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By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
After going 40-41 at home during the 2010 season, the 2011 home schedule could not have gotten off to a much worse start.  The Pirates wrapped up a rain shortened, six game home stand with a 4-1 loss to the Brewers on Thursday night.
Paul Maholm started for the Buccos and pitched much better than he did a week ago at the home-opener.  He finished his day going seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while walking three and striking out six batters. 
Unfortunately for the Paul, he, like his fellow starters, was unable to receive any support from the offense.  The bats were unable to do anything against Randy Wolf, Kameron Loe, and John Axford.  These three Milwaukee pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts, five walks, while allowing only four hits.
The Brew Crew scored two runs in the first inning.  Yuniesky Betancourt singled home Casey McGehee from second base to get things started.  Nyjer Morgan made it a 2-0 game when he doubled home Betancourt.
Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth inning and looked to be rusty, giving up two more runs in the inning to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead.
It took a wild pitch with the bases loaded for the Pirates to score their first run in twenty-two innings.  Any hope of a ninth-inning comeback was quickly put to rest when Josh Rodriguez struck out to end the game one pitch later.
A 1-5 home stand is a terrible way for the Pirates to greet the home fans to begin 2011.  Fortunately for the Buccos, most of Pittsburgh is distracted by the Penguins in their quest of the Stanley Cup.  I hate seeing that only twelve games into the season, Pedro Alvarez needs to rest so that he can focus on his plate discipline.  At 24 years of age, the so-called future of the team, as an overall number one pick, he needs to be working on his offensive skills during off days and before games.  I don’t see the Pirates winning many games with Steve Pearce at third base.
Pittsburgh begins a seven-game road trip tomorrow as they head to Cincinnati to take on the Reds.  Hopefully the Pirates are able to end this four-game losing streak and find the road magic they had in Chicago and St. Louis.
Record Vs. Brewers: 0-2
Record Vs. N.L. Central: 4-4
Record At Home: 1-5
Overall Record: 5-7
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!