stole second. Jones walked again. But McCutchen and Walker again failed to come up with the big hit.
The bottom of the eighth was an unhappy time. Jonathan Lucroy singled. He moved to second on a sac bunt from Josh Wilson. Morton was pulled in favor of Jose Veras. Casey McGehee was retired on a harmless fly ball. Joel Hanrahan was called on to get the third out. He struck out Nyjer Morgan but the ball got away from Michael McKenry for a wild pitch. Morgan was safe and Lucroy was on third. Ryan Braun singled sharply to center field to tie the score at one each.
Pittsburgh stranded two more in the ninth. Ryan Ludwick reached on an error by Prince Fielder and moved to second on a one out single from Ronny Cedeno. But John Axford struck out McKenry and Steve Pearce to end the inning.
The Pirates blew another chance in the tenth. Takashi Saito was on the bump. Paul reached on an error from Casey McGehee. He moved to second on a successful sac bunt from Josh Harrison. McCutchen whiffed. Walker was given an intentional walk. Ryan Ludwick also walked. But Brandon Wood grounded out to end the inning.
Chris Resop was on in the tenth. It wouldn’t go any longer than that. George Kottaras singled and was doubled to third by McGehee. Nyjer Morgan hit a sac fly that scored Kottaras with the game winner.
Resop was the loser, getting two outs and allowing a run. Saito picked up the win. Morton was charged with one run in 7-1/3 innings. He gave up four hits and two walks. He struck out five. Marcum yielded a single run, five hits and two walks in 7-2/3. He struck out five.
Morton deserved a win.
Cedeno had two hits.
Bucs got just three runs in getting swept in three games.
Pirates got just six hits in this game.
Marcum is still 1-0 against Pittsburgh. Morton is 0-4 against Milwaukee.
Ought this was an interesting article at The Hardball Times about Gerrit Cole’s mechanics. I am not going to pretend that I understand much if any of this.
It was German Day at Miller Park. The Pirate jerseys read ‘Piraten’ and Milwaukees stated ‘Bierbrauer’ across the front.
The Pirates.com recap stated that Morton’s scoreless inning streak of 24-1/3 was the third longest in club history. That’s definitely not correct. Steve Blass fired three straight complete game shutouts in September 1968. He went two innings in his fourth start before giving up a lead off solo jack in the third, running his streak to 29 innings. Woodie Fryman also chucked three straight complete game shutouts in June-July 1966. Fryman went 4-1/3 in his fourth start to run his streak to 31-1/3 scoreless.