Sunday, September 23, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G153 - Astros v. Pirates

A.J. Burnett (15-8, 3.64) vs Jordan Lyles (4-11, 5.40)

It is apparent in the way they played the last two days, and the last three weeks (4-17), that this is clearly another lost season for the poor Pittsburgh Pirates. Today, though, they seemed determined to at least reclaim some dignity. After being outscored 11-2 in the first two games of this series, the Pirates responded resoundingly today, pounding Houston to an 8-1 defeat in their final farewell to the Astros in the National League. The loss puts the Astros at 50-103 with nine games left in the season.

*Jordan Lyles + 5th inning = trouble. Again. Tony DeFrancesco did what he could to avert disaster, lifting Lyles before he had actually surrendered any runs, but the bullpen couldn't keep any of his bases-loaded runners from scoring. Thus, Jordan's line: 4 IP / 6 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 1 BB / 4 K. Wesley Wright let the first run in on a bases-loaded HBP before striking out Pedro Alvarez, then Mickey Storey came on and let in all three runners he inherited with a bases-loaded walk and two bloop singles. Storey further allowed another run on consecutive hits to start the 6th, before Chuckie Fick came in to shut the Pirates down for two scoreless frames. But then Enerio Del Rosario let them start it up again with three runs on five hits in his two-thirds of an inning, bringing in Rhiner Cruz for a scoreless final 1.1.


*When you consider that the Pirates amassed 18 hits, the Astros are lucky that the damage wasn't any worse than 8-1. Were it not for Scott Moore today, things could have been embarrassingly ugly.

*Moore went 3 for 4 with a single, a double, and a solo home run, all off of A.J. Burnett.

*Other than Moore, though, the Astros had pretty much no answers for Burnett. Brandon Laird managed the only other Houston hit today, with an 8th-inning single in his only AB, after coming in on a double-switch in the top half of the inning.

*Jose Altuve went 0 for 1 with a walk and his 33rd stolen base, before leaving the game with groin tightness. He's day-to-day, but Zach Levine says he'll probably be out against St. Louis tomorrow.

*Brian Bogusevic was 0 for 1 and hit by a Burnett pitch in the 8th. That was the only other Astro baserunner this afternoon.

Turning Point:

A scoreless game after four quickly went south for Houston in the 5th. The Pirates led off the inning with back-to-back singles by Alex Presley and Josh Harrison, followed by a walk to Andrew McCutchen that loaded the bases. Jordan Lyles was lifted for Wesley Wright, and Pittsburgh pinch-hit with Gaby Sanchez, but Wright's third pitch hit Sanchez to force in the first run of the game. Wright struck out Pedro Alvarez, then Mickey Storey came in to face pinch-hitter Jose Tabata, but Storey walked Tabata to force in run #2. Clint Barmes then blooped a single just beyond Tyler Greene's reach for the third Pirate run, and Rod Barajas dunked another single in front of Fernando Martinez in left for run #4. That was more than enough support for A.J. Burnett today.

Man of the Match:

Scott Moore. Minus Moore, and the Astros would have been victims of a one-hit, one-walk, one-HBP shutout.

Goat of the Game:

Take your pick of pitchers that couldn't pitch and hitters that couldn't hit today. This loss was a total team effort.

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