Both teams squandered opportunity after opportunity, but someone had to win. It's in the rules.
So after four hours, 392 pitches, 31 hits, 6 walks, 23 stranded base runners, each team loading the bases with no one out without scoring, and two ejections, Milwaukee finally ended the drawn-out affair with a 4-3 win over the Pirates in 12 innings this afternoon.
It was entertaining baseball in a macabre way, but in the end, it was the Brew Crew that weaved its old black magic for its eighth win in nine tries against the snakebitten Bucs. If Milwaukee does get to the Series (or Chicago, for that matter), Pittsburgh deserves a share of the pot.
> Those that think John Russell doesn't have any fire should have seen his jaw to jaw throw down with plate ump John Davidson. Russell was thrown out defending Adam LaRoche, ejected moments earlier for bemoaning a bad strikeout call. He felt LaRoche was being baited by Davidson.
Russell may not argue judgment calls - what's the point? - but he does have the player's backs when they need it.
> Nate McLouth had a pinch hit, RBI single today, but isn't quite ready for showtime yet. He's expected to return for the Cubs series, though he's not sure when. The Bucs won't rush him. Nyjer Morgan went 7-13 in the Brewers series with two doubles and three runs scored, lifting his average over eighty points to .226.
> Today's web debate, on the PBC Blog - did the Bucs set up Gorzo for failure by bringing him back against the Brewers at Miller Park? We think not for two reasons - one, he did his time at Indy, and deserved a call back sooner rather than later.
Two - the Bucs play Milwaukee and Chicago until the end of the month, so he would have been on ice until September if they waited for Cincy or San Fran, and missed a start or two here.
They did hold him a day to go against Jeff Suppan, who he should have matched up OK against. After all, it's the bigs; you can't pick and choose your opponent.
The minor league report: Indy won 10-6. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (4-4, 3.52) went 8 innings, giving up a run on 5 hits and a walk, and K'ing 6. He's about ready to join the big club, too.
C Candy Maldonado (.246) had three hits, including a double, and 3 RBI. RF Steve Pearce (.258) went 2-4 with a walk, scored once and drove home two. 1B Jason Delaney (.227) went 2-3 with a walk, 2 runs, and an RBI. CF Andrew McCutchen (.280) had a hit, walk, and scored twice.
> Altoona lost, 5-2. LF Jonel Pocheco (.272) was 2-3 with a walk and RBI. C Miguel Perez (.283) had two hits. 2B Shelby Ford (.281) tripled and scored, and 3B Milver Reyes (.174) hit his first HR, a solo shot.
> Lynchburg won 8-5. LHP Brian Holliday (6-10, 5.34 ERA) went six pedestrian innings. LHP Danny Moskos (6.06 ERA) pitched two frames, giving up two hits, a walk, and striking out three.
LF Jared Keel (.236) hit his 19th home run, drew 2 walks, scored 3 and drove in 3. 2B Matt Cavagnaro (.389) doubled, tripled, and scored twice. C Chris Jones (.235) had 4 hits, and SS Jose De Los Santos (.237) added a pair more with a run and a steal.
> Hickory won, 5-2. RHP Emilis Guerraro (1-3, 5.61 ERA) went seven scoreless innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and striking out 2. He made an emergency start, and is the fireman of Pittsburgh farm pitchers - he's pitched at every level from Altoona to Bradenton so far this season, five in all.
Crawdad pitchers now sport a 1.74 ERA in their last seven games, allowing just 12 earned runs in their last 62 innings of work.
1B Erik Huber (.266) had a big night, with 3 hits, including his 12th HR, two RBI and a run. SS Jordy Mercer (.240) had two hits and a run. DH Matt Hague (.316) hit a solo homer, his sixth.
> State College finally had a laugher, winning 10-5. RHP Rudy Owens (2-6, 5.21 ERA) went five innings without giving up a hit. He walked one and struck out two.
SS Andy Vasquez (.254) had 3 hits, including his second HR, with 5 RBI and 2 runs. DH Kyle Morgan (.226) was 3-3 with 2 walks, a double, and his second long ball. He had an RBI and 4 runs tallied. LF David Rubenstein (.216) had 2 hits with a run, and CF Ciro Rosero (.244) hit his 2nd HR, walked, scored, and had 2 RBI.
> Bradenton was off today.