Andy LaRoche went yard with a man on in the first to make it 2-0, Pearce had an rbi single to make it 3-0, and the game ended with a fabulous diving catch on a line drive to Pearce at 1B in the 9th. Team USA plays the Netherlands at 5 AM Saturday morning and you can watch it live or on-demand.
Play the video above to see about an 8 minute recap of Friday’s win. And no, I didn’t include the comments about clothing optional beaches, but I did include the napping Korean manager.
L to R – Bullington, Osoria, Sanchez, Perez, Maldanado, JVB, Davidson, Youman, Morgan, Pearce
A special thanks to Pirates Director of Media Relations Jim Trdinich for identifying the rookies and providing the following background information:
"This is at least the 10th consecutive year for this ritual. The veterans take the rookies clothes after the final game of a series on the final road trip and replace them with costumes. The rookies (or young players) must wear the clothes out of the clubhouse to the bus, on the charter to the next city and to the team hotel.
Sometimes we go through the airport (we didn’t this year). This year, the bus dropped them off about 5 blocks from the team hotel in Chicago and they had to walk down Michigan Avenue at 10:00 that night.
All in good fun."
The stage had been set perfectly for the Pirates to win just their second game in their last eight played when Matt Capps took the mound in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and the Bucs ahead 3-2, and struck out Terrmel Sledge stranding a man at third.
The ninth started pretty routine as Mike Cameron flied out and Adrian Gonzalez hit a 3-1 heater to deep left that Nate McLouth camped under, he jumped, and..
.. the ball whizzed by his glove and off the base of the wall.
Instead of a routine sure out, Gonzalez had a double. Why McLouth even jumped is anyone’s guess (although Pirate fans know well he some kind of an affliction for outfield walls) as he stood a good five feet in front of the wall and had plenty of time to adjust his position to the flight of the ball.
So with a man at second and one out, Khailil Greene flied out to center for the second out, Capps walked Kevin Kouzmanoff to put men at first and second, and up to the plate came Pirate killer Scott Hairston who, by the way, had never faced Capps before.
As Hairston approached the batters box, Jim Colborn headed to the mound to talk to Capps obviously aware of two facts: one, Hairston’s career 1.021 OPS against the Pirates was better than any other team in baseball he had faced; and two, Capp’s career September ERA was over 4. After settling on a plan of action, Colborn left the mound.
Capps rared back and threw a first pitch fastball right down the heart of the plate Hairston just watched float by for strike one. The second pitch was a slider and the video below shows you where that pitch ended up:
For the third time in 2007 when Capps came out early in the 8th, he would walk off the mound with a loss, and none as disheartening as this one.
As the Pirates left the field they looked like little puppy dogs who had been spanked for the first time – shocked and in disbelief. As Capps quickly walked off the mound at Petco dragging his new career September 5.14 ERA behind him, the field erupted into chaos as the Padres and their fans celebrated Hairston’s walk-off home run.
Nate McLouth looked the worse of the group as he went from an ultra high knowing he had tied the game in the third inning with his double and then lost the game with his poor fielding, all in six quick innings.
This was Matt Capps first appearance at Petco and the first time ever Capps had allowed an earned run to the Padres. Capps had thrown just 55 pitches in all of September and had last pitched September 14th.
The loss was eerily similar to Capps loss against the Dodgers June 24th when the Pirates had tied the game 3-3 in the top of the ninth only to see Capps blow it in the bottom with a Aybar walk-off single.
Before entering Wednesday’s game, Padres batters had a team .259/.310/.407 career line against Capps, the fourth highest against Capps behind the Reds, Cubs, and Marlins (more than 10 at bats).
Freddy Sanchez made several outstanding plays in this game behind Ian Snell. In the 2cd Sanchez did a split to receive the relay from Izturis an Chris Young’s sac bunt double play, and in the 4th he ranged far to his left and snared a Gonzalez grounder.
Snell’s slider was polished and he pitched a good game as he has his last few outings. He deserved the win.
Nyjer Morgan’s speed in center has played a significant factor in this series as he has been running surprisingly good routes for a rookie and making some very tough plays look easy. In the 5th he threw out Hairston attempting to stretch a single into a double by covering the ball fast and a good throw to the bag. Hairston would have been safe but his cleats grabbed the ground in his slide and he missed the bag. Still, it was Morgan’s hustle that made the play close.
