Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Game 74 Recap - Pirates 5, Orioles 4

The Pirates got back to the .500 mark (again) for what seems like the 50th time this season with a 5-4 win over the Orioles and won the interleague series (!). Kevin Correia struggled through five innings of work and the offense picked him up so that he could pick up his ninth win of the season.

The Pirates got on the board early again and who was in the center of the scoring? None other than Andrew McCutchen. I could probably talk about how good he has been in every recap but I will try to not do that today. After back-to-back singles by Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison, McCutchen drove home Tabata with a single to left field. Neil Walker then drove in a run as he grounded into a double play with Harrison on third for the 2-0 Pirates lead.

Last night Baltimore didn’t answer till late but today was a different story. The Orioles got two runs in each the third and fourth innings which kind of got a lot of people thinking that this game was over. Not so fast. The highlight of the Orioles run scoring was a JJ Hardy two RBI double in the fourth inning. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones both drove in runs in the third inning. Didn’t look good.

Luckily for the Pirates the offense seems to have busted out a little bit. Although they were down two and gave up five straight runs it was still early. The best thing you can do after you give up a few runs is to at least get one of them back, and that is what the Pirates did. Walker did just that and drove home Andrew McCutchen after a leadoff double.

The Pirates got a gift and took the lead for good the next inning. Brandon Wood and Michael McKenry both singled to lead off the inning and following a Kevin Correia sacrifice bunt they were at second and third with only one out. Tabata struck out swinging to really take the air out of the sails, but the Pirates got a little luck. Harrison was up next and hit a ball pretty hard but it was right at second baseman Blake Davis who was making his first career start. The ball goes right between his legs and both Wood and McKenry and give the Pirates the lead. Really tough for the kid. I would feel bad, but it helped the Pirates win so I am more than OK with it.

The pen came in and did excellent work again to get it to Joel Hanrahan who recorded his 20th save in as many chances. He is the only reliever to not blow a save with at least 10 chances. Pretty good if you ask me.

Thoughts:

Correia actually had a great start to the game as he struck out the side in the first inning, but then it got interesting. Like James McDonald yesterday Correia threw a lot of pitches early, but unlike McDonald he was able to fight through it and get through six innings, giving up four earned runs. He hasn’t been sharp lately but still supports a strong 3.74 ERA. Can’t complain about that. This was only Correia’s second win at PNC Park this year and both of those wins are in interleague play. No idea what all of that is about.

Really nice that the Pirates are able to get past that four game losing streak. If this was last year I am not sure if they win the game last night or the game today after being down. It was really nice to see and if the starters give up a couple runs the offense is able to come back and pick them up. It needs to be a complete team effort and that’s what it was today.

The bullpen was outstanding again today. Outside of Daniel Moskos, who gave up a single to his only batter faced, everyone else was flawless. Jose Veras was on to pitch 1.1 scoreless innings in only 10 pitches while Hanrahan only needed nine pitches to end the Orioles in the ninth inning. Anymore it is pretty much as automatic as you get when Hanrahan is in the game.

The Pirates are now back at .500 and now comes up a pretty grueling schedule after the off day on Thursday when they host Boston and then travel to Tampa Bay. The Red Sox are among the few great teams in the league and then they travel to Canada to play the Blue Jays. Would love for the Pirates to go 3-3 in the next six games but it is going to be very interesting. One game at a time though.

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