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.”