Results tagged ‘ neil walker ’
The Pirates opportunity to split the series against the Colorado Rockies came to and end in the 7th inning after Rookie Mike Crotta walked three batters, including the go-ahead run, as the Rockies went on to win the game and take the series, 6-5 at PNC Park on Sunday.
Crotta, for the first time all spring and season, looked like a Rookie on the mound. Crotta made it through four appearances this season without allowing a run.
Crotta look over for starter James McDonald with one on (Dexter Fowler) and two out. He walked Jonathan Herrera, then allowed Jason Giambi to hit a single, scoring the game tying run.
Crotta’s inability to throw strikes continued as he walked Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases. The next batter, Seth Smith was walked as well, putting the Rockies on top, 6-5.
Crotta threw 21 pitches –just seven for strikes.
Crotta told Colin Dunlap of the Post-Gazette, “Just didn’t execute my pitches. My job is to come in and get outs. You can’t get outs when you walk people.”
“There are eight guys out there. If they put it in play, chances are they will hit it at somebody. When you walk somebody, there’s nothing anyone can do to help you.”
It wasn’t just Crotta who had trouble throwing strikes, Right-hander James McDonald made his second appearance of the season, and he had a rough first inning.
McDonald threw 38 pitches in the first. He walked two, and also hit Chris Ianetta in the inning. Nine men came to the plate, and four runs scored, including a three run homer by Jose Lopez.
Lopez told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I asked everybody in the dugout, ‘How’s the fastball? ‘Is it moving? Not moving?’ Everybody said, ‘Straight.’ I saw two men on base, so I wanted to swing at the first-pitch fastball.”
McDonald told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I had a talk with myself [after the inning] that I needed to really pick it up and keep the team in the game. I had to motivate myself to hold that game, keep it close.”
McDonald did just that. He threw just 65 pitches over the next 5.2 innings, allowing just three hits and kept the Rockies scoreless.
So what clicked for McDonald after a rough first inning? Advice from Catcher, Ryan Doumit.
McDonald told Colin Dunlap of the Post-Gazette, “Told him to pound that two-seam fastball, forget the four-seamer,” Doumit said, referring to a sinker over the standard fastball. “He has really good downward action on [the two-seam fastball] and it makes it tough to put it in the air.”
McDonald told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s always a good step when your team is still in the game when you come out. I showed that I’m out there competing. I showed my team that I’m not going to give up. It was big for me to go back out there and hold those guys scoreless.”
The Pirates put one run on the board in the first inning and tied the game at 4 in the third. Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch and Neil Walker singled to start the inning. Andrew McCutchen hit a RBI single to left field, and both advanced to second and third base on the throwing error by Carlos Gonzalez. Lyle Overbay hit a double down the right field line to tie the game at 4.
McDonald helped out his own cause in the 4th, by hitting a single and scoring the go ahead run. J-Mac told Jenifer Langosh of MLB.com in the spring that he wanted to have 10 hits this year. He’s got one down, nine to go.
The game stayed 5-4, until the 7th inning when Crotta allowed the two runs to score. The Pirates were unable to come up with a hit in the final three innings, as the Rockies went on the beat the Bucs, 6-5 and take the series win.
The Pirates have issued 46 walks so far the season –the most in the majors, including seven on Sunday.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “We’ve got to do better. Being concerned about it isn’t going to get the job done. Guys have got to throw strikes and get hitters out.”
The Bucs fall to 5-5 on the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (4-3) will face the Colorado Rockies (4-1) tonight at 7:05 PM/ET for the second of a four game series.
Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will face Left-hander Jorge De LaRosa.
Ohlendorf is making his second start of the season tonight. He picked a no-decision against the Chicago Cubs on April 3rd. He allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
De La Rosa will also be making his second start of the season. He picked up the win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday after pitching 5.1 shutout innings allowing just three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
- Tonight marks the first time this season the Pirates have faced a starting lefty. The Bucs went 13-10 at PNC Park last season against a left-hander.
