Pirates Notebook: 1979 players applaud Penguins

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Somehow, the Pirates became infused with the Penguins' Stanley Cup triumph, with mentions during the television broadcast and other national outlets that no team in any major professional sport had won a championship Game 7 on the road since they beat the Baltimore Orioles, Oct. 17, 1979.

In the process, they left the 53,733 at old Memorial Stadium just as silent as those in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena was Friday night.

In between, 18 other teams failed at what those Pirates and these Penguins achieved.

How did they do it?

"You just go out there and play," pitcher John Candelaria said last night at PNC Park, joining 12 other alumni for a pregame ceremony commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Pirates' first title. "We didn't worry that we were down, 3-1, in the series, or where we were. You just go out and play, the same way those young kids for the Penguins did: They left everything out on the ice. That's all you can do in that situation."

Why could no one else do it for three decades?

"I don't know, but I'm glad it was a Pittsburgh team that did it this time, too."

Reliever Grant Jackson earned the victory that night in Baltimore with perfect relief.

"As much as we travel, with spring training, 162 games and playoffs every year, it shouldn't have made any difference where we played that game. And it didn't," Jackson said. "When you have as good a team as we had, we were going to get you sooner or later, here or there. We had a lot of confidence in each other. We were family, as they say, and we did it together, just like the Penguins did. I'm so happy for them and for the city."

Morton pushed back?

Charlie Morton might not make his scheduled start Tuesday in Minneapolis, but he probably would not be pushed back far. His strained hamstring is progressing well, including light throwing and running yesterday.

Most likely is that Paul Maholm would be bumped forward a day, Morton pushed back a day. The team is off tomorrow, so all pitchers would be on usual rest.

Moss hits dumps again

Manager John Russell kept Brandon Moss out of the lineup last night and plans to keep it that way today, presenting a chance "for Brandon to regroup a bit," Russell said. "He's really struggling right now."

Moss is an 0-for-15 slump.

"He's getting good pitches to hit, but he's fighting himself," Russell continued. "He needs to relax, the way he was a little while ago when he started driving the ball."

Buried treasure

• The New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals have scheduled workouts with elite Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano for the coming week. The Pirates remain among the interested.

• With Detroit left-hander Dontrelle Willis going tomorrow, look for Craig Monroe to get the start in right, Robinzon Diaz behind the plate. It would be just Diaz's second start this month, although Russell is adamant he has not designated a starter or backup in Ryan Doumit's absence.

• Starter Phil Dumatrait, out all season while slowly recovering from shoulder surgery, will rekate the mound in Bradenton, Fla., in the next few days week after making some progress.


Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog .


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