Hanrahan fans Pujols


How ’bout some love for reliever Joel Hanrahan?

The right-hander got the call in the eighth inning tonight, with the Pirates clinging to a 1-0 lead. He made a little jam for himself — against the top of the Cardinals’ lineup — but escaped.

Matt Holliday, who did not start due to a sore groin, legged out a broken-bat, infield single. With two outs, Ryan Ludwick was hit by a pitch. That brought up Albert Pujols … who then struck out swinging.

“Just doing my job,” Hanrahan said with a shrug. “Anytime you’re facing the game’s best hitter, especially with the game on the line, it’s a tight situation. But I had confidence I could get him out. It was fun.”

Hanrahan hasn’t allowed a run in his past three outings, and has struck out four of the past eight batters he’s faced.

Against Pujols, Hanrahan started with a slider, the fired a low fastball. With a 1-1 count, catcher Jason Jaramillo called for another fastball.

“I did a no-look pitch — I didn’t look at the runners — and I think that might have messed up (Pujols’) timing a little bit,” Hanrahan said. “It was a good pitch, well-located.”

Ahead in the count 1-2, Hanrahan came back with another slider.

“I threw it as hard as I could and made sure I didn’t leave it anywhere close to the plate,” he said. “I got him to swing through it. It was exciting. Fun.”

It must’ve been. Hanny pumped his¬†fist as he walked off the mound.

“I don’t show much emotion out there normally,” he said. “But that was kind of a big situation, so I let it out a little bit.”