- Jose Tabata has had at least one hit in each of the first seven games. His seven game hitting streak in the longest in the majors.
- Neil Walker has hit safely in six of the first seven games this year. He also is tied in the National League with the most RBI –8.
- Rookie Mike Crotta has yet to surrender a hit or a run over his three appearances.
- Troy Tulowitki’s home run off Paul Maholm yesterday was just the second homer allowed by the Bucs pitching staff this season. That is tied with the San Francisco Giants for the fewest in the National League.
- Tonight is buc night at PNC Park. Although all the $1 tickets are sold out, you can still fill up on all popcorn, Pepsi and hot dogs for just one buck each.
- Right-hand pitcher Tyler Yates is facing yet another setback. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Yates has been diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The diagnosis came after a visit with Dr. James Andrews.
Yates had Tommy John Surgery back in 2009 and was pitching in his first spring this year since the recovery.
Langosch also reports that the Pirates will provide an update after being reexamined in six weeks.
- The Pirates, through the first five games of the season, have a team total of 50 strikeouts –the most in major league baseball.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Root Sports on Wednesday, “We’ve been doing too much of that. You know, you add fly balls and strikeouts together in account of soft outs. Tonight we had 17 soft outs. You get 27 in a game. It’s hard to score a lot of runs when you’re playing with 10 outs. The guys are aware of it. Just got to go a better job with two strikes. I think some of our problem is we’re still not aggressive enough in the count early. Taking a lot of pitches getting two strikes.”
- The Bucs will face their NL rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, for a three game series that starts on Tuesday. Over the past several seasons there have been players plunked, words said and high emotions.
Andrew McCutchen told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, We know it’s going to be a battle. They’re thinking they can step all over us. We’re going to wake them up and tell them, ‘Hey, we’re not that team anymore.’
“We want to be that team that wakes everyone up. Then the next time they play us, they’ll know, ‘We’ve got to have our big-boy pants on.’ It’s up to us to do that.”
Dexter Fowler CF, Jonathan Herrera 2B, Carlos Gonzalez LF, Troy Tulowitzki SS,
Todd Helton 1B, Jason Giambi 1B Seth Smith RF, Ty Wigginton 3B, Chris Iannetta C, Jorge de la Rosa LHP
*Helton was a late scratch.
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Matt Diaz RF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Jason Jaramillo C, Ronny Cedeno SS, Ross Ohlendorf RHP
- Prior to today’s home opener, the Pirates had a tribute for Hall of Fame Manager Chuck Tanner who passed away in February. They showed a wonderful video tribute and also unveiled a decal of Tanner’s No. 7 jersey on the right center field wall.
Injury updates (reported by Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com)
Catcher Chris Snyder (lower back) and Right-hand pitcher Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) are starting a rehab assignment with Single-A Bradenton.
Snyder will play in Thursday’s game and Lincoln will start for the Marauders on Monday. The Pirates have not said how long the rehab assignment will last. This marks Lincoln’s first game since being hit on the right arm with a line drive by the Phillies Jimmy Rollins.
Lefty Joe Beimel (left elbow) will throw on Friday.
- Neil Walker started in his first major league home opener this afternoon. Walker, a Pittsburgh native, told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com prior to the game, “Well, it feels pretty good. Obviously, growing up in Pittsburgh and seeing a lot of home openers, I’m excited to be here. We’ve started the season off well. What more can you ask for? Thank you.”
- Manager Clint Hurdle met with media for a press conference prior to today’s game. He told Root Sports, “The home opener’s always special. Added significance this season for me personally; an opportunity to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates. I’m humbled by the opportunity. [I'm] Really looking forward to rolling my sleeves up with everybody in this organization and re-bonding the city with a ball club. And to finally get home, after starting on the road for a week, We’re happy to be home. Everybody in that clubhouse is happy to be home.”
- With a lead off single in the 1st inning, Jose Tabata extended his hit streak to seven games.
