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by Zane Heiple

Photo by AP

The Pittsburgh Pirates were in need of a total team effort tonight to end the current four game slide that they were on.  Tonight’s game was reminiscent of the earlier part of the season where a strong pitching effort was backed by solid defense and a few offense bright spots that put some runs on the board.  Everything started with Charlie Morton who was lights out on the mound tonight going six innings allowing only three hits while walking three and striking out five would pick up his tenth win of the year.  He was also doing damage at the plate going 2-3 on the night.

The Pirates offense was able to get to Arizona Diamondbacks starter Dan Hudson tonight as he would only last five innings giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.  The Buccos would score in the first inning off of a Neil Walker double that scored Alex Presley.  Pedro Alvarez showed up tonight hitting a solo home run in the second inning to deep right field.  Run number three would cross the plate in the fifth off of a Ryan Doumit double which scored Andrew McCutchen.

Pittsburgh’s bullpen came into the fold during the seventh inning, and the beginning was very shaky.  Chris Leroux would give up two hits on eleven pitches and not record an out.  He would be replaced by Jason Grilli who would allow one of the inherited runners to score but shut the door to allow the Pirates to carry a two run lead into the eighth. 

The Buccos would get that run back and another one when Derrek Lee would hit a two run shot to left field.  This would allow even more breathing room for the pen in the eighth and ninth innings, which would be needed as Jose Veras allowed a run, while earning only one out.  He would leave the game with runners on first and third when replaced by Tony Watson.  Watson got out of the inning but not before the D-Backs collected their third run of the game when Alvarez made an errant throw to first base on a bunt by Willie Bloomquist.  Joel Hanrahan would enter in the ninth and earn his 39th save of the year as the Pirates would go on to win 5-3.

Even in victory there were a couple of blunders.  The first was base running mistakes as Morton and Pedro Ciriaco who were picked off on the base paths.  The other was the bullpen struggling over the seventh and eighth innings.  These two teams will wrap up their regular season meetings tomorrow at 3:40.  The Pirates will send Ross Ohlendorf to the hill as he looks for another good outing heading into 2012.  The Diamondbacks will send Wade Miley and his 4.24 ERA to the bump.

Record vs. Diamondbacks:  3-2
Record vs. N.L. West:  13-19
Record on the Road:  35-42
Overall Record 69-86

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!!!