Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pirates Game 64 Recap - Pirates 9, Indians 2

That was a sight for sore eyes.

The Pirates got back on the winning track thanks to an outstanding performance from A.J. Burnett and a 12 hit performance from the offense that included a pair of home runs from Pedro Alvarez and the game winning home run from Casey McGehee who has been red hot in June. It was great after the embarrassing performance they put forth yesterday for James McDonald.

In what seemed like a repeat of the past four games the Indians got on the board in the first inning and even though Burnett was on the bump he wasn't throwing the ball well and I just didn't want this to be a repeat of last night. It also didn't help the Pirates struck out three times in the top of the first inning. You can imagine how I felt going forward about this game.

Pedro Alvarez took a 2-0 pitch and deposited it into the right field seats to tie the game then Garrett Jones drove home Neil Walker with a bloop single in the third to finally give the Pirates a lead in an inning that wasn't the first. At first I was kind of confused but it was good to see.

The Indians evened the game up in the fifth inning before McGehee went deep for a two run shot to give the Pirates the lead for good. I was a little surprised at the at bat since McGehee had two horrible at bats before hammering a hanging curve ball into the left field seats. Great to see as going into the game McGehee was hitting .375 in June.

Alex Presley tacked on another run with a solo shot in the seventh inning before scoring four runs in the top of the ninth inning highlighted by a two RBI single by McGehee and a absolute bomb by Alvarez. It feels so good.

I know the offense is going to get a good bit of the credit, which it deserves, but Burnett really did a great job tonight. He didn't have his best stuff early and walked four batters on the day and walked four but he ended up going 6.2 innings and gave up only two runs on six hits. This trade keeps looking better after every start and I think you can really start to make the case that Burnett could be an All-Star representative from the Pirates staff along with James McDonald. Some people hated the trade when it happened but Burnett was the stopper for the four game losing streak.

As I said the offense picked up and finally gave the pitching some support. After going 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position the past two games they went 3-for-8 today and got four two-out RBI. The offense has been getting better the past month or so and they are hitting about league average in that time. Before it was just one or two guys who could get a hit now the offense is getting to a point where they have more than that contributing. It might not be the same guys every game but more and more guys are getting on the hit parade and it is making it easier for the team to score runs.

Sure, it is only one game, but it was really good to see Alvarez have a good game. He has been struggling for some time but the first home run he hit was a strong line drive to right field that got out in about two seconds on a really good pitch from Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez and then he worked an 0-2 count to a walk in his second at bat. His second home run was just a no doubter off the bat and even though it was a meaningless home run the smile that Alvarez gave after he touched home plate said much more than the hit itself. I am not sure if I ever have cheered for an athlete to succeed like I do for him but it is great to see. It is only one run and it doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme but at least it's something.

McGehee and Jones have really been hitting the ball well in June and when those two guys are hot they have to be in the lineup every single day. They are both streaky hitters and when they are on a hot streak you have to get as much out of them as possible. Today they combined to go 4-for-7 and McGehee knocked home four runs. Jones drew a walk which is something he couldn't do coming in. Ride the hot hands.

While the Pirates struck out nine times they also drew eight walks. This is a team that takes very few walks so any game they can get a few free passes it is good. I am not sure if this is something that can carry over but at least for one game they were able to draw some walks.

It feels so good to write a winning recap. Now they can go at it tomorrow and hope Brad Lincoln can bounce back and give the Pirates a chance to win.

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