"That was fun," Nate McLouth said, smiling wide. "A lot of fun."
Let us count 10 ways in which the Pirates' 10-run seventh inning, the sledgehammer blow in an 11-4 blasting of the Colorado Rockies yesterday at PNC Park, was remarkable:
• It was the franchise's first since Aug. 20, 2003, at St. Louis.
• It was two shy of the record 12, achieved twice, in 1892 and 1894.
• The Pirates are the first National League team to have a 10-run inning this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Three American League teams have done it, led by the Cleveland Indians' unforgettable 14 at the new Yankee Stadium April 18.
• Game: Pirates vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
• TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7)
• Pitching: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 3.77) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (season debut)
• Key matchup: Detwiler vs. serious jitters. He will be recalled today from Class AA Harrisburg because Washington played a doubleheader Saturday. A first-round draft pick two years ago who pitched one major league inning in 2007, Detwiler was 0-3 for the Senators with a 2.96 ERA.
• Of note: The Nationals have lost seven of their past eight despite scoring 50 runs, or 6.25 per game.
• The Pirates' first 11 batters did not make an out. Only the Boston Red Sox have topped that this year, with their first 12 not making an out in a 12-run inning May 7 against Cleveland.
• Nine runs scored before there was an out.
• The total hits were nine, plus two walks and two Colorado errors, and three of the hits were doubles.
• Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske batted twice and reached on a walk and single.
• McLouth and Delwyn Young each also went 2 for 2.
• Colorado needed four relievers and 45 pitches to get three outs.
• Zach Duke, who pitched seven solid innings, exited with a 4-1 deficit but emerged an easy winner.
"Absolutely amazing," outfielder Brandon Moss said. "And I'll tell you what: It's contagious. You see one guy go up there smoking the ball in front of you, and you think you're going to do it, too."
And so the Pirates did, to the delight of 14,545 who seldom had a chance to sit that inning.
First, a rewind ...
In the third, McLouth's seventh home run -- he crushed Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez's slow curve onto the walkway beyond right-center field -- was his second in as many days and brought a 1-0 lead.
But the Rockies tagged Duke for four runs in an erratic fourth that included Moss missing a cutoff throw to the infield and catcher Robinzon Diaz, on the same ugly sequence, throwing the ball back to the outfield.
Duke allowed only two hits outside of that inning but still left an apparent loser: The offense had done little in Jimenez's six innings despite five hits and three walks, and no rally was in sight.
"If you stick around long enough, good things happen," Duke said. "I felt like I needed to hold them to those four."
Trailing, 4-1, entering the seventh, the Pirates broke loose, to say the least ...
Fresh reliever Matt Daley walked Hinske, Young singled and Freddy Sanchez snapped an 0-for-13 slump with an RBI double.
"That's the start," Moss said.
Alan Embree relieved, and McLouth drilled his two-strike fastball into center to tie the score, 4-4. McLouth took second on an errant throw by center fielder Ryan Spilborghs, who was about to make another error on the next batter: Adam LaRoche skied a ball to the North Side notch, and Spilborghs got there in time but let it clang off his glove.
McLouth scored, and the Pirates had the lead.
"When that happened, Zach was the happiest guy in our dugout, which I'm going to get on him for," McLouth said.
Manuel Corpas relieved, and Diaz put down a bunt single for runners at the corners. Moss walked, and Andy LaRoche delivered the dagger with a two-run double that made it 7-4.
Jack Wilson, Hinske and Young followed with rapid-fire RBI singles before Hinske was called out hustling to third -- incorrectly, as replays showed, by umpire Angel Hernandez -- for the first out.
After a Sanchez popup, McLouth doubled Young home, his 3-for-5 day raising his average to .294.
"I'm getting there," McLouth said. "I was a little pull-happy early in the season, but I feel pretty decent right now."
Finally, Adam LaRoche struck out.
"It just seemed like everything fell together at once," Pirates manager John Russell said. "It's kind of what we needed. We had a lot of opportunities before that."
"You don't see 10s on the board too often," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "Everything just broke loose."
The Pirates begin a 10-game road trip today in Washington.