Game 105 – Gorzy Gets 1st MLB Win
As if to send a message to long time San Francisco Giants lover Kevin McClatchy, the real Pirates showed up last night and played perhaps the best game of the year by annihilating the Giants in nearly every faucet of the game. By winning the first two games of the series, the Pirates have kept the Giants from gaining ground on the Reds, the NL wild card leader, and possibly dealing an uppercut to the Giants’ post-season play. A Pirates win on Sunday would probably be the knockout punch.
Tom Gorzelanny pitched a wail of a game spotting his 96 mph heater in pinpoint locations early in the count and forcing the Giants to put in play his off speed junk, resulting in just six hits and two earned runs over seven innings of work to pick up his first major league win. Not only did Gorzy get his first W, he also got his first RBI with a groundball in the second inning scoring Burnitz from 3B to tie the game 1-1.
But Gorzy’s line card should have looked even better than it did. In the first inning, Durham doubled off the right field wall with two outs and Bonds came to the plate and hit a little flair into medium centerfield. Unfortunately, Bautista decided to dive for the ball even though he was 5 feet away from it and the ball rolled past him allowing Bonds to take 2B and Durham to score.
All things being equal, if Bautista had simply played the flair as a single and picked up the ball on the bounce, there was no possible way Durham would have been sent and, if he was, there would have been an easy play for Bautista to throw him out. I scored it as a single with a Bautista error allowing both runners to advance and an unearned run to Gorzy. The official scorer at PNC scored it a double – which it wasn’t, imo.
While Gorzelanny’s pitching was the main course for the evening, the dessert was the Pirates infield defense. Play, after play, after play they somehow managed to snag groundballs, turn awkward double plays, and pick balls out of the dirt unlike any game this year. There were so many highlight plays turned that Pirates’ fans had to be wondering where the heck all this defense had been all year long. It was easily the best defensive game of the year. From Paulino calling a very good game, to Gorzelanny pitching to the defense, to the defense making the plays behind Gorzy.. it was all textbook.
Tonight he made two glaring errors – one on the Bond’s hit I mentioned above and the second by getting picked off second base with no outs and two on in the fourth inning, which is one of the biggest cardinal sins in baserunning.. a little league type of mistake.
I don’t know what is in this kid’s head.. maybe he is just rebellious.. maybe he is headstrong.. maybe he just doesn’t care.. but he is simply killing every thread of hope I had that he would have a chance to play at the major league level. The more I see of him the more I realize that, even with his youthfulness, his head isn’t into the game, his actions aren’t team oriented, and his game is just plain short. I am starting to think he and Castillo would make good bed buddies in the utility column. We’ll keep watching them both hoping their heads come out of the sand – there is still a lot more baseball to be played this year but they have a long way to go in my book.
Offensively, Wright opened his own can of worms in the 3rd inning by walking two of the first three batters he faced then got Burnitz to hit a slow roller just off the mound for the second out and advancing the two walked batters up 90 feet each. Paulino and Castillo then both delivered clutch two-out hits to score an rbi each and putting the Buccos up 3-1. In the 5th, Burnitz crushed a Wright heater into the left centerfield stands for a HR putting the Pirates up 4-2 and that was all we needed.
Tracy used his pen effectively in the 8th to shut down the Giants and then in the 9th, Gonzo gave up back to back hits to lead off the inning and allowing one run to score, then got Linden to hit into a double play, and Randy Winn to ground out to end the game to notch his 18th save of the year.
– Tidbits –
It was Sean Casey bobblehead last night but Sean sat on the pine in favor of Joe Randa. Word is Casey and Craig Wilson are all but gone to the Angels. I don’t understand this at all with the Angels so far behind everyone, but there you have it. I know the media said Sean sat last night because of a pulled rib muscle – and I’m sure that is what the org said – but I heard there might be more interest in Randa than Sean Casey in some circles. But at 1B? Hmm..
How about Burnitz lighting up with scouts in attendance? Makes you wonder why he didn’t light up just playing everyday earlier in the year. The Yankees are said to be hot on him if they can’t get someone on their short list and God knows we all hope they take him. C-ya JB – don’t let the door hit yer behind on the way out. Looks like Hernandez will probably be heading to the Bronx with him.
I don’t see much else happening. It seems Littlefield simply isn’t getting the calls since he overpriced his commodities a couple of weeks ago. I did see the local media reports about the NY teams having an interest in Kip Wells but if you believe all that, I have a bridge to sell you.
I did hear Littlefield will pull the trigger on one deal Sunday but for the life of it, I can’t figure out what deal it could be.
How about Perez blowing up last night in front of six scouts against one of the worst teams in the IL? Ollie only retired one batter and allowed eight runs. Man, I don’t know whether to thank Ollie or cry. I think Perez has a lot more Kris Benson in him than we all know about.
Are the Pirates really 23 – 12 in night games at PNC Park this year? Whew.
Second largest crowd at the park last night to get their Casey bobbleheads. Even McClatchy showed up. Amazing.