Monday, June 13, 2011
Game 65 Recap - Pirates 3, Mets 1
Paul Maholm was outstanding and he got just enough run support as the Pirates downed the Mets 3-1 and salvaged a split of the four game series and once again are one game back of the .500 mark at 32-33. The Battlin’ Bucs finish the 10 game home stand 6-4 by taking two-of-three from the Phillies and Diamondbacks and the aforementioned split with New York.
If there is one thing that is almost a guarantee when the Mets and Pirates get together it is a weird play or a terrible call that sets up a team to get an advantage. This was the case again tonight and this time it happened in the first inning. After Jose Tabata reached on a leadoff single Xavier Paul followed up with the same. On the Paul hit Tabata tried to reach third and he was hosed by Angel Pagan, or was he? By no means was he even close to being safe, but he was ruled as such when second base umpire Jerry Layne called obstruction on Jose Reyes which, in turn, made Tabata safe. Neil Walker followed with a single and the Pirates claimed an early lead.
Brandon Wood (!) homered in the fifth inning to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead and with the way that Paul was pitching this looked like it was going to be a pretty good night. Enter the pen. For much of the season the pen has been really good when taking over a lead but recently that has not been the case and it was shaky again tonight, kind of.
Paul was pulled after seven scoreless innings, only giving up three hits and striking out four, to lower his ERA to only 3.12. The game then got turned over to Jose Veras who again was unable to record an out as he walked the first batter he faced and then gave up a single. After his exit Tim Wood shut the door down. For the second night in a row the Pirates turned a double play on a sacrifice fly. Wood got Jose Reyes to fly out to Jose Tabata who made a nice sliding catch and then doubled off Lucas Duda at first base.
The Pirates got an insurance run in their half of the eighth inning when Neil Walker drove in his second run of the game with a bases loaded walk.
To be honest the Pirates didn’t need the insurance because they have this guy called Joel Hanrahan. He was perfect again converting his 17th save opportunity and just overpowered three straight hitters in the ninth inning. He made Pagan look like he never has taken at bat with 97 mph pitches at the shoulders. Just unfair.
Again I must say that I don’t know how this lineup gets wins, but they gutted this one out. A big key for the Pirates is getting the lead because this offense is not designed to come back and win so they have to rely on good pitching and opportunistic offense and that is exactly what they got today. The Bucs only got seven hits today, but they made them count. Tabata was the only Pirate who got multiple hits with two.
Michael McKenry was acquired by the Pirates late last night from Boston and was inserted into the lineup tonight. Dude probably got like six seconds of sleep. He went 0-for-3 from the plate but if you ask me I think he had a pretty successful night. He put some good swings on the ball and his defense was very good. He received the ball very well, which is a welcome site to many Pirates fans, and he made a huge defensive play during the game. In the top of the fifth inning the Mets go runners on first and second with one out and pitcher Mike Pelfrey at the plate. After Pelfrey tried to bunt (unsuccessfully) and McKenry caught Daniel Murphy too far off second base and threw behind the runner and got the 2-6-5-4 caught stealing. This was a massively huge play as Jose Reyes was on deck and I don’t want the league’s leader in hits coming up with two runners in scoring position even if there is two outs. Great play by McKenry.
The Pirates now will travel to Houston for a three game set that starts tomorrow night. I will be out of town so there won’t be much up on the blog for post game stuff until the weekend but I will try to get the live blogs up for the games so you can get in there and chat with everyone.