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Braves 11, Pirates 1: Another Blowout, But...

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If there's anything to be grateful about here, it's that the Pirates have now played two blowouts in a row, allowing them to spread work around in their thin bullpen. I missed most of this one, but tuned in for the end of Craig Hansen's dreadful outing. Donald Veal was up next and only allowed one run compared to Hansen's four, but otherwise Veal was just as bad, walking four batters and generally looking like he didn't belong anywhere near the major leagues. 

Before them, Zach Duke got pasted for 12 hits and six runs in six innings, but... at least he didn't walk anyone? The offense, meanwhile, was quiet until a meaningless run came across in the ninth on an HBP by young Braves reliever James Parr. Before that, Javier Vazquez shut them down completely, with eight strikeouts in six shutout innings. The Pirates managed only one extra-base hit (a double by Freddy Sanchez) and one walk.

Oh well--the Pirates took two out of three, and they'll have a fresh 'pen for the series that starts tomorrow against the Marlins. What a difference a year makes--last season, four of the Bucs' first eight games went for extra innings, which created a huge problem because Rule 5 pick Evan Meek had to pitch in close games. This year the Pirates essentially have two Evan Meeks on the roster, but the Bucs have played in several blowouts, had one game postponed, and haven't had any extra-inning games, so there hasn't been a problem.