Game 121 Recap: Jones Delivers Walk Off Homer

Karstens gave up three runs in 5-1/3 innings.

Garrett Jones continued his hot August with two hits including a walk off homer in the bottom of the eleventh. Jones came into the game hitting .327 with three homers thus far on the month. Pittsburgh surrendered a run in the ninth but Neil Walker tied it in the bottom of the ninth with a solo jack, pushing the game to extra frames. This was the first time in August the Pirates won back-to-back games.

Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens bent first. St. Louis got to him for a run in the second when Skip Schumaker singled in Lance Berkman with two outs. Pittsburgh scored three runs quickly against nemesis Chris Carpenter in the bottom of the third. Karstens walked and Jose Tabata – fresh off the DL – reached on an infield single. Andrew McCutchen popped a three run homer.

The lead wouldn’t last. Albert Pujols hit a solo homer in the sixth to make it 3-2. One out later Berkman walked. He scored on a double from David Freese to even the score at three. Jason Grilli relieved Karstens and got the final two outs without any more damage being done.

Jose Veras tossed a scoreless eighth and turned it over to Joel Hanrahan in the ninth. Hanrahan gave up a double to John Jay to lead off the ninth. Rafael Furcal sacrificed him to third and Jay scored on a sac fly from Matt Holliday. But the Pirates would tie it up immediately against Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth as Neil Walker hit a homer leading off the frame just to the left of the Chuck Tanner jersey in right center. Garrett Jones singled, but was stranded at second. To extra innings they would go.

Chris Resop tossed two scoreless innings, including getting Albert Pujols on a fly ball to end the eleventh when McCutchen made a running backhanded catch. Jones led off the bottom of the inning with a homer off of Arthur Rhodes to end it.

Karstens gave up three runs in 5-1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five while allowing six hits. Carpenter also gave up three runs. He lasted seven innings. He gave up five hits and a walk. He whiffed ten. Resop was the winner. Rhodes suffered the loss.

The Good
Karstens was alright. I’ll take that from him every time out.

McCutchen homered, singled, walked twice and stole a base. He was his normal, brilliant self.

Walker had three hits. Jones had two including the game winning blow.

The Bad
Bucs struck out in double digits, again.

The Rest
Karstens remains 1-1 against St. Louis. Carpenter is still 12-2 against the Pirates.

Pujols came into the game with a .371 career batting average against the Pirates. Ty Cobb anyone? He is hitting less than .300 against the Buccos in 2011. He has 28 career homers at PNC, the most of any opponent. The next closest in visiting HRs is teammate Lance Berkman with 14.

This was the ninth time in 2011 that Walker had at least three hits.

Pittsburgh is 6-7 in extra innings. St. Louis is 6-10. The Pirates had dropped their previous four extra inning games, starting with the Jerry Meals game.

McCutchen’s three RBI gives him 71 on the year. Only twice since the Andy Van Slyke era has the Pirates primary center fielder driven in as many runs – Brian Giles in 1999 and Nate McLouth in 2008.

Bucs hit three homers in a game for the second time in August.

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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.

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