Sunday, July 3, 2011

Game 84 Recap - Pirates 10, Nationals 2

The Pirates got a huge win and earned a series split in Washington and bring a 4-3 road trip back to Pittsburgh before the All-Star break after a 10-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Correia becomes one of five players in baseball to get to 11 wins after he got spotted eight runs in the first two innings by the Pirates offense. The offense also exploded for 16 hits to carry the team and the pitching staff slammed the door.

The Pirates did the biggest damage in the first two innings of play when they scored eight runs in that span. The Pirates picked up ten hits in their first two chances with hitters at the plate and sent 17 batters to the plate in that span. Just absolutely unreal.

In the first inning the Pirates scored three runs and was started by non All-Star Andrew McCutchen who shot a ball through the left side to score Alex Presley. Walker then followed up with a single to left field to score Chase d’Arnaud followed by McCutchen scoring on a Lyle Overbay single.

OK, you are thinking to yourself this is good the Pirates getting a few runs on the board and then BAM in the second inning they keep going. Garrett Jones smoked a ball to left centerfield to score Presley and d’Arnaud and then McCutchen went to the opposite field gap to score Jones. Neil Walker singled home a run and Lyle Overbay capped the inning off with the third double for the Pirates and scored Walker. Just an unreal second inning for the Pirates. Kevin Correia even singled to start the inning for the Bucs.

Washington got a couple runs on the board when Will Ramos homered to left centerfield to score Rick Ankiel. Whatever.

Lyle Overbay drove in another run in the sixth inning when he grounded out up the middle to score Jones.

Thoughts:

-Correia had the luxery of getting some runs before he even touched the field. If you were going to say anything about KC is that he is the polar opposite of Paul Maholm. Correia becomes the first Pirates pitcher since 1980 to have 11 wins since the All-Star break. Not too shabby. Although wins are more of a team thing Correia did a fairly nice job with the lead today. There is a tendency to get too relaxed with the lead and let the other team come back, but outside of the two run jack he gave up he was solid. Only six hits given up and walked only one so it was pretty solid to become one of only three 11 game winners in baseball.

McCutchen found out that he was not a part of the All-Star game selection and he responded with how you would think he would. He went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a double and two RBI. He got a hit robbed in his third at bat also to show how good of a day he really had. To be honest McCutchen has been tearing the cover off the ball this entire four game series. In the four games in Washington he is 9-for-16 with four doubles, a triple and a home run while driving in four and scoring four. That is a pretty good series if you ask me. I guess he doesn’t deserve to be in the All-Star game, right?

-Walker and Overbay have struggled for much of the year but today they busted out in a big time. Both of them had three hits each while Walker drove in two runs and Overbay drove in three. The pair hit fifth and sixth and paired with McCutchen in the fourth spot led the Pirates 4-5-6 hitters going 9-for-14 with 2 doubles, 7 RBI and scored four runs. Walker really needed to have a day like today to hopefully get some confidence back because he has been struggling pretty bad and he got three hits. Hopefully he can carry that into the next couple of series and get a few days off for the All-Star break to get his mind right. Overbay is probably playing for a spot on the roster with Steve Pearce set to return shortly after the break so he is trying to make his mark on the team and did that, at least for today, with three hits.

-Youngsters Presley and d’Arnaud each picked up two hits today and both have been a pretty nice surprise so far. I think Presley came up with a lot of expectations but he has done a really nice job at the leadoff spot while Jose Tabata has been out of the lineup. They each alost scored two runs today and were all over the bases making things happen. Good to see that they can come up and make a difference and not just have the fans wait for someone to be brought in to replace them.

-Brian from over at Raise the Jolly Roger said it yesterday about the loss that it doesn’t hurt as bad because a loss like this doesn’t turn into seven or ten losses in a row like it might have last year and I think that is what we saw today. Last night was a really tough loss for the Pirates and today it showed that they can put that behind them and focus on the next game. There are 162 games in the season so you can’t get too high over one win or too down about a single loss and I think the Pirates have done a nice job of doing that this season and is a big reason they are two games over .500.

The Pirates now come home for a three game set against the Astros. Huge stretch of games against the Cubs and Astros to try and score some wins against teams behind them in the division.

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