I know it was just one game out of 162, but the Pirates opened the season last night with a 10-inning win over the Astros in Houston, and by God if they can do it there, where they didn’t win a single game last season, they can do it anywhere. Don’t forget, these are the Pirates who opened the 2006 season with an 0-6 record, so by starting 1-0 they’re already ahead of the game.
But last night’s game was great for a number of reasons: Zach Duke pitched very well, giving up just 2 earned runs on 8 hits in 7 innings. And he got a lot of help from some excellent defense, including three double plays (two of which featured Jose Bautista) and some great throws from Chris Duffy in center field.
The Pirates got offense, too, although for much of the game they were under the spell of Astros’ hurler Roy Oswalt. With the Bucs down 2-0 in the eighth, Nate McLouth came off the bench and took Oswalt deep to cut the lead to 1 run. In the ninth, Xavier Nady hit a shot off Brad Lidge to tie it. And with one man on in the 10th, Jason Bay delivered with a long ball of his own, putting the Pirates ahead 4-2 and securing the win.
As is always the case with the Buccos, there’s a downside. On Monday night, that downside was Personal Lord and Savior (PLS) Adam LaRoche, who came to bat five times and struck out in four of those plate appearances, including when he led off the ninth with a three-pitch K against Lidge. I still have hope that PLS LaRoche will be a huge positive for this team, but in his regular season debut he was a bit disappointing.
Still, I can’t help but feel good after this win. I would like to see the Pirates do a little better in the early innings, but a win is a win. As Ryan Doumit said after the game:
“Dude, that was fun!”