MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 31: Jeff Karstens #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks up to the sky after gettting pulled from the game during the 1st inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 31, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
I do this "Charged For The Playoffs" series to get paid, but I've always had to take it with a hint of irony, because, as exciting as this season continues to be, I've never been that optimistic about the Pirates' chances of making the playoffs, and when there's a game like this, well ... So before we go on, just allow me to tell you to buy a Droid Razr Maxx, because they help pay the bills. Etc.
So. Jeff Karstens. Karstens left his last start with a groin injury, and faced only six batters this time before departing with a hip flexor strain. Unfortunately, five of those batters got hits, and one of them, Corey Hart, hit a two-run homer, and by the time Karstens left, the Pirates were down 4-0. The pitch to Hart, in particular, was maybe the worst pitch I've seen in all of Major League Baseball this year, a 67-MPH breaking ball that hung right down the middle. Karstens might as well have been Hart's Home Run Derby pitcher. The Pirates can really use a healthy Karstens if they want to make any noise down the stretch, but at this point, it looks like they'll need to make other plans.
Reliever Kyle McPherson, fresh off a callup from Indianapolis, gave up a run in the second on a passed ball, putting the Pirates down 5-0. The Pirates finally got on the board in the fourth on Garrett Jones' solo homer, then scored again in the seventh when Gaby Sanchez doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch, and came home on a groundout. Meanwhile, Kevin Correia pitched four scoreless innings from the third to the sixth.
The Pirates never got close, though, as the Brewers padded their lead in the eighth by going nuts against Hisanori Takahashi. Takahashi threw an 86-MPH fastball down the middle to Aramis Ramirez with one on and one out, and unsurprisingly, Ramirez blasted it to center. The Brewers tacked on two more against Takahashi later in the inning.
Alex Presley got an RBI single in the ninth to cut the lead to 9-3.