9 Down 72 to Go!
How can a 1 for 5 night actually improve a batting average and turn a players season around? When the one hit is a slump buster single that wins the game with two outs in the 16th.
Houston walked Jason Bay with two outs to load the bases in order to face the season long slumping Adam LaRoche who was 0 for 4 on the night going into the at bat. LaRoche promptly singled in Jack Wilson from third for the winning run in a game that should never have made it to extra innings.
LaRoche had 2 RBI in the game and drew a walk. He has now reached base in 14 of the 18 games he has played. Another good sign is the lack of strikeouts on the day for LaRoche. Pirate fans and teammates can only hope that single was truly a slump buster and LaRoche is coming out of his mega funk.
Possibly more encouraging was LaRoche's first RBI, a sacrifice fly to center driving in Jose Bautista in the 4th. Albers was attacking LaRoche down in the zone. With a two strike count, LaRoche was able to get a ball deep enough to score Bautista. A good throw could have had Bautista, but the throw was a lofty throw that took a bounce allowing Bautista to slide in before a tag. LaRoche's situational hitting was a key in getting the run home as well as agressive base running by Bautista.
Zach Duke had a very good outing going 7 innings allowing 1 earned run, 6 hits and 1 walk with a strikeout. Duke deserved a better fate than a no decision. This start was a far cry from his last two disastrous outings.
Salomon Torres had a freakish 9th inning where he allowed infield singles and the tying runs to score. Jim Tracy made the call for John Grabow to escape the inning after Torres could only muster a single out.
Jose Bautista extended his hitting streak to 12 games going 2 for 7 batting in the 3 hole.
Brad Eldred hit a home run to left center, yes left center, off Matt Albers in the 5th.
This game could be the one we look back on and say LaRoche turned it around in that 16th inning. We could just as easily wonder if that is the highlight of his season if he doesn't break out of his funk.
This is the type of game the Pirates needed to win. To allow a game to nearly slip away and then still find a way to win.
Anyone who attended Tuesdays sprint of a game, got their moneys worth with this marathon.