After a four-day layoff due to a sore hamstring, closer Joel Hanrahan last night picked up his second save. It wasn’t exactly a clean inning — Hanny issued back-to-back walks, but he also got two strikeouts and ended the game by inducing a ground ball forceout. “Felt good to be back out there,” Hanrahan said this morning, adding that his hammy feels fine today after the outing.
Hanrahan began the inning in impressive fashion by striking out Carlos Beltran on three pitches. “You can’t cut up a hitter any better than than, a bit-time, big league hitter,” manager Clint Hurdle said. But that was followed by five-pitch walks to David Freese and Yadier Molina, which made things interesting. “Interesting? Nah,” Hanrahan joked.
When Hannay fell behind pinch-hitter Erik Komatsu, 3-1, there was some lively talk in the Pirates’ dugout. “We had a nice little conversation about what the next move was going to be,” Hurdle said. “My pitching coach and I had gotten to a place where we were going to agree to disagree about what was next if there was a ball four.” There wasn’t. Komatsu struck out, then Shane Robinson hit a grounder to third to end it.
»»» Here’s some trivia, courtesy of the folks at Elias: A.J. Burnett last night became the first pitcher to work at least seven shutout innings and notch at least seven strikeouts in his Pirates debut since Nick Maddox, who did it on Sept. 13, 1907.
»»» Alex Presley has hit safely in a career-best seven straight games. He also has hit safely in 12 of his 13 starts in left field, and his batting .311. However, Presley is getting a breather today, as Nate McLouth will start in left.
»»» Forecasters are calling for nasty, snowy weather Monday, which jeopardizes the game between the Pirates and (appropriately enough) Rockies. Will the game be called early? Perhaps. Both teams have an off day scheduled Thursday, which would make for an easy makeup day. This is the Rockies’ only trip to Pittsburgh this season.
»»» It was just announced that RHP Kevin Correia, who was scratched last night due to a sore left side, will start Monday against the Rox. Brad Lincoln, who had been slated to pitch Monday,will work out of the bullpen .
Game 16: Cardinals @ Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET
Cardinals (10-5): 1. Rafael Furcal ss, 2. Tyler Greene 2b, 3. Matt Holliday lf, 4. Carlos Beltran rf, 5. David Freese 3b, 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Matt Carpenter 1b, 8. Shane Robinson cf, 9. Kyle Lohse rhp (2-0, 0.89)
Pirates (6-8): 1. Nate McLouth lf, 2.Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Garrett Jones 1b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Clint Barmes ss, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Erik Bedard lhp (0-3, 2.65)