Pirates Notebook: Red-hot McLouth's hit streak at 12
Share with others:
Nate McLouth continued to peel off that label stuck on him a couple of years ago that he would be no more than a fourth or fifth outfielder in the major leagues.
The Pirates' regular center fielder had a hit, two walks and two runs scored in the team's 9-1 drenching of Cincinnati yesterday.
The hit, a double in the sixth inning, was McLouth's 22nd of the season and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games. He also has scored 10 runs and driven in 11.
INDIANAPOLIS (8-3) beat Norfolk, 2-1, on an RBI single by DH Kevin Thompson (.303) in the bottom of the ninth inning. RHP Bryan Bullington (0-1, 3.71) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked none. RF Steve Pearce (.244) went 2 for 3 with a walk. 3B Neil Walker (.211) hit his second home run and went 1 for 4. CF Andrew McCutchen (.220) went 1 for 4. 1B Craig Wilson (.105) went 0 for 3.
ALTOONA (3-7) lost at Reading, 7-3. LHP Kyle Bloom (0-2, 10.32) allowed two runs and two hits in three innings. RHP Ronald Belisario (9.45) allowed three runs in two innings of relief. 1B Jason Delaney (.455) hit his second home run and went 3 for 3 with a walk. CF James Boone (.206) hit his first home run and went 1 for 2 with two walks.
LYNCHBURG (4-5) beat Wilmington, 14-2. LHP Danny Moskos (1-0. 3.60) picked up his first professional victory, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked one. 1B Kent Sakomoto (.378) went 4 for 5 with three doubles and five RBIs.
HICKORY (7-4) lost at Kannapolis, 5-3. RHP Rafael Delossantos (1-0, 0.82) allowed four hits and no runs in six innings. He struck out two and walked one. SS Jose De Los Santos went 2 for 4 with a run and stolen base.
"He has the ability to drive in runs," manager John Russell said. "He has some power. He gives you good at-bats. I think he has the kind of approach that he can hit a lot of places in the lineup. He's a tough out. He works the count. It's a very versatile bat."
"He's certainly off to a great start," general manager Neal Huntington said. "He swings at strikes and gives himself a chance to compete every at-bat."
Adam LaRoche was initially in the Pirates' lineup yesterday but was scratched when the chilly day turned wet, too. The first baseman is fighting a cold and congestion.
LaRoche might feel better by tonight. First, the weather in Los Angeles will be warmer and less rainy than it was in Pittsburgh yesterday. Second, lifetime in Dodger Stadium, LaRoche has five home runs and 14 RBIs in only 39 at-bats.
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez also didn't start, again partially because of the weather conditions. The Pirates are being cautious with Sanchez, who has been bothered by a sore right shoulder.
"We're not just going to continue to run him out there every day," Russell said. "It gives him time to let his shoulder calm down a little bit. Each day he's feeling a little better. It's a cold day. And it's a day game after a night game."
Left-handed batting Doug Mientkiewicz, who was 1 for 3 against Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo Saturday night, is 6 for 9 lifetime against the right-hander.
"Bronson's faced a lot better hitters than me," Mientkiewicz said. "I'm sure he's not [worried] when I come to the plate. I've hit two balls hard off him. There are a couple more off the end of the bat down the third base line, a couple of ground balls through holes -- on [Astroturf]."
Mientkiewicz also has enjoyed success against two other top right-handed pitchers. Lifetime against Jake Peavy, he's 4 for 4, including a double and home run. Against Roy Oswalt, he's 4 for 6.
The Pirates tonight begin a three-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, whose prime free-agent acquisition in the offseason -- center fielder Andruw Jones -- is struggling big-time.
Through last night, Jones, who in December signed a two-year deal worth $36.2 million, was 4 for 40 with no home runs and one RBI.
"He looks good in the batting cage at 4:30, but you've got to be able to do it at 7:30," manager Joe Torre told MLB.com.
Perhaps Jones, a former Atlanta Braves player, is pressing a bit in his first month with his new team and has little confidence.
"When you're not hitting," Torre said, "you walk up there from the on-deck circle and in your mind it's 0-and-2 already."
Chris Duffy, who had surgery on his left shoulder Aug. 31, is going through an erratic rehabilitation in extended spring training in Bradenton, Fla.
He'll be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery, in Los Angeles tomorrow.
"Chris has good days, then a bad day," Huntington said. "It has taken us a little bit longer than anticipated [to get Duffy ready to play]. We want to make sure his shoulder is structurally sound."
The Pirates had hoped to have Duffy ready for Class AAA Indianapolis by the start of the Indians' season April 3.
Class AA Altoona yesterday placed second baseman Shelby Ford on the disabled list because he has a hip flexor.
Ford, the Pirates' third-round pick in the 2006 draft, missed five consecutive games because of his hip last week. He did play Friday and had two hits but did not play Saturday.
Infielder Victor Alvarez, the Pirates' 33rd-round pick in that 2006 draft, was promoted to Altoona from low Class A Hickory to take Ford's spot on the active roster.
First Published April 14, 2008 12:00 am