I did not see that coming. The Pirates finally made it past the fifth inning while keeping the game interesting. But of course they couldn't hold their 2-1 lead, giving up a solo HR in the sixth and eighth innings, which put the Bucs down 3-2 heading into the ninth inning against Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader. But the Pirates crushed Hoffman, who is over the hill at this point in his career.
I'm not all that surprised by the Pirates late-innings theatrics. This team, as terrible as they've been in the past ten days, has shown a propensity for not going down easy (that is, unless it's the third inning and they are already down six runs). That and a combination of luck have led to their stellar record in close games (+/- 3 runs).
I don't want to act too excited, but this was a huge win for the Bucs. It snaps a seven game skid, but more importantly, it snaps a 22-game losing streak at Miller Park in Milwaukee. I still wouldn't say the Pirates broke out by any means (the early season plate patience is still no where to be found), but they've been squaring up the ball a whole lot more of late, which should eventually lead to more runs. Just a few more notes:
Jeff Karstens isn't anything special, but he threw strikes for the most part, and was able to strand runners, which you can either chalk up to making a good pitch when he needed to and also a little bit of luck (which the Pirates have been lacking of late). I wouldn't expect that type of quality start from Jeff every time he takes the mound (especially given the big three numbers; 1 HR, 4 K, 4BB), but with the way the Pirates pitching has been of late, I'll take it.
Andy LaRoche is on an absolute tear right now, but most of it is due to luck. You just simply cannot sustain his LD% (42.4%!), and he's sneaking a lot of ground balls in between fielders. But he's squaring up a ton of balls while avoiding his major vice, pop-ups. He's gotta start hitting for power, but I'll take the base hits for now.
I make no bones on how I've soured on Ryan Doumit, but I would love to be proven wrong and for him to absolutely rip the cover off the ball. As long as he is staying back and driving the ball to the opposite field, I'll always enjoy watching him hit. But when he rolls over the ball continually and grounds out to first/second... nothing gets me as riled up as when Doumit does that.
There's probably more I can say, but I don't wanna pass too much judgment on just one game. Let's just enjoy this one for as long as we can, which is probably only about 12 hours, as the Bucs play a business man's special against the Brewers at 1 pm tomorrow. So if you're unemployed like me, enjoy!