Going into every game there is always a feeling that you are going to win. Doesn’t matter if you haven’t won a game all year or if you a middle of the pack team playing the best team in the league, at the beginning of the game it is 0-0 and you have as much chance as the other guy to come out with the win. Of course if you are the better team you feel like you can come back from a modest deficit and bring home a win, much like I thought with the Pirates tonight. For a while I was right, but all it took was one good inning from a pretty bad Astros team to turn the tables.
Tonight was one of those nights where it just angers you. The Pirates had the 4-3 lead in the eighth inning and ended up giving up three runs on only two hits. Types of losses like this hurts but it makes it even harder when you are a day removed from getting into first place and they drop out 24 hours later.
With the 4-3 lead Jose Veras came into the game in the set up role, a role that he has more than excelled at this season, and wasn’t able to get the job done. A walk, groundout, error, botched called at home plate and single platted the tying run and Chris Leroux gave up a two out single to tack on insurance for the win. Just a bad night for Veras, which is going to happen. Losses happen and tonight was just one of those nights where things just didn’t feel right. It happens.
Paul Maholm scored the no decision only going five innings and giving up three runs on nine hits. Paul didn’t really have much tonight and that pretty much how it seemed. Not his best night, but as I have said a million time before he gave the team a chance to win which is all we can really ask for.
The offense was hitting pretty well all night off starter Bud Norris and made him check out after only 5.2 innings. Neil Walker continues to hit well as he produced his fourth four hit game of his career and Michael McKenry had three hits to raise his average to .263.
The Pirates actually used the long ball to get back into the game tonight as they belted three home runs, all of which were pretty impressive; problem was that all of them were solo home runs. It’s like the Pirates were facing Jeff Karstens. Walker got the Pirates first run with a huge shot to right field that hit the second deck. Lyle Overbay led off the sixth with a ball that got out in about half a second followed by Brandon Wood almost putting one out of the stadium in right field for a back-to-back shot.
Most people can pin the game on Veras but the real culprit was the Pirates offense in the first two innings. In innings one and two the Pirates stranded five runners and in both innings they were unable to drive a run in with a runner on third and one out. When you waste chances like that you are asking a less talented team to beat you. Andrew McCutchen popped out to second base in the first inning and Alex Presley hit a weak flare behind second base in the second inning. Being up 2-0 would have made a huge difference in this game. You need to put runs on the board when you have the chance and the Pirates didn’t do that.
The Pirates look for the series win tomorrow.