Pirates silenced by other Detroit team, 3-1
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In case anyone in either city was paying attention, Pittsburgh and Detroit engaged in a baseball game last night, too, and this one also was won by the road team with the Tigers silencing the Pirates, 3-1, at PNC Park.
Rick Porcello, Detroit's promising, but raw 20-year-old rookie, held the Pirates to a run and six hits over seven innings.
And that, as Pirates manager John Russell made quite clear, was not good enough.
"I don't want to take any credit away from the other pitcher, but we've faced a lot of guys who seem to get well against us," Russell said. "At some point, we've got to swing the bats better."
Russell seldom has criticized his feast-or-famine offense, in large part because the Pirates have found a way, repeatedly, to beat some of Major League Baseball's elite pitchers. But, at the same time, they have been beaten by some hardly in those ranks and, of late, have not scored more than three runs in any of their past four games.
Porcello was 6-4 with a 3.98 ERA entering this one but, more relevant here, hardly showed dominant stuff beyond an effective sinker.
• Game: Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
• TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7).
• Pitching: LHP Zach Duke (6-4, 3.07) vs. RHP Armando Galarraga (3-6, 5.19).
• Key matchup: Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, familiar with Duke from his time with Florida, is 5 for 9 with four doubles and an RBI.
• Of note: Thirteen former World Series champions -- including Bill Mazeroski, Chuck Tanner, John Candelaria, Al Oliver and Manny Sanguillen -- will be recognized in a pregame ceremony as part of the weekend's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Pirates beating the Tigers for their first title.
"He did OK, jammed us a lot with that sinker," Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez said. "But, really, it's up to us to swing the bats better than that. As a team, it's no secret that we've been really inconsistent offensively, either scoring a bunch of runs or none at all, and that's not acceptable. That begins with me. I need to do better."
Sanchez went 1 for 4 with his team's lone RBI.
"In my case, I really felt like I got myself out more than anything," right fielder Brandon Moss said after another 0-for-4 day dropped his average to .243.
Otherwise, the outcome went by the rest of the Pirates' rather tired formula: Get a quality start, do little with it, and lose.
Ian Snell also lasted seven innings, giving up two runs, but he fell to 1-7 -- tied with four other pitchers for most in the majors -- despite a second consecutive sound start.
"I thought Ian threw the ball well, but we can't score," Russell said. "It would be nice to get some runs for him."
"I felt like my command was a little better and was keeping the ball down," Snell said. "God forbid their pitcher ..."
Well, there was that.
Snell found a familiar lapse in falling behind Detroit, 2-0.
On April 29, Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo homered off Snell in the Brewers' 1-0 victory.
On May 26, Chicago's Sean Marshall drove in the decisive run in the Cubs' 6-1 victory.
And Porcello, who never had swung a bat in the majors before last night, hooked a two-out RBI single into left in the second, another two-out RBI single into right in the sixth. The latter came after a 2-0 count.
Anything to the pitcher thing?
"Nope," Snell replied to that question. "Just one of those things."
Snell took issue with the Pirates intentionally walking .287-hitting shortstop Ramon Santiago to get to Porcello in the second instance. Immediately upon returning to the dugout after that inning, he slammed his fist into a wall.
"I was a little upset that we walked the guy to get to the pitcher," Snell said. "I didn't see any reason to do that, but ... oh, well, then, he got a hit. Karma."
The Pirates finally poked through Porcello for a run in the sixth to pull within 2-1: Nyjer Morgan put down a bunt single, stole second and came around on Sanchez's RBI double.
John Grabow's first pitch in relief of Snell proved to be a solo home run by Brandon Inge in the eighth that put Detroit up, 3-1.
The paid crowd of 18,369 seemed far more interested in the Penguins' game in Detroit, judging by the loud roars that twice interrupted play when Max Talbot scored the first two goals.
"It's a great thing for the city, great for all the fans," Russell said. "I know all the people coming here are cheering when the Pens score, and we're interested, too. A lot of our players go to the games. I go, and I enjoy it. It's special for that team, because you don't see teams going to the Stanley Cup final in back-to-back years. It's a tremendous achievement, and we're all proud."
First Published June 13, 2009 12:00 am