Following an absolutely horrid first half of the season and an All Star Game in which, once again, one of their own didn’t even take the field, the Pirates opened the second half hosting the Houston Astros at PNC Park for a 3 game series.
Friday, July 16: Once again, the Pirates lost to the Astros, this time at PNC Park. Jeff Keppinger blasted a HR and tallied 3 RBI, while Houston starter Brett Myers outlasted the Pirates’ Zach Duke, earning the winning decision in 5-2 victory on Friday. The Astros jumped on top early in the first 2 innings, tallying a pair of runs. Houston would never surrender the lead from that point, and their relief pitching was solid enough to close out the game.
Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata were the most productive Pirates on this night, both slating 2 hits, while Pedro Alvarez and Lastings Milledge added a hit each. Duke lasted only 5 innings, dropping his 9th game of the season.
Saturday, July 17: The Pirates’ bats FINALLY came alive at PNC Park on Saturday night. Garrett Jones doubled home a run and Lastings Milledge earned a 2-run single in the first inning, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead. After surrendering the lead the very next inning, the Pirates regained the edge on Jose Tabata’s 2-run double, giving the Pirates a lead, one which they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the night.
All in all, a total of 7 players had multi-hit games, with Neil Walker topping the list with a trio of knocks himself. The Pirates would score a dozen runs on an astounding 17 hits, easily one of the top offensive games of their season. While starter Ross Ohlendorf didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning, the bullpen came in and did a solid job, denying the Astros any runs over the last 4 innings, solidifying a blowout victory for the Pirates, earning them some redemption against a team who has owned them this season.
Sunday, July 18: For the second consecutive game, the Pirates’ bats were on fire, and unlike Saturday evening, the starting pitcher, in this case, Paul Maholm, was unbelievably dominant. The Pirates shut out the Astros 9-0, earning the series win and ending one of the most offensively productive series of the 2010 season.
Maholm earned a complete game shutout, giving up only 3 hits and lowering his ERA to 4.03. The unlikely hitting star of the day was Ronny Cedeno, who had a perfect afternoon at the plate, going 4-4, while Jose Tabata and Ryan Doumit had 3 hits each, and Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, and Lastings Milledge each had a pair. Milledge, absolutely on fire as of late, has raised average exponentially to .282 for the season.
So the Pirates won the first series of the 2nd half over the Astros. This may not seem like a great accomplishment, considering the fact that Houston is one of the worst teams in the N.L., but it’s more of a motivating factor for our Pirates. They had been dominated by the Astros up to this point in the season, struggling to score runs while the starting pitching fairing absolutely terrible in every outing. But this series was a completely different story, as the Pirates scored a total 23 runs in the 3 game stretch, starting their homestand off the right way. The Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres come into town next, two teams which the Pirates can certainly hold their own ground against at PNC Park.
Current Record: 32-59
And…As Always…Let’s Go Bucs!