Well, that was interesting. Little bit of every aspect of the game in this one: a pitcher’s duel, a home run derby and even an ugly brawl. But, the bottom line is we pick up another series win and end a very ugly streak in the process. So you can’t be unhappy with that.
Game one was the brawl portion of the series. The Bucs jumped out to an early 6-1 lead behind Ross Ohlendorf. Garrett Jones went yard. Again. Just about everyone got a hit. It was a very nice showing, and a well deserved win. The real fireworks, however, started in the 8th inning. With the game at 7-2 Pirates and out of hand, the Brewers took the opportunity to get some payback. From way back in April. April! It all started when Ryan Braun hit a home run and Jeff Karstens hit him his next time up. This is one of those things that I hate about baseball. If a pitcher feels shown up, he plunks the hitter. If you don’t want the hitter to show you up, don’t hang a curve. Period. I can understand protecting your hitter, though. If a pitcher on the other team throws at one of your hitters, you have to retaliate to establish some consequences and hopefully prevent it from happening in the first place. The Brewers had a chance to throw at Karstens in that game. They didn’t. It started a bit of a tiff in the locker room. They threw at our guy the next night. The Pirates took it. We’re even. Or not. Karstens came up to bat during long relief on Monday, and he got plunked. I realize that revenge is a dish best served cold, but c’mon, that was April. That revenge is frozen by now. Plus, you already got your retribution. I don’t get it. Expect it to turn into some more fireworks in the future, though. They come back in mid-August. The Pirates aren’t dumb. The umps issued warning before each of the last two games. No use getting someone suspended. If the Brewers can wait 3 months, we can wait 1, right?
Game two was the pitchers duel. Virgil Vasquez and Braden Looper were all but unhitable. Vasquez gave up 2 runs in about 7 innings, which I’ll take every time. Especially from a 5th man in the rotation. I think Vasquez is a fine 5th pitcher. He shows flashes of brilliance and occasionally throws a stinker (which is what makes him a 5th starter instead of an ace). I’ll take that. Unfortunately, Looper also pitched 7 brilliant innings. I’d love to shower him with praise, but I can’t. We couldn’t hit anything off of the next 3 pitchers that entered the game, either. That’s a surefire sign of a bad offensive night, not a great pitching night. We managed 4 measly hits all night. That will never ever get it done. On the bright side, however, we only struck out once. So, I guess that’s actually good defense by the Brewers. I can respect that.
Game three was a slugfest. Paul Maholm and Jeff Suppan were on the hill, so I wasn’t prepared for it, either. Maholm’s been one of our best pitchers (which is almost saying something this year), and Suppan has been hit and miss all year. Well, Maholm looked very mortal out there compared to the heavy Milwaukee bats, and Suppan was definitely in ‘miss’ mode. Neither one made it to the 5th to register a decision. There were 7 home runs in this game. Doumit blasted two (and almost had a third), making it known he’s back from injury. Garrett freaking Jones hit ANOTHER one. That makes 9 already. I wonder how much longer he can keep this up? An interesting stat, though: all 9 home runs have been solo jacks. A testament to the horrible OBP for the Pirates. The biggest homer of the day, however, belonged to Brandon Moss. His dinger in the bottom of the 9th untied the score and gave us our first series win against Milwaukee since I believe the Taft administration.
This is definitely turning into a bit of a rivalry. I have no idea why, but any team that gets our anger up enough to hit 5 homers in a game is okay by me. Don’t look now, but the Pirates haven’t lost a series since before the All-Star break (last week, I know, but I’m grasping at straws here). We’re heading out to Phoenix tomorrow to start another series on the road this time. Let hope we can keep this going.