Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pirates Game 29 Recap - Pirates 5, Nationals 4

What a roller coaster type of game. First the game is played at a break neck speed and might have been over in like an hour. Then the Pirates somehow grab the lead in the eighth inning with only three hits. Then Adam LaRoche gave the Nationals the lead in the top of the ninth inning with a two run bomb off Joel Hanrahan. The Pirates then get a runner on third via an Alex Presley single and two wild pitches. Rod Barajas, walk off.

For real, Barajas has like three hits all season and has been about as bad as you can be offensively and he comes up and slams the first pitch from Nationals closer Henry Rodriguez and put it into the left field seats.

It was actually a really nice strategy by Barajas even though it seems pretty logical that he would see a fastball. After the Alex Presley single Rodriguez threw back-to-back wild pitches that put Presley on third with only one out. After he got Yamaico Navarro to strike out for the second out Barajas went up there knowing he was going to get a fastball. He said so himself after the game. He knew that Rodriguez didn't want to bring in Presley with another wild pitch so he looked fastball and got it. Every major league hitter can hit a fastball (except maybe Brian Bixler) and if they know it is coming then the pitcher is in trouble. Barajas knew he was going to get it and finally got the huge hit.

A.J. Burnett was the other star of the game. After giving up 12 runs in his last outing all he did was come out and pitch eight innings and strike out ten batters. Ho hum. He did give up a pair of runs but that is pretty outstanding and he gave the team a chance to win. I know I say that all the time but it is true. He only walked one batter and got 12 ground ball outs and really didn't give Washington a chance to get anything going offensively. Great bounce back.

The Pirates only had five hits tonight, and won. The offense isn't that great but in the late innings they found a way to get things done. In the eighth inning they scored a run after they executed a hit and run to put runners on the corners with one out and then Neil Walker was able to lift a ball to the outfield and score the winning run. In the ninth they got a runner on and got the big hit. They didn't get a ton of hits but to be honest they hit the ball pretty hard tonight and they were just getting hit right at people. Stuff like that happens but it is great to see the Pirates get a win in a game where they didn't do much offensively.

Hanrahan blew his first save of the season and to be honest I am pretty surprised that he hasn't blown one earlier. In my opinion Hanrahan hasn't been good this season at all. Hopefully this isn't something that carries forward but he is consistently getting behind hitters and is looking like he really has no idea where his pitchers are going sometimes. It got him in trouble tonight as he got behind LaRoche 3-0 before battling back to a 3-2 count before LaRoche took him deep. Like I said I hope this isn't a sign of things to come but this is how relief pitchers can be. Great one year and average the next.

The Pirates used the long ball tonight to win. Obviously I have talked a good bit about the Barajas blast but the Pirates got back into the game early with a pair of home runs. Trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning Andrew McCutchen finally went deep for the first time this season and then two batters later Garrett Jones hit an absolute moonshot to right field to tie the game. The Pirates aren't a team that is going to hit a lot of home runs but they got a couple of big ones in the fourth inning from players that have that ability. It was only a matter of time before McCutchen got going and Jones has been pretty good this year hitting a few home runs so I will take it.

Bucs haven't got too many game one wins this year, actually this was only the second time in ten series that the Pirates have won the first game. I know it really doesn't matter which games you win if you win two of three but this really sets the tone for the series going forward especially when you know you will be facing a pitcher like Stephen Strasburg on Thursday.

Back at it tomorrow. Lets try and build a winning streak. That would be cool.

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