The Pirates’ 4-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers featured 2 games of the Buccos hammering the baseball, sandwiched between a pair of games full of missed opportunities and offensive struggle.
Monday, July 19: Monday night’s game, the first game of the 4-game set against the Brewers, featured two pitchers who threw solid games, but one was just a little bit better. Milwaukee starter Chris Capuano pitched 5 innings, while giving up only 1 run on 3 hits, out-throwing the Pirates’ Jeff Karstens and beating Pittsburgh at PNC Park, 3-1.
Karstens lasted 6 innings and only gave up 3 runs on 3 hits, but unfortunately, two of those hits were homeruns. Prince Fielder blasted a solo shot in the 5th, and Rickie Weeks followed that up the next inning with a 2-run shot of his own. The Pirates’ only run of the evening came on Ronny Cedeno’s RBI triple in the 5th, scoring Pedro Alvarez. Both Cedeno and Neil Walker had 2 hits to lead the Pirates attack in the losing effort.
Tuesday, July 20: Pedro Alvarez had the type of game on Tuesday night that we all, as Pirates fans, have hoped and wanted him to do since being called up to the majors. The Bucco third baseman went 2-4 with 2 homeruns (the first multi-HR game of his career) and 5 RBI as the Pirates won a wild outing at PNC Park, 11-9.
Alvarez blasted a grand slam, the first of his career, in the first inning, one which featured an astonishing 9 runs for Pittsburgh. In addition to Pedro’s blast, the inning featured standout doubles from Jose Tabata, Delwyn Young, and Neil Walker, all producing RBI’s. After the Brewers battled back, tallying 3, 4, and 2 runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th innings respectively, Garrett Jones sacrificed Young home on a hammer to deep center field. Neil Walker led the charge for the Pirates with 5 hits.
Octavio Dotel closed out the game for the Pirates, striking out the side and earning his 20th save of the season. While the offense was impressive on this night, the starting pitching was equally as disappointing. Starter Brad Lincoln lasted only 2.1 innings, giving up 7 earned runs. But sometimes you need to win the crazy games in major league baseball, and that’s exactly what the Pirates did on Tuesday night, evening the series at a game a piece.
Wednesday, July 21: For the second straight night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the hottest team in baseball. The Buccos scored 15 runs on 18 hits while holding Milwaukee to only 3 runs, blowing out the Brewers and providing more fireworks on this night than any other so far this season.
Pedro Alvarez once again hammered two homeruns, one in the 5th and one in the 8th, while Delwyn Young continued his hot streak with a 3 hit evening and 5RBI, a career high for him. Seven Buccos had multi-hit games, led by Young and Alvarez who had 3 each. Lastings Milledge also chipped in 2 hits of his own, raising his average to .285, while Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones added a pair of knocks as well.
Zach Duke, while not shutting the Brewers down, contained them through his 6 innings of work, giving up only 2 earned runs on 6 hits. Brendan Donnelly and Sean Gallagher pitched 3 innings combined of 1 hit baseball, as the Pirates dominated the Brew-Crew both offensively and defensively. I think I speak for all Pirates fans and players when I say…this one felt REALLY good.
Thursday, July 22: The final game of the series almost identically mirrored Monday’s game, which included missed opportunities by the Pirates’ offense, solid starting pitching, and timely Brewers’ hitting.
Ross Ohlendorf was out-pitched by Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo and Milwaukee’s offense did just enough to take the final game at PNC Park against the Pirates. Rickie Weeks was the star of the night for the Brewers, going 2-4 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. Neil Walker provided the lone offensive output for the Buccos, going 2-3 including a 2-run double in the 7th inning. Still, it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to complete the comeback and win the series over the Brewers.
So the Pirates looked absolutely incredible in two of the games against the Brewers, and unfortunately, they resembled the same team they have been for the past 2 months in the other two contests. While there are many positive signs offensively for the Pirates, the pitching has to improve if they are going to have any success throughout the rest of the year. The Pirates welcome the N.L. West leading San Diego Padres this weekend, which could cap off a very impressive homestand.
Current Record: 34-61
And…As Always…Let’s Go Bucs!