There was nothing pretty about this one. Paul Maholm got hammered. Dana Eveland got hammered as the first man out of the pen. Ken the Lemonade Vendor was in the area on vacation (a big JFK conspiracy buff, Ken was touring the route that JFK’s motorcade took that fateful day in November) and he was quickly signed and inserted into the game. Alright, that last part didn’t happen.
Michael Young got the fireworks going with a two run homer in the first inning. The Pirates struck for one off of Dustin Nippert in the second when Delwyn Young singled in Ryan Church. But the bottom of the second was a disaster. Maholm walked the leadoff hitter. Neil Walker’s error allowed the second batter to reach and then Maholm gave up five straight singles. He was pulled without retiring a hitter in the second. Eveland came on but was unable to get out of the fourth inning, giving up six runs with two outs, including a two run double to Young.
Nippert – normally a reliever and starting in place of Rich Harden – was pulled after three innings. He gave way to Alexi Ogando who got an easy-peasy win with three hitless innings. Matt Harrison pitched the final three innings to get his first career save in an unusual way – one with his team leading by 10 runs.
Maholm got just three outs and gave up five earned runs. He walked four and gave up six singles and Young’s dinger. Nippert gave up four hits and four walks and whiffed seven. He allowed two runs.
Bobby Crosby had two hits.
After several Texas starters were pulled, the bullpen after Eveland tossed 4-1/3 innings of shutout baseball.
A lot – the pitching, the offense, the defense, the losing.
Garrett Jones hitting streak was snapped at 12.
Josh Hamilton rested and his hitting streak remains intact.
Maholm’s ERA jumped by nearly a half a run.
When I saw Dustin Nippert’s name I thought of former Red Sox pitcher Al Nipper. For a while he was a threat to an interesting record – most career starts without a shutout. So, I looked it up at baseball-reference.com. Nipper started 126 games without a shutout. When he was pitching the record was Great Depression era pitcher Roy Mahaffey with 129. He has since been passed several times. Jason Bere owns the record with 203 starts without a shutout. You might be interested (and then again, maybe not) to know that the #1 and #2 slots in the ‘most career starts without a complete game’ list are former Pirates Tony Armas and Shawn Chacon.