By Chad Carlson
|Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images|
Well, the Buccos did it again. They got a strong performance from their starting pitcher, some outstanding defensive plays from their fielders, and timely hits from their most reliable players in route to another victory at
tonight. This time, it was a 4-1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers in the first of four games between the two clubs this week. PNC Park
Jeff Karstens was given the start tonight against the Dodgers, and, like many of his predecessors this season, he pitched a strong game for the Pirates. Karstens gave up one run on seven hits, while walking one and striking out two in 5.2 innings. His only blunder came in the first inning, as he gave up an RBI single to Juan Uribe which scored Aaron Miles to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead.
Garrett Jones evened things up in the 3rd inning with an RBI single of his own, scoring Ronny Cedeno from third base. Jones had two more hits this evening, raising his batting average to .273 for the season.
The turning point in the game came in the eighth inning, when Jose Veras hit Matt Kemp on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the inning. Uribe then followed by hitting a sinking liner to Jose Tabata in left field. Tabata slid and came up with the ball, fired to Neil Walker who tossed over to first base to double up Kemp. Both Uribe and manager Don Mattingly argued the play immediately and then during the next inning break and both were eventually ejected.
While the ball did appear to bounce into Tabata’s glove, the call on the field stood, and the Pirates got out of the eighth inning without surrendering a run. Of course, those of us who tuned into the game yesterday against the Astros will remember the Pirates’ misfortune when a ball that was caught by Andrew McCutchen was ruled a trap, which led to the Astros taking the lead in the ballgame. Tonight, the Pirates were given the gift from the umpires, and they would take advantage of it.
After only being able to muster one run through the first seven innings of the game, the Pirates’ offense exploded for three runs in the eighth. After Jones singled to lead off the inning, Neil Walker lined a double to right field, scoring Xavier Paul, who pinch-ran for Jones, all the way from first, to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Lyle Overbay then hammered a double to right field, scoring . Ryan Doumit then traded places with Overbay after his double to right field, giving the Bucs a 4-1 lead, which would be the final. Walker
The bullpen was strong in relief of Karstens. Mike Crotta, Joe Beimel, Jose Veras, and Joel Hanrahan combined to throw over three innings of shutout baseball. Hanrahan earned his 11th save of the season.
Once again, the Pirates played a great game tonight, and they were rewarded for it with a victory. While the offense is clearly not where they, or we fans, would like for it to be, they are coming through when they need to, and they’re doing enough to get victories. Doumit continued to swing a hot bat tonight with another three hits, raising his average to .295. With the exception of Tabata and Pedro Alvarez, who both were held hitless, the Pirates received contributions offensively from nearly everyone in the lineup. Alvarez did make a couple of phenomenal plays at third base, including a diving stop and putout to record the game’s final out.
The Buccos will look to continue their strong play as they take the field tomorrow evening against the Dodgers. The Pirates have now won three in a row, and have a 6-2 record in May thus far. Kevin Correia will take the ball for the Bucs tomorrow, looking for his sixth victory of the season. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 at
. PNC Park
Record Vs. Dodgers: 1-0
Record Vs. N.L. West: 7-7
Record At Home: 7-9
Overall Record: 18-17
Let’s Go Bucs!