It took two forgotten men – Jeff Karstens and Lastings Milledge – to snap a 12 game losing streak.
Karstens, who was demoted from the rotation earlier this year, allowed just one run through five innings before tiring in the sixth and giving up a 3 run dinger to Russell Branyan. Milledge, overshadowed in the outfield by the recently recalled Jose Tabata, missed the cycle by a dinger and knocked in four runs. Andrew McCutchen – not so forgotten – scored four times and drew three walks.
Milledge was in the middle of all three Pirate rallies. He singled in a run in the first. That tied the score at one as Austin Kearns knocked in Trevor Crowe with a grounder in the visiting half of the first. In the third, Milledge knocked in two with a triple. The Bucs lunged to a 5-1 lead when Milledge and Pedro Alvarez connected for RBI doubles.
But Branyan’s blast pulled the Tribe to 5-4. That was all they would get. Evan Meek whiffed Travis Hafner with the bases loaded to end the sixth. The Bucs put an insurance run on the board in the 8th as McCutchen tripled with two outs and scored on a single from Garrett Jones.
Karstens was the winner. He gave up all four Cleveland runs in 5-1/3. He walked none and gave up six hits. David Huff was the loser. He walked six and gave up five runs on six hits through five innings. Octavio Dotel worked a scoreless 9th for the save.
Alvarez’ knock was the first of his career.
Right now seven of the Pirates starting eight at least appear to have a future. Or at least deserve a chance to show whether or not they have a future. SS is the weak link right now. Is that a hint of optimism?
Nothing. Basking in the afterglow of a W.
Karstens had never started against Cleveland before. His lone prior appearance was in relief. Huff tossed eight scoreless innings in beating Pittsburgh in 2009. He lost a total of 8 games in 2009 and has nine losses in 2010.
This was the second time this year that Cutch score four or more runs.
Milledge hasn’t homered since 10/2/09.
Meek got four outs and allowed no runs. His ERA is a tidy 0.68.