Pirates finish the season at home one game below .500 with 9-3 win over the Astros
The Pirates continued to play good baseball on the last game of the 2010 season at PNC Park in front of 23,208 fans –beating the Astros 9-2 and finishing the final home stand 7-2.
Picking up the 40th victory of the season, the Pirates finished the season just one game below .500 at home.
“As long as our season was, Pirate fans are phenomenal,” manager John Russell said. “They are great to us. They appreciate what we do. They want a winner here. The city has really stuck behind us.”
A few of the players felt the same way.
“It was a great way to finish the season at home,” Andy LaRoche said. “It’s a great way to keep the fans excited about next season and about what we’re capable of.”
“Through the thick and thin, they’ve always been there,” Walker added.
A 1-0 game through six, the Pirates finally broke through the Astros’ J.A. Happ and put some runs on the board. Garrett Jones was issued a four-pitch walk and Pedro Alvarez’s single advanced him to third. Cedeno hit a short chopper to third base, fielded by Johnson. Jones was caught in the run-down, but scored when the throw to Castro was late and dropped.
The Pirates caught a break and took advantage of it. LaRoche hit a Sac Fly, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Seven more runs were put on the board in the final two at-bats.
“They battled throughout the game and finally broke through,” Maholm said. “That’s huge.”
Neil Walker contributed to three RBI’s and Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run double. Ryan Doumit had a pinch-hit RBI single. Jose Tabata hustled out an infield hit. Even Alex Presley’s speed couldn’t be stopped as he ran out to third, the Astros throw not in time.
All Good signs from the Pirates young core.
“When we started this home stand, we really emphasized finishing strong at home, not only for ourselves but for our city,” Russell said. “They put a lot of focus into this home stand. I’m really proud of the way they played here.”
Paul Maholm picked up his second straight victory. He pitched seven innings allowing just one run and matched his season high– seven strikeouts.
“I think I’ve gotten back into a rhythm with my mechanics and am throwing all my pitches to where the confidence is there,” Maholm said. “The last few outings have been what I need to pitch like. That’s what I expect.”
Evan Meek gave up a two-run home run to Hunter Pence. But that didn’t rain on the Pirates parade. They took two-of-three from the Astros and won the finale game of the season at home, 9-3.
“We tried to make people remember that we’re still playing hard around here and moving in the right direction,” second baseman Neil Walker said. “There’s still something to play for. We’re trying to get a nice head of momentum going into the off-season and going into next year.”
The Pirates have seven games remaining of the 2010 season, all on the road. It’s been rough for the Buccos going 15-59.
“To continue to finish strong, I think, is meaningful,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “It’s important for these young men out there to finish on a good note heading into the off-season.”