How many pitchers should it take to hold down a 1-0 win? The answer for the Pirates tonight was six (Jeff Karstens, Chris Resop, Tony Watson, Tim Wood, Jose Veras, and Joel Hanrahan). Clint Hurdle didn’t have much of a choice in that, either; he pulled Karstens with a runner on first and two outs in the seventh after 88 pitches and a tweaked knee earlier in the inning. Karstens usually turns into a pumpkin somewhere between 75 and 90 pitches and Hurdle’s done a good job recently of getting him out of games before that happens. Bringing Chris Resop in in the seventh was the right move; besides a few bad outings Resop’s been excellent this year and I’d rather have the guy with at least some experience on the mound with the runner on base. You could question the decision to pull Resop in the eighth, but bringing Tony Watson in for a lefty makes sense, as did going to Tim Wood to try and get the last two outs. When Wood got into trouble, Hurdle was right to yank him. With Joel Hanrahan having worked last night, he didn’t want to go to his closer for a five out save, so he put Jose Veras out there to somehow get two flyouts without walking anyone. The ninth with Hanrahan was six pitches and done; another notch in his “Holy crap this guy is good” belt.
Honestly, the fact that the Pirates just won a 1-0 game with six pitchers is still kind of sinking in for me. Bud Norris was great for the Astros tonight and after Neil Walker and Garrett Jones combined to give the Pirates a run in the second, the Bucs didn’t threaten until after he came out. They had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the eighth and ninth, but couldn’t get either run in. Luckily, they didn’t need the insurance tonight.