Pirates Notebook: Gorzelanny begins rebound
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NEW YORK -- Perhaps lost in the Pirates' 13-1 rout of the New York Mets yesterday was that Tom Gorzelanny, to some extent, was able to find himself.
Sure, he had five walks in as many innings, maintaining precisely his unfortunate season ratio.
But he did as planned in attacking one of the National League's most patient lineups, getting ahead of nine of his 21 batters, striking out four and, most important, holding them scoreless on one hit. This after walking seven St. Louis Cardinals in his previous outing.
"It got a little better," Gorzelanny said of his command. "I still had five walks, so I need to do better. But I felt more confident, more aggressive than I had been."
He provided a slight scare with two outs in the fifth, when he leaned forward after a pitch to David Wright and grabbed his lower back in a recurrence of some minor pain he experienced against the Cincinnati Reds April 13. But, just as he finished that game, he stayed in this one and retired Wright to qualify for the victory.
INDIANAPOLIS (13-14) lost to Columbus, 6-4. RHP Ty Taubenheim (2-4, 7.36) allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three, walked three and hit a batter. RHP Marino Salas (0.51) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. CF Andrew McCutchen (.279) went 2 for 5 with a steal. 3B Neil Walker (.200) went 0 for 2 with two sacrifices and an RBI. RF Steve Pearce (.238) went 0 for 2.
ALTOONA (10-15) lost to Harrisburg, 6-2. RHP Josh Hill (2-2, 3.33) allowed four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. RHP Ronald Belisario (11.12) allowed a run in two innings of relief. 1B Jason Delaney (.321) and CF James Boone (.286) each went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
LYNCHBURG (11-15) won at Myrtle Beach, 3-2. LHP Tony Watson (2-3, 3.07) allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. 3B Jim Negrych (.400) went 2 for 3 with an RBI.
HICKORY (14-13) lost at Savannah, 4-2. RHP Brad Clapp (0-1, 0.00) allowed three unearned runs and six hits in five innings. LF Erik Huber (.287) hit his fourth home run and went 1 for 4.
Manager John Russell said Gorzelanny would have been pulled after that inning, anyway, because of his pitch count of 84. And he said Gorzelanny is expected to make his next start Tuesday.
"He should be fine," Russell said. "We'll just have to monitor it the next few days. There's no pain in his legs or anywhere else, nothing in terms of nerves. It's just muscles."
"The back just tightened a little bit," Gorzelanny said. "It just happened on that one pitch. It's something I'm going to have to deal with, but I'll be fine."
Chris Gomez started at shortstop for a second consecutive game, and he might be doing that quite a bit until Jack Wilson returns next week.
The Pirates' concern about Gomez had been his diminishing range at age 36. But that, to hear Russell tell it, will be sacrificed in favor of making the routine play, something Brian Bixler and Luis Rivas were not doing.
"He's going to catch the ball," Russell said of Gomez. "Does he have Jack Wilson range? No, probably not at this point. But he makes the plays that need to be made, and I think he can have a calming effect on the infield."
• Wilson's first step toward beginning a minor-league stint tomorrow with Class AA Altoona will be some work as a designated hitter today in extended spring training.
• Closer Matt Capps was healthier and available after a stomach virus kept him from pitching in the 11-inning loss Tuesday.
• Doug Mientkiewicz took Xavier Nady's place in right field in the seventh, his first appearance at the position for the Pirates.
• John Van Benschoten, after pitching two innings of relief and allowing one run, was allowed to bat for himself even though he would come out for the eighth. And how did the former NCAA home run champion approach it? "Oh, I was going for it," he said. Alas, he grounded out to third.
• The start of the game was delayed 40 minutes by a nearby water-main break that cut off the water supply to the stadium and prevented the grounds crew from watering the pitcher's mound.
First Published May 1, 2008 12:00 am