Morton Shuts Down Giants As Pirates End Skid With 5-0 Victory

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: AP
The Pirates’ current 10-game losing streak has been rough on the players, coaches, and most of all, on us fans.  Only a couple weeks ago, the Buccos were sitting atop the N.L. Central, and, now, we find our team 10 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Things didn’t look much better tonight, as the Pirates kicked off their six-game road trip against the San Francisco Giants and their unexpected ace, Ryan Vogelsong.  The defending World Series champs’ starter came into tonight’s game sporting a 9-1 record and a 2.19 ERA.  This, combined with the fact that the Pirates have been struggling to muster any type of offense since the All-Star break, didn’t set the table for a pretty picture for Pittsburgh fans.
That’s why they play the game.
The Pirates got to Vogelsong early and often, tagging him for five runs on nine hits through his five innings of work, as they finally snapped their current losing streak with a 5-0 victory over the Giants.
Pittsburgh took the lead in the first inning.  Garrett Jones and Neil Walker hit back-to-back doubles, with Walker’s scoring Jones.  Ryan Ludwick then singled home Walker to give the Bucs an early 2-0 lead.
The Buccos scored another run in the third inning.  After Andrew McCutchen led off with a bunt-single, Jones singled to put two runners on.  After Walker grounded out and Derrek Lee struck out, Ludwick and Pedro Alvarez both drew walks, pushing Cutch home to give the Pirates a 3-0 advantage.
They added two more in the fifth inning.  After Jones singled for his third hit of the game, he stole second, and scored on Ludwick’s single to center field.  Back to back singles by Alvarez and Brandon Wood scored Ludwick, stretching the lead to 5-0.
That proved to be more than enough for Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton, who pitched eight superb innings of baseball tonight, holding the Giants in check throughout the night and getting himself out of some trouble on a few occasions.  Chuck gave up just six hits and issued three walks.  The Pirates’ right hander has pitched 15 innings of scoreless baseball in his last two starts, earning his ninth victory of the season tonight while lowering his ERA to 3.56.
Newly acquire Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup tonight for San Francisco with a right hand injury, while the Pirates’ Derrek Lee, who has been sidelined with a bruised hand of his own, made his return to the lineup tonight.  The Pirates’ first baseman went 1-4 with a triple and three strikeouts.
This was a complete team victory for the Pirates, which is exactly what they needed to end the longest losing streak of this 2011 season.  Charlie Morton pitched a brilliant game tonight, and Jose Veras came in and closed things out in the ninth inning.
Garrett Jones led the offensive attack with four hits, while Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Ludwick added a pair each. 
This was the type of game the Pirates desperately needed.  They got an outstanding performance from their starting pitcher.  They were able to take the lead early and never looked back. 
Tonight’s victory was huge as they kick off a very difficult road trip.  The ten game losing streak is now officially history, and hopefully the Bucs can turn this win tonight into a very successful string of games over the next week and beyond.
Record Vs. Giants: 2-2
Record Vs. N.L. West: 10-13
Record On The Road: 29-27
Overall Record: 55-59
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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