What a weird game. When Garrett Jones and Chris Snyder hit two-run homers in the first inning, I thought there was a chance the Pirates were going to pile up the runs against Aaron Harang. Harang had trouble with his control all night and he left some balls up in the zone, but the Pirates didn’t score again for the rest of the night.
Of course, that seemed to be fine so long as James McDonald was cruising. McDonald was mixing his curve and changeup in nicely with some real heat and looked as much like 2010 James McDonald as he has in any start in 2011. Then he served up a homer to Jorge Cantu, which is exactly what he’s struggled with this year. His final line was still as good as any of his starts this year (six innings, two runs, five hits, five strikeouts, one walk), so hopefully this is progress for him.
From there, things got crazy. In the eighth inning, Ronny Cedeno non-chalanted a grounder by trying to barehand it and that lead to a Padres run, the tying run on second, and the go-ahead run on first before Chris Resop got a ground out. Then Lyle Overbay drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth and Clint Hurdle lost his mind. First he tried to have Chris Snyder bunt him over, THEN he decided to try a hit and run with the swing-and-miss-prone Snyder at the plate and the turtle-esque Overbay on first. That went about how you’d expect (Snyder swung and missed, Overbay got thrown out at second). That seemed bad, but then Snyder drew a walk, Pedro Alvarez drew a walk, and Ronny Cedeno drew a walk (that’s four) to load the bases up. Aaand the Pirates managed to not score. And then the Padres got the tying run to third base in the bottom of the inning before Joel Hanrahan finally closed the door on them.
The Pirates tried to give this game away, but for some reason the Padres didn’t want it. And now the Pirates are on a two-game winning streak.