PITTSBURGH - APRIL 26: Charlie Morton #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the game on April 26, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Charlie Morton had a nice start tonight, striking out six batters and allowing one run in six innings while continuing to pile up ground-ball outs. The Pirates took a 2-1 lead into the seventh thanks to a long solo homer to center by Garrett Jones in the second and an RBI single by Lyle Overbay in the sixth.
It's a shame the bullpen had to take the loss in this one, because they actually pitched pretty well. Chris Resop relieved Morton with two men on and no outs in the seventh and got two foul outs and a strikeout, the last on an epic at-bat against Mike Fontenot that would have ended earlier if the ump hadn't missed a called strike three. Then Evan Meek came on and ... well, okay, he allowed the first two batters to reach, and had to be replaced by Joe Beimel. Beimel and Jose Veras then got three straight batters, only allowing a run on a sacrifice fly. Veras was then filthy in the ninth, striking out the side with some excellent breaking balls. (Clint Hurdle's confidence in Meek doesn't appear to be particularly high right now - don't be surprised to see Resop and Veras start moving up the leverage ladder while Meek moves down.)
The game went into extra innings, and the 10th was bizarre - Nate Schierholtz doubled to start the inning when Matt Diaz charged in too aggressively and missed the ball. Then Darren Ford tried to bunt the runner over, but Lyle Overbay made a great play to get to the ball and throw Schierholtz out at third. Unfortunately, Overbay missed a slightly errant throw by Hanrahan to get Ford on a pickoff attempt, and Ford went all the way around to third. Freddy Sanchez then grounded out to second, and Ford held still until Neil Walker threw to first, at which point he took off. Walker's throw was a bit soft, and Ford beat the throw home. Chalk that last run up to some awful defensive play, and to Ford being really, really fast.
In the meantime, though, the Pirates' offense did nothing. Ronny Cedeno even came to a stop while running from home to first because he believed the ball he had just hit was foul. He was wrong. The Bucs managed only five hits on the night. Oh yeah, and Pedro Alvarez tried to sacrifice bunt in the seventh, when the Pirates were trying to get an insurance run. He popped it up. Awesome.