- The Pirates will face the Rockies again on Friday night at 7:05 PM/ET. Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will start for the Bucs.
- Right-hand pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (right thumb) was placed on the disabled-list, so the Pirates will not face him this series. The starters for the following three game are as follows: Jorge De La Rosa will start on Friday, followed by Greg Reynolds (vs. Charlie Morton) and Jhoulys Chacin (vs. James McDonald).
- Monday will be the first off day for the Pirates since opening day. Pittsburgh is the only team to open the season with 10 straight games without a day off.
The Pirates combined for just four hits off of the Colorado pitching staff (lead by Esmil Rogers) in the 7-1 loss to the Rockies on the Bucs home opener.
Rogers allowed just one run on four hits over 7.1 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Neil Walker told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “A lot of us were up there looking for certain pitches. When he’s throwing 93, 94, 95 (mph) on the inner half for strikes to righties and lefties, your eyes light up when you see balls over the plate then, when you go to swing at 94, 95, it’s tough to barrel it up. I think we’ll be more prepared next time we face him.”
39,219 fans –the second largest crowd in PNC Park history– packed the stadium in their black and yellow on a gorgeous afternoon but the Pirates unfortunately couldn’t at pull out the third straight home opener victory.
Left-hander Paul Maholm started his first career home opener for the Bucs, and his second start of the season.
Maholm allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits with one strikeout over 5.2 innings.
Maholm tweeted after the loss, “The fans deserved a better opening day performance from all of us. Sorry. We still expect to win the series. #letsgobucs!”
The first pitch thrown by the left hander was hit into center field by the Rockies leadoff batter, Dexter Fowler. With one out, Carlos Gonzalez hit a ground ball to second, but Walker’s throw to the base was off as it went past Ronny Cedeno and into left field. Fowler scored and Gonzalez advanced to third on the two base error. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a sac fly to put Colorado up 2-0 in the 1st.
Walker told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I just blew it. Just a terrible play. Just bad. I just didn’t make the play. I hurried it. That’s it.”
Jose Tabata lead off the bottom of the 1st with a single to center field. Walker hit a single, advancing Tabata to third base and also swiped his first bag of the season. Andrew McCutchen hit a grounder to third to score Tabata and cut the lead 2-1.
The Bucs, the run in the 1st inning was the only run they would score the remainder of the game.
Tulowitzki lead off the 4th inning with a solo homerun to the left field seats, giving the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
Tulowitzki told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “Obviously, they’ve played good baseball. Today they made a few mistakes and we took advantage of it. But I know Hurdle. He’s a good manager. He’ll do a good job over there.”
Maholm allowed three straight hits (two of them doubles) in the 6th as the Rockies added two more insurance runs.
Resop also gave up three straight hits (all singles) and two runs, pushing the Rockies lead to 7-1.
Rogers retired 18 batters in a row until Ronny Cedeno singled in the 8th inning. Steve Pearce, who pinch hit for Garrett Olson, singled and picked up his first hit of the season. With two on and one out, Tabata hit into an inning ending double play to end the threat.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “He was aggressive. I expected more from our offense. We’re always going to expect more from our offense. Rogers showed up and pitched well.”
Right-hander Kevin Correia was dominant in the final game of the three game series against the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis.
He pitched seven scoreless innings (89 pitches), holding the Cardinals to just five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Corriea’s battery mate, Ryan Doumit told Nate Latasch of MLB.com, “He had all his pitches working and he was throwing them for strikes, keeping people off-balance. When you’ve got that combination, you are going to be tough. When you have four pitches and you can locate all four of them, it’s tough to hit.”
Neil Walker added, “He was very much in control, moving it around — inside, outside, cutting, sinking. He was really, really good today, and he was good on Opening Day in Chicago. I think that’s a big confidence booster for him, too, and the way he looked is very encouraging.”
The game remained scoreless until the 4th inning, when the Pirates were able to take a lead. Lyle Overbay lead off the inning by hitting a single to first baseman Albert Pujols, but advanced to second because of a throwing error.
