I guess after a four-game losing streak, it doesn’t matter if you take a game that should’ve been an easy win and turn it into a hard one, so long as you actually manage to win. The Pirates put four quick runs up in the first inning tonight, which was rather welcome after the team had failed to score in their previous 22 innings.
The Reds drew close on Alex Gonzalez’s three-run homer off of the foul pole in the fourth, but the Pirates got a break when Alex Rosales and Brandon Phillips combined to completely botch what should’ve been an inning-ending double play ball off of Andy LaRoche’s bat into two runs for the Pirates. Nyjer Morgan (beat out a double play ball, went from first to third on Ramon Hernandez’s laziness on a wild pitch, scored on a sac fly) added an eighth run and the Pirates very nearly needed them all when the Reds dinged Matt Capps for five hits and two runs in the ninth inning before Capps got himself together and struck out Gonzalez to close the game out.
I’m not sure why I felt the need to recap all the action from the game, but perhaps it’s to try and convey the feeling that I had for the entire nine innings that the Pirates were going to somehow find a way to blow the game. They very nearly did, and with the way Capps started the ninth inning I was half expecting Russell to get Jesse Chavez up in the bullpen. But they didn’t blow it, they got some timely early hits, they got a nice start from Ohlendorf, they took advantage of some mistakes by the Reds, and they ended the losing streak at four. That means it was a good game.