Also in the 5th, Morgan stole second despite a pitch-out, and then Morgan and McLouth executed a perfect double steal putting them at second and third with one out. However, Sanchez ground out to short with the infield in and Morgan held (Cox wanted him to go but he would have been dead meat), and LaRoche popped out to the catcher in foul territory to end the threat.
Since a few readers have asked, one of the Pirates’ rumor blogs who seem to report a lot more fiction than facts, The Buzz on the Burgh, among many other things said:
"Sources have told the Buzzontheburgh, the Pirates were denied permission to speak to Marlins VP of Personnel Dan Jennings."
What is ironic about this post is the fact the Marlins made it known to all MLB clubs back in August they would not allow any of their executives to be interviewed since they are all under contract until 2010. So where this blog got its information that Coonelly would even pick up the phone and call the Marlins against their wishes is beyond me. The probability of that is zilch.
Besides, you have to assume the guy the Pirates would want to interview out of the Marlins stable would most likely be Mike Hill, not Dan Jennings.
The Pirates have gone into slow motion with their GM search after Robert Nutting made quick order of hiring his CEO. From the speculation we are hearing, the Pirates haven’t even completed their first round of talks yet so that means an expected announcement probably won’t be made until well into next week at the earliest.
None of the additional candidates mentioned in the press warrants discussion other than those we’ve already talked about. Logan White and Tony LaCava have to be the two top candidates with LaCava having the inside edge.
Since Wednesday’s game was played on talk like a Pirate day, Arrgghhhh!
Here is the pamphlet distributed to anyone interested in applying for the Pirates CEO/President position:
Well, it might as well be.
In some marriage circles, wearing a wedding band is a sign of commitment.
But as you can see from these photos, some of the married Pirates ownership group don’t always wear their rings.
(Note: McClatchy might have been engaged at the time of his photo, but I believe he was married then.)
Ogden Publications, owned by the Nutting family, explains to us in one of their magazines called Mother Earth News that:
"KEEPING a cow, like marriage, is a confining and responsible relationship not to be entered into lightly."
University of Alberta psychologist Dr. Harrell has stated:
"Past research suggests that the absence of a wedding ring in North American culture is indicative of a lack of emotional commitment to marriage. Our research shows that it may also be an indicator of a lack of a commitment to one’s family."
Aphrodite Women’s Health goes on to say:
"According to Dr Harrell, people who don’t wear wedding rings are more neglectful of children compared to those that wear them. His research goes on to say that attractive people who do not wear wedding rings are the most neglectful parents of all."
I won’t debate here whether Ogden and Robert Nutting meet Harrell’s definition of "attractive" – I’ll leave that to your imagination. And obviously, I haven’t a clue if any of these men are neglectful in their home lives.
But it is food for thought why another child in their family – the Pirates – have lost that "We Are Family" feeling since they have become involved in ownership.
I suppose we could say, as for a winning commitment for the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Click the Play button to hear part of the 6/24 broadcast
Trouble? Try clicking this link to download the media
For the hearing impaired:
Dave Littlefield was asked by a Pirate fan when he plans to resign and Littlefield answered him by saying the current offense is not up to par, the players are in the 26 – 30 year old range and should be performing better, and the Pirates will score more runs when they do.
The second caller asked Littlefield what advice he has for suffering fans and Littlefield responded by saying there are better days ahead, the Pirates won three of four series before they went on the last road trip, the players must perform better, the players are young and in a funk right now, and he feels strongly it will be better.
The third caller was Dave Littlefield’s agent (just kidding – it was a fan) who called to say he was tired of people ripping on Littlefield, he thinks Littlefield is doing a really good job, and to hang in there. Littlefield’s response was that winning games was the most important thing and that’s what they are going to try and do.
Pirates Board Member and Limited Partner Ogden Nutting: Chairman and Publisher of Ogden Newspapers
Pirates COB and Principal Owner Robert Nutting: President and CEO of Ogden Newspapers
Pirates Board Member and Limited Partner William Nutting: Vice President of Nutting-owned Ogden Newspapers
Pirates Board Member Duane Wittman: Chief Financial Officer of Nutting-owned Ogden Newspapers
Ogden Newspaper’s flagship paper: The Intelligencer
Talk about ultimate humilation – even Nutting’s own readership doesn’t believe in him.