Two batters later, Ryan Doumit doubled to right center to jump ahead, 1-0.
Neil Walker hit his second home run of the year in the 5th to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. The ball stayed just inside the right field foul pole.
“I thought I hooked it a little bit,” Walker said. “Fortunately, he was kind of throwing hard enough that the barrel couldn’t get too far in front.”
With the lead still intact, Evan Meek took the mound in the 8th inning. Meek, who has had two bad outings this year, pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning.
The Pirates added an insurance run in the top of the 9th after Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay hit back-to-back doubles. McCutchen scored all three runs on the afternoon.
Joel Hanrahan allowed a lead off double to Lance Berkman and a two-out double by Yadier Molina, ending the Pirates shutout.
But Hanrahan worked out of the inning, notching his fourth save of the season –a major league best.
With the 3-1 victory, the Pirates won their first back-to-back road series since August of 2007. The Bucs will have start their home opener on Thursday at 1:35 ET with a 4-2 record.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus pointed out that it was the first time the Pirates have beaten Chris Carpenter since June 29th, 2004 at PNC Park. He had been 11-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 15 starts against them.
- The Pirates struck out for a total of 11 times during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. First baseman Lyle Overbay told Nate Latasch of MLB.com, I think we’re kind of doubting our game plan a little bit,. You end up taking the pitches that you should be hitting and swinging at their pitches. It’s just a matter of getting up and making sure we’re swinging at our pitches and not letting the pitcher dictate what we want to swing at.”
- The Pirates signed Left-hand pitcher Dan Meyer and right-hander Tim Wood on Tuesday according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. They both were assigned them to Triple-A Indianapolis to begin season.
Meyer was released by the Phillies on Monday. He appeared in 13 games with the Florida Marlins in 2010 where he allowed 10 runs on 15 hits with 12 walks over 9.1 innings.
Wood appeared in 26 games for the Marlins last season where he allowed 19 runs (17 earned) with 15 walks and 10 strikeouts over 27.2 innings.
- The Triple-A Indians rotation this year will be: Brian Burres, Sean Gallagher, Justin Wilson, Daniel McCutchen and Rudy Owens.
- Neil Walker has had a hot bat so far this spring. Walker has a team leading seven hits and seven RBI over four games. Manager Clint Hurdle has been impressed from what he’s seen from the second baseman.
He told Nate Latsch of MLB.com, “He’s a ballplayer. I do hear comments from time to time that he can’t do this and he can’t do that. We live in a society that we’re so quick to try and point out how smart we are and something that somebody can’t do.”
“You let the kid play and you watch him play. He comes to play. He comes to win. He’s going to do whatever it takes on the offensive and defensive side of the ball to win a ballgame. He’ll lay out. Does he have work to do? Can he improve? All of us can. I like the way he embraces the game and he has embraced this opportunity.”
- Evan Meek has had back-to-back shaky innings where he has allowed seven runs (four earned ) in two appearances.
John Wehner, the Pirates color analyst, reported that Meek has also been fighting a cold. It’s still very early to be worried about two bad performances.
Meek told Karen Price of MLB.com, “It’s a long season, and obviously I’m not pitching how I can or how I should be right now, but it’s too early to panic.”
“This situation is just one of those things where you have to have a good outing to build off of, and you have to do the best you can not to be negative and dwell on your last outing or your last couple outings because that’s not going to be productive.”
The Pirates (3-1) will face the St. Louis Cardinals (1-3) at 8:15 PM/ET tonight.
Right-hander James McDonald will be making his season debut against righty Kyle McClellan.
McDonald was limited to just 6.2 innings this spring. He was sidelined with left side soreness.
McDonald pitched well after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in July last season. He posted a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts while striking out 61 batters in 64 innings.
- Some positive notes:
The Pirates are leading the league in several categories this season. Jose Tabata leads the National League with six runs scored, Neil Walker leads with six RBI and Joel Hanrahan is tied in the league with three saves.
