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Indians 5, Pirates 4: Bucs Comeback Falls Short

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Until the ninth inning, the Pirates had done practically nothing in this game, as yet another no-name starter, David Huff, racked up scoreless inning after scoreless inning. The Bucs hit a number of deep fly balls, and Huff benefited greatly from the outfield defense behind him, but almost scoring off a struggling, inexperienced pitcher like David Huff surely is nothing to be too proud of.

After a very weak, walk-filled start by Ian Snell and some decent mop-up work by the Pirates' bullpen, the Bucs trailed 5-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Adam LaRoche led off with a massive homer off Matt Herges, and then the Pirates rode a series of singles, doubles and walks--Jack Wilson and Brandon Moss had RBI doubles, and Andrew McCutchen had an RBI single and a stolen base. Finally, the bases were loaded with two outs and a score of 5-4, and Kerry Wood had entered the game. Wood had obvious trouble finding the strike zone, and I hoped that LaRoche, who had ended up coming to bat for the second time that inning, might be able to force Wood to walk in the winning run, but instead LaRoche flied out to right to end the game.

There was one thing in this game that I'd never seen before. With Grady Sizemore on first in the first inning, the Pirates used an extreme defensive shift on Victor Martinez, who was batting left-handed. The Bucs had Freddy Sanchez move toward first base so that Adam LaRoche could cover the bag, then had Andy LaRoche move to where Sanchez would normally be. Jack Wilson, meanwhile, stood about where he usually does. So Andy LaRoche was actually between Sanchez and Wilson, basically positioned as a second baseman. Martinez grounded out to firstand Sizemore was safe at second, but neither Sizemore nor the Pirates' defenders (I assume this would have been Snell's responsibility) seemed to realize that no one was covering third. So there was a bizarre situation in which pretty much everyone in the infield on both teams ended up looking ridiculous. This is what happens when two last-place teams play each other, I suppose.

Indians vs Pirates boxscore