Sunday, July 17, 2011

Game 93 Recap - Pirates 7, Astros 5 (11 innings)

The Pirates finished up a weird series in Houston with a weird win. I don’t know if it felt like this to anyone else but things just seemed off these last three games and although the Pirates came away with their 19th series win with a 7-5 win over Houston in 11 innings. Joel Hanrahan broke his 28 save streak with a blown save and Alex Presley broke out of his first slump to lead the Bucs.

Kevin Correia was handed the no decision and really had an uninspiring start. He gave up single runs in the first and third inning but only gave up five hits and walked one. It wasn’t pretty but he got through six innings on 95 pitches. While he didn’t give up a ton of hits he was getting hit around pretty hard the entire day.

Despite the blown save the pen did a really nice job to close it out. The combination of Joe Beimel, Daniel McCutchen, Jose Veras, Hanrahan, Chris Leroux and Chris Resop went five innings and gave up seven hits and only two runs. Leroux earned his first career win and Resop closed the game out with his first ever major league save.

Presley really fueled this offense tonight and broke out of a 0-for-10 slump with two huge RBI hits in the fourth and sixth innings. With the Pirates down one in the fourth he singled home Brandon Wood and in the sixth he drove home Wood again with a double to right field. Presley then gave the Pirates what would turn out to be the game winning run in the 11th inning when he singled home Xavier Paul. Just an all around solid game for Presley after he had look completely lost for the past couple of nights. The sample size is still really small for his production but it is good to see that the slump didn’t continue.

I talked about this being a weird win and that really happened starting in the eighth inning. After Veras recorded the first two outs of the inning Clint Hurdle went to his closer to work the four out save. For the first time in a really long time Hanrahan blew a save when Chris Johnson doubled home a runner from first, which was also the first time he has let an inherited runner score of the nine he has inherited. So is life. The go ahead run was another weird situation that would only happen to teams like the Astros. After Wood led off the inning with a double he was lifted for a pinch runner, Josh Harrison, who moved to third on an error by the Astros relief pitcher on a relatively easy play. With one out Harrison scored on a wild pitch. Go figure. Whatever. I will take it any way I can get them.

Other than Presley, Walker had another nice game and extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Two more hits raised his average to .273 and during the hit streak he is 21-for-47 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBI. Nice to see him starting to come out.

The Pirates start the beef of their schedule coming up with back-to-back three game sets against NL Central foes Cincinnati and St. Louis before a four game set with Atlanta and three games in Philadelphia.

Buckle up.

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