Neil Walker has seven hits & seven RBI after his first four games this season. The last Pirates infielder to produce such totals in his first four games was Johnny Ray, 25 years ago.
The Bucs pitching staff also ranks fourth the NL with a 2.83 ERA (11 earned runs in 30 innings).
If the Pirates beat the Cardinals tonight (or tomorrow) and take the series, it would be the first time since 2007 that the Bucs have won back-to-back series on the road.
- Charlie Morton made a solid season debut on Monday allowing just one run on three hits over six innings against the Cardinals. He’s also coming off of a great spring where he had a 2.63 ERA over 24 innings.
Morton really looks like a different guy on the mound. Manager Clint Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I think he honestly self-evaluated (over the winter), he didn’t stick his head in the sand, he didn’t point fingers, he took responsibility and accountability for the breakdowns and the things that didn’t go well. He found focus points to work on all winter long and came out in spring training, put them into play and stayed with it. The first outing where he had some turbulence, might have been Port Charlotte where he had five runs, most he gave up in spring training, he still pitched through traffic and never let an inning get away. I think that had been some of the issues he had in the past. Just a kid who feels like it’s his time to start pitching the way he’s capable of pitching.”
Morton clearly has a new found confidence in himself this year. His teammates enjoy watching him pitch so well.
Closer Joel Hanrahan told Nate Latsch of MLB.com, “What Charlie did out there today was awesome. I told him it was fun to watch. When Charlie believes in himself and believes in his stuff, that’s what he can do, because his stuff is so good out there. He’s riding off that confidence he had in Spring Training and feeling good.
McCutchen added, “This is his first start and a good win for him. It’s good that he can have a good start like this and start off quick and get some wins and just get the confidence. … He went out and he did a great job. It’s good to be able to see that.”
- Andrew McCutchen sat out on Sunday’s game due to ‘upper body stiffness’. He told Root Sports that it was nothing serious, and just precautionary. “If it was a need for me to play [on Sunday] at that time, I would have played. Since it is pretty early you don’t want to turn something into something that could just take a day or two off. I just wanted to give it a days rest and see how I feel the next day. I feel good enough to play and I’m just going to go out there and go out and play.”
McCutchen went 1-for-4 with a two-run homerun against the Cardinals on Monday. I’d say he’s just fine.
- I’ve said it time and time again how much I love Manager Clint Hurdle and his impact on the players. I believe it was the best decision the Pirates made during the offseason in hiring him as skipper.
Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror wrote about how the great start of the season (3-1) is in large part because of Hurdle (read more here).
- The Pirates announced on Tuesday the festivities for the home opener against the Colorado Rockies on April 7th.
The gates will open at 11:30 am (first pitch is at 1:35 PM).
The Pirates will have a pre-game ceremony in honor of hall of fame manager Chuck Tanner who passed in February. Members of his family are scheduled to attend along with former players John Candelaria, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Parker and Kent Tekulve. They will also unveil a tribute to Tanner that will be at PNC Park all season long and they will also have a video tribute prior to the first pitch.
There will also be a military tribute, a moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake in Japan. Pirates Charities will be collecting donations for UNICEF.
You can read more information regarding the pre-game festivities here.
- Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror reports that Bryan Morris will start opening day for Altoona Curve, Jeff Locke pitching game two. Double-A opens in Erie on Thursday.
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 2B, Matt Diaz RF, Jason Jaramillo C, Ronny Cedeno SS, James McDonald RHPCardinals:
Ryan Theriot SS, Colby Rasmus CF, Albert Pujols 1B, Lance Berkman RF, Allen Craig LF, David Freese 3B, Skip Schumaker 2B, Gerald Laird C, Kyle McClellan RHP
The Pirates (2-1) will face the St. Louis Cardinals (1-2) tonight at 8:15 PM/ET. The first of a three-game series.
