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Game 122 Recap: Craig Hits Two Homers in Cards Victory

Tabata hit his first homer since April.

Allen Craig homered twice as part of a four hit, three RBI evening. Kyle Lohse got out of trouble in the first and crusied to a win. Paul Maholm got in trouble in the first and the Pirates never recovered.

Maholm got in trouble off the starting blocks. Rafael Furcal led off the game with a single. Craig followed with a two run dinger into the Notch. Albert Pujols singled and Matt Holliday walked, prompting a visit from Ray Searage. David Freese hit into a double play. But Yadier Molina extended the inning with an RBI single, making it 3-0 Cards.

The Pirates almost tied it up in the bottom of the first against Lohse. With one gone Garrett Jones hit a ground rule double. Andrew McCutchen reached on an infield single, with Jones staying at second. Ryan Doumit drove a ball that was thisclose to going over the fence. Unfortunately, it landed in the glove of John Jay who made a nice, leaping snag. After Neil Walker was walked to load the bases, Craig snared Ryan Ludwick’s sinking liner to end the inning.

The Pirates wouldn’t advance another runner to second base against Lohse until the fifth when Ronny Cedeno led off with a double. One out later, Jose Tabata homered to cut the lead to 3-2.

Maholm was lifted for a pinch hitter (Steve Pearce who was retired) in the bottom of the fifth. Brad Lincoln relieved Maholm for the sixth and gave up a run. Ryan Theriot and Jay both singled. They moved up on a passed ball and Theriot scored on a ground ball out from Lohse. Craig poked his second homer of the night leading off the seventh, pushing the lead back to three runs.

Daniel McCutchen relieved Lincoln for the eighth inning and he was also tagged for two runs. Molina singled and stole second. He moved to third as Jay reached on an error from Jones, putting runners on the corners with one out. Lance Berkman pinch hit for Lohse and knocked in one run with a single. One out later, Craig reached on a single and an error from Brandon Wood on the play allowed Jay to score the seventh and final St. Louis run.

Maholm gave up three runs in five innings to take yet another loss. He gave up eight hits. He walked one and whiffed one. Lohse was the winner due to seven innings of two run ball. He yielded five hits and one walk. He struck out seven.

The Good
Cedeno had two hits.

Hopefully Tabata is finding his stroke.

The Bad
The pitching wasn’t effective.

Neither was the offense – only six hits and just four after the first inning. The offense walked only once.

The defense allowed two errors and a passed ball.

The Rest
Maholm came into the game with a 4-5 career mark against St. Louis. Lohse entered the contest 5-2 against Pittsburgh lifetime, including one of his six career shutouts.

Albert Pujols prior to this contest was 21-36 (.583) against Maholm. He was only 1-5 on the game with that lone knock coming off of Maholm. For pitchers that he has faced at least 30 times, Pujols has a higher batting average against only Odalis Perez. Also appearing in the top 10 list of batting average against are former Bucco hurlers Zach Duke, Ian Snell and Josh Fogg. Curiously, he hit just .278 (10-37) against Kip Wells. Four of those ten hits against Wells were dingers.

Due in part to the long stint on the DL, Tabata hadn’t homered since April 17th.

This was Craig’s fifth career three RBI game and second of 2011. This as Craig’s first career four hit game.

Seven whiffs from Lohse mark a season best. He has struck out more than six only two times since 2008.

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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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