Select Page
By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit: AP
The Buccos left a cold Colorado and headed to sunny San Diego for a three game set with the Padres.  Pittsburgh came into this series with a 9-7 record on the road and is facing a Padres team that has only won four times at PetCo Park this season.  James McDonald was looking to build on the success of his last start tonight, while Aaron Harang took to the hill for San Diego.
The Pirates have scored first in six straight coming into this game and tonight was no different.  A pair of two-run homeruns gave Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead in the first inning.  Garrett Jones hit the first one after Xavier Paul singled past second baseman Orlando Hudson.  Chris Snyder hit his first homerun of the year with two outs and Neil Walker on third after a pickoff error by Harang.
Jones flashed some leather in the fourth inning on a nice sliding catch near the foul line in right field.  This was followed up in the fifth when he gunned out Padres’ first baseman Brad Hawpe at the plate after catching an Eric Patterson fly ball.
McDonald was cruising until the sixth when Jorge Cantu blasted a two run homer to left field that cut the Pirates’ lead to 4-2.  James exited the game after this inning.  His final line read:  two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.  It was great to see him decrease that walk total tonight and the two runs is something we will take anytime when he makes a start.
The bullpen was finally charged with a run tonight.  After Jose Veras pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out two batters, Chris Resop allowed on run when Ryan Ludwick singled home Will Venable from second base.  Fortunately, Resop stopped the bleeding and was able to hand the ball to Joel Hanrahan for the ninth inning.
The ninth would be interesting for the Buccos.  Hanrahan got the first two outs, but gave up a single to Nick Hundley with two strikes.  Pinch runner Chris Denorfia advanced to third when a ground ball by Chase Headley made its way past Neil Walker.  Joel earned his ninth save of the year, however, and closed the door on a 4-3 Pirates’ win, when Venable grounded out to shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
Pittsburgh battled to maintain an early four run lead to pick up win number ten on the road this year.  While it would have been nice to see the offense maintain the onslaught after the first inning, the pitching staff once again pitched well to maintain the early lead.  Make sure to take another power nap tomorrow as these two teams will go at it again at 10:05 pm EST with Jeff Karstens making another start for the injured Ross Ohlendorf, while Padres’ pitcher Mat Latos will look for his first win of the year for San Diego.
Record Vs. Padres: 1-0
Record Vs. N.L. West: 5-6
Record On The Road: 10-7
Overall Record: 14-15
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!