Right-hander Charlie Morton will face Right-hand pitcher Kyle Lohse.
- Morton had a great spring training where he had a 2.63 ERA. The 27-year-old allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 15 hits with six walks and 12 strike outs over 24 innings.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Cash Kruth of MLB.com, “Charlie pitched better than anybody in camp, and good for him. That’s why the next step will be the more interesting step. The season will come and we’ll see what that brings. But confidence has been built.”
- Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said that the club has not yet decided whether left-hander Scott Olsen will need to make some Minor League rehab appearances before rejoining the big league club. Olsen (left shoulder inflammation) is currently in Bradenton, Fla., for extended spring training.
- Neil Walker’s decision to score home in the 9th inning against the Cubs on Pedro Alvarez’s dribbler, was a gutsy one. Walker said, “Had to take the chance, just had to.”
Thanks to aggressive base running, Walker’s run turned out to be the winning one in the 5-4 victory on Sunday.
Walker told Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette about his decision.
- Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted some good news for Pirates fans: they may not finish in the basement of the National League Central this year. “Talked with several scouts who think the Pirates will finish ahead of the Astros this year — PITT is better, to them, and Houston is worse.”
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ryan Doumit C, Garrett Jones RF, Ronny Cedeno SS, Charlie Morton RHP
Ryan Theriot SS, Colby Rasmus CF, Albert Pujols 1B, Lance Berkman RF, Allen Craig LF, David Freese 3B, Yadier Molina C, Skip Schumaker 2B, Kyle Lohse RHP
The Pirates beat the Cubs, 5-4, at Wrigley Field on Sunday after a two run rally in the 9th inning.
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, who shut the Bucs down 1-2-3 in the previous game, walked the lead off batter, Garrett Jones. Neil Walker followed with a single and Lyle Overbay advanced both runners over with a sac bunt.
Pedro Alvarez hit an infield single which scored two runs –including Walker who scored from second base– to take the lead a 5-4 lead.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Root Sports, “It goes back to the aggressive base running. Trying to be smart, trying to be aggressive…Nick’s [Leyva] a very aggressive third base coach and Neil plays the game that way, when he’s on the bases. Once he saw the play develop from second base, he knew there was a very good shot that he might be able to pull something off. And he did. He’s a ballplayer.”
Alvarez told Stan Savran of Root Sports, “He’s [Marmol] a tough pitcher. I think we just did a good job of trying to figure our pitches. He’s one of the best pitchers, closers out there. When we stick to our approach and swing at strikes and balls that we can hit, I think it goes to show you. We’ll get the walks when needed and we’ll get the big hits when necessary.”
“We stayed resilient. We battled and we played to the end.”
With two runners on, Joel Hanrahan forced Marlon Byrd to hit into a game ending double play tp give the Pirates a 5-4 victory and pick up his second save of the season.
The Bucs combined for 16 hits –all singles– and picked up their first road series victory. A rare feat that happened just four times last season (And hasn’t happened since July 27-29th in Colorado last year).
Ross Ohlendorf made his first start of the season after a rocky spring training. He allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings with four walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts.
Ohlendorf told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I didn’t show him much in spring training, but I’m planning to do well from now on. I feel like I did better than I’ve been doing.”
Hurdle told Root Sports, “He was building confidence today…That was the best he’s thrown, I’ve ever seen him throw. The things he worked on the side with Ray [Searage] came into play. His direction to the plate, his sink, his command.”
With a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning, Ohlendorf ran into trouble. After allowing three straight singles, and the bases loaded with no outs, Carlos Pena hit a two run double off the right field wall just feet from a grand slam. Pena’s hit was just several feet from a grand slam. Right fielder Garrett Jones jumped to catch the ball and during the play a Cubs fan in the stands spilt his beer on Jones head while reaching for the ball.
Ohlendorf worked out of the inning, not allowing anymore runs to score and keep it a 2-2 game.
