By South Side Rob
Just a Monday night contest in Pittsburgh. I worked and watched the game at the same time. The game went pretty fast for the first 7 innings. Gallardo pitched ok but the Brewers were playing short-handed without Braun and Bill Hall had went down with an injury to his hamstring in the 1st inning. The score was 3-1 Pittsburgh and I was ready to concede that the winning streak over the Pirates was going to end.
But then came the 8th inning.
Ryan Braun was in the dugout with a helmet on and a bat in his hand and I don’t think Pittsburgh even knew about it. We finally got Paul Maholm out of the game who effectively got ahead of hitters with a nice change of pace pitches. In comes a righty-specialist, then, a lefty-specialist to face Fielder which didn’t work when he lined a single to center. Their lefty John Grabow stays in to face Cameron who works a walk. With left-hander Chris Duffy on deck, the Pirates had nobody up in the bullpen. Grabow may have even worked around Cameron to get to Duffy.
Duffy is called back for Ryan Braun. The camera panned into the Pirate dugout and they looked stunned. Braun looked at the first two pitches for strikes, then, barely fouled off the next pitch before depositing a texas-league double down the right-field line to tie the game at 3. Then, Casey McGehee struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Pirates battled back to take the lead at 4-3 off Mark DiFelice who pitched well but the Pirate hitters just hit some good pitches.
9th inning and close Matt Capps comes in. He gets ahead of Jason Kendall 0-2 before Kendall smokes a single up the middle. Then, hitting for the pitcher, Craig Counsell hits the first pitch to right field for a single. Corey Hart tries to get a bunt down but Capps started to get wild and eventually walk Hart to load the bases with nobody out. J.J. Hardy picks out a Capps fastball and flies out to fairly deep center to tie the game and to have Counsell tag up and get to third.
Up comes Rickie Weeks. He battles Capps to a full count and with Hart attempting to steal 2nd, Rickie crushes a full-count sinker into the left-field seats for a 3-run blast to put the Brewers ahead for good at 7-4.
Hoffman comes in the 9th and closes the door. Brewers win. The streak over the Pirates is now at 16.
Fun game. I wish the Brewers could put up crooked numbers earlier than the 7th but lately, they have had a flair for the dramatic. Braun’s back must not be as bad as some thought. We still don’t know how serious Hall is injured. Chris Duffy and Mike Cameron both slammed hard into walls. It was wet and cold in Pittsburgh and early on, it looked like Cameron was going to come out of the game after slamming into the center field wall.
Now, on the post-game show, people are calling the show saying that Rickie Weeks should be our every-day 3rd hitter. Let the debate begin. I disagree with that thought but I do think that Ken Macha may try to keep Weeks in a run-producing part of the order instead of the leadoff hitter.
Any thoughts out there?