MILWAUKEE — Charlie Morton reached a lot of milestones this year. He earned a career-high 10 victories. He amassed 110 strikeouts, the first time in his career the right-hander’s reached triple digits. He made 29 starts in the majors, also a career best. He led the team with nine sacrifice bunts and collected his first two RBI.
“I’ll look back on the year and see plenty of ups and downs, but I feel like I did my job, for the most part,” Morton said after taking a no-decision Monday against the Brewers. “That feels a lot better than it did last year.”
Last season, Morton went 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA. He spent much of the year at Triple-A Indianapolis, trying to rebuild his confidence. The hours he spent with Indy manager Dean Treanor and Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage have paid off.
“I know more about what I need to do and who I am on the mound,” Morton said. “Before, I put in a lot of work and spent a lot of time, but it wasn’t really going anywhere. Now, I feel like the work and time I invest will be put to good use. I’m going in a certain direction now, as opposed to going downhill or just floating around. I’m heading in the right direction.”
»»» Monday’s 9-8 win took four hours, 13 minutes to play. It was the Pirates’ longest nine-inning game since at least 1984.
»»» Tony Watson gave up a single to the only batter he faced last night and that guy ended up scoring. It snapped Watson’s streak of 10 scoreless innings.
»»» Catcher Michael McKenry will got to Instructional League for a week or so after the season for some one-on-one hitting instruction. That could be an indication that McKenry is ahead of Jason Jaramillo (who’ll be out of minor league options in 2012) and Matt Pagnozzi (who’ll be a free agent this winter) in management’s plans for next season.
Pirates @ Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET
Pirates (72-88) – 1. Alex Presley cf, 2. Josh Harrison 3b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Derrek Lee 1b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Ryan Ludwick rf, 7. Matt Pagnozzi c, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. rhp Ross Ohlendorf (1-3, 8.29)
Brewers (94-66) — 1. Corey Hart rf, 2. Jerry Hairston cf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Rickie Weeks 2b, 6. Casey McGehee 3b, 7. Yuniesky Betancourt ss, 8. George Kottaras c, 9. Randy Wolf lhp (13-10, 3.61)