Lyle Overbay hit a RBI single to score Jose Tabata in the 5th to take a 3-2 lead but the Cubs fought back in the bottom of the inning. Starlin Castro hit a lead off triple and Darwin Barney hit a sac fly to quickly tie the game back up at 3.
The Cubs tacked on another run in the 6th after Rafael Soriano hit a solo home run off of Ohlendorf.
“It was supposed to be down and away,” Ohlendorf told Root Sports. “It was up. Probably middle away. He did a good job hitting it.”
After a tough loss to the Cubs the night before, a comeback win today means a lot to the players.
Alvarez told Root Sports, “It shows character. We gotta’ play all 9. We gotta’ play all 27 outs…That’s the beauty about baseball. You come back the next day and you either redeem yourself or you keep the ball rollin’. Tomorrow we’ll try to keep the ball rollin’ with another W. I can’t stress enough, we just have to play nine, every game.”
Joel Hanrhan added, “Anytime you can start off the season with a road series win is awesome. Especially with all the stuff that has been said about us and our record last year on the road. Our goal is to go out there and win a series. We were fortunate to do that here and we’ll go to St. Louis and try to do that again.”
Down three runs in the eighth, the Cubs rallied in the inning to score five runs as the Pirates fell 5-3 to the Cubs in Chicago on Saturday.
Paul Maholm received a no-decision in his solid season debut scattering five hits over 6.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
Maholm was efficient. He needed just 14 pitches to get through two perfect innings. Maholm didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the 3rd, when pitcher Carlos Zambrano hit a double.
Maholm told Root Sports on what made him so successful today: “My curveball was better than my slider. Just throwing inside and mixing it up.”
“I was happy. I felt comfortable. I was throwing first pitch strikes, throwing inside and mixing it up pretty good.
The Pirates scored on Right-hand pitcher Zambrano early. After issuing two walks in the first inning, Pedro Alvarez drove in Jose Tabata to take a 1-0 lead.
They tacked on a second run in the 3rd when Neil Walker hit a RBI double scoring Tabata who started the inning off with a single.
The score remained 2-0 until the 7th inning when right-fielder Garrett Jones took the first pitch from Zambrano into the right field bleachers for a solo-home run and a 3-0 lead.
Things quickly turned sour in the 8th. Set up man Evan Meek allowed a lead-off walk to pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome, who advanced to second after a wild pitch was thrown. Shortstop Starlin Castro hit a RBI double to cut the lead 3-1. Marlon Byrd reached base on a fielding error by first baseman Lyle Overbay which scored Castro. Alfonso Soriano hit a single off of Meek to tie the game at 3.
Chris Resop replaced Meek, but he didn’t stop the runs from scoring. After issuing a walk to Tyler Colvin, Blake Dewitt hit a two-run double to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead.
Meek told Root Sports after the game, “I felt good warming up. Obviously, when you go out there and walk the lead-off guy, it’s never a good sign. It’s tough. Pauly [Paul Maholm] went out there and did a good job. The team did a good job. Just didn’t make good pitches when I needed to, didn’t make very smart pitches. Not smart location, it just was an awful day for me. You can’t get ahead of a guy 0-2 and give him something to hit. I just didn’t do a good job finishing off the hitters today. It’s a tough break.”
“I go out there everyday expecting to get three outs, and get them quickly. Going out there and having a three run lead, knowing that Joel’s coming after me, it’s a good feeling. It’s a very confident feeling. Obviously going out there and not doing my job, not making the pitches, walking the lead off guy, that weighs on you. It weighs on you hard.”
Closer Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the top of the 9th for the save and the heartbreaking loss for the Bucs.
“You’re going to lose, Maholm said. “It’s going to happen. We’re going to go 162-0? It’s part of it. But hopefully as a group you’re p*ssed off, you’re ready to come win a series tomorrow. We had the game and kind of let it get away from us. You know what, I’ll hand the ball to Meek every time, and all those guys in the bullpen. Everybody’s going to have bad outings.”