Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Strange Things Sometime Happen In The Heat

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

by "Shakey" McGuiness
Legends League correspondent
Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball


Nolan Ryan Houston. Man, is it hot down here. I mean, HOT. A three game set, and the mercury was touching 100 on two of the three game days. This particular game was played at a (relatively) cool 94 degrees. Hah. That's how hot it was - 94 degrees was the coolest day. Add in the heat generated by The Express and his patented Dead Red delivery, and I do mean Dead Red, and it must have seemed like the game was played in a frying pan to the Pirates. But I'm getting ahead of the story.

Lets start at the beginning. The Pirates and Astros continued their home and home series today, and the hurlers assigned to start in this ungodly weather were Nolan Ryan for the 'Stros and Ed Walsh for the Bucs. Ryan had that fastball burning holes in the Bucs' lumber from the start, that's for sure. The Express fanned Hornsby, that ultimate student of a batsman's swing, no less than three times on this day. Leaving him nothing to do but shake his head and utter some choice verbiage under his breath to alleviate the mental anguish. He set down Big Jawn Mize twice as well, and Home Run Brown too, but that man is struggling to the point where his next job may be water boy anyway. Eleven Ks in all for the big Texan, and a 1-0 lead going into the final frame was his to have and to hold.

Ed Walsh Walsh, on the other hand, although not quite as dominating, was still very effective. It is a well known fact that Mr. Walsh is a practitioner of that lost art, it is common knowledge that he is a deliverer of what is now an illegal offering. That is, he throws a nasty spit ball. Nevertheless, Walsh's spitter, illegal or not, was dancing just out of reach of the Houston batters all day. And except for a lone run in the fifth, Walsh's linescore was as clean as Ryan's. That run was a product of classic small ball - a base on balls, an infield base knock, a ground ball, a fly ball, then a run.. Exquisitely played, just like in Walsh's hey day. So we enter the 9th, the home town up a run, the visitors exhausted from the heat, and the heat from The Express was just making matters worse for them.

But things changed in inning number nine. Maybe the big guy tired, maybe the baseball gods smiled upon old Ed Walsh and his boys, but things did indeed change when the boys came out to dance for that last frame. Ben Taylor, batting for the aforementioned spit baller, immediately lined a solid single into left which was played poorly by Gwynn, resulting in the tying run standing upright at second with none out. Henry Kimbro, fast becoming a clutch player for these Bucs, followed by lining a sharp single to center which promptly scored the quick Taylor. 1-1. Kimbro alertly took second on the throw home, a key play. The Express is not happy. Nor are the Houston faithful. The Pirates, on the other hand, are breathing freely again.

Henry Kimbro Ryan reared back and fired another 100 mph heater through the 94 degree air. Little Billy Francis dropped a nice little bunt down the third base line, Kimbro advances, Francis heads back to the dug out, having done his job.

Next up: John Henry "Pop" Lloyd. a key player on the Pittsburgh Nine, but one who is slumping badly as of late. But Pop is no dummy, he knows he's over matched at this particular point in time, his swing is awkward, disjointed; the results usually unfruitful. So John Henry followed Francis' lead and dropped a fine looking bunt down the other line, and Kimbro scored easily. 2-1 Pirates.

Two runs across the plate in the inning, but Ryan, although on the losing end at the moment, is still in charge. But that student of the swing is up next, Mr. Hornsby. And Rajah has learned something from his earlier failures. On a 2-1 count, with the score an identical 2-1, Rajah finally caught up to a Ryan offering, and promptly made a souvenir of it for some kid in the left field bleachers. That, finally, would be all for the mighty Ryan.

Todd Jones would come in to face Johnny Mize, but Mize was watching and learning too, and Jones saw his third pitch leave first his hand, and then the yard, and it did not come back into play. 4-1 Pirates. Some little ball, some long ball, some heat, and finally some runs crossing the dish in the final frame. Troy Percival would come on and channel Nolan Ryan for an inning, just long enough to pick up his 11th save. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in Houston.

Strange things sometimes happen in the heat.

5/19/2004, PIT05-HOU05, Minute Maid Park (2001-04)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP
2005 Pirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 6 1 2 2
2005 Astros 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 1 8 1

Pirates AB R H BI D T HR BB K SB CS IW HP SH SF AVG PO A E PB
Kimbro cf 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .307 6 0 0 0
Francis 3b 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .263 0 2 0 0
Lloyd ss 3 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .279 1 4 0 0
Hornsby 2b 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .287 4 4 1 0
Mize 1b 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252 8 1 0 0
Percival p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0
Brown,W rf 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .193 2 0 0 0
Smith,C lf 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .301 1 0 0 0
Hartnett c 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .220 4 1 0 0
Walsh p 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .217 1 1 0 0
Taylor,B ph 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .350 0 0 0 0
30 4 6 4 1 0 2 1 12 0 0 0 0 2 0 27 13 1 0

Astros AB R H BI D T HR BB K SB CS IW HP SH SF AVG PO A E PB
Puckett cf 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .287 1 0 0 0
Gwynn lf 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .358 1 0 1 0
Hernandez,K 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286 8 1 0 0
Molitor 3b 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .271 0 0 0 0
Bench c 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .185 12 1 0 0
Randolph 2b 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .234 3 2 0 0
Fernandez ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .281 0 3 0 0
Baines rf 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .275 2 0 0 0
Ryan,N p 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .048 0 3 0 0
Jones,T p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0
Staub ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .184 0 0 0 0
31 1 8 1 0 0 0 3 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 27 10 1 0

Pirates INN H R ER BB K PCH STR BF HR IW HP WP DP ERA
Walsh W 5-2 8.0 7 1 1 2 3 91 58 31 0 0 0 0 2 1.31
Percival S 11 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 25 15 5 0 0 0 0 0 0.53
9.0 8 1 1 3 4 116 73 36 0 0 0 0 2

Astros INN H R ER BB K PCH STR BF HR IW HP WP DP ERA
Ryan,N L 3-4 8.2 5 3 3 1 11 119 77 31 1 0 0 0 1 4.14
Jones,T 0.1 1 1 1 0 1 9 7 2 1 0 0 0 0 8.35
9.0 6 4 4 1 12 128 84 33 2 0 0 0 1

PIT: Taylor,B batted for Walsh in the 9th
Taylor,B moved to 1b in the 9th
HOU: Staub batted for Jones,T in the 9th

GWRBI: Lloyd
Temperature: 94, Sky: partly cloudy, Wind: in from center at 6 MPH.


ATL Logo