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Capps regains form in Pirates' win

Pirates/MLB Videos

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Matt Capps did not want the Pirates to pad their three-run lead Saturday night against the Colorado Rockies.

A four-run edge means it's not a save situation, which would have kept Capps in the bullpen instead of putting him on the field. After coughing up a lead and losing the night before, Capps wanted a quick shot at redemption.

He got it. The Pirates stranded a runner at second base in the eighth inning, and the bullpen door swung open.

Capps nailed down the ninth, preserving the Pirates' 7-4 victory on a soggy, chilly night.

"It felt good to get back on the saddle," Capps said. "I had to regroup and kind of find myself again. It showed up this afternoon, and it's a new day."

Capps spent the afternoon working with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, trying to keep his head on target and his front shoulder open. Capps pitched out of the stretch the whole inning.

"First time I've done that in my career," he said.

The inning did not begin well. Capps walked pinch-hitter Matt Murton on five pitches.

Uh oh ...

But Seth Smith grounded into a double play. Troy Tulowitzki grounded out to end it.

"I had some stuff today and everything felt good," Capps said.

"It's good to see him back," manager John Russell said.

A 97-minute rain delay KO'ed both starting pitchers in the second inning, preventing either of them from getting the win. Neither deserved it anyway.

Ian Snell needed 46 pitches to slog through his two innings. He yielded a pair of two-out runs in the first, the served up Clint Barmes' solo homer in the second.

The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the second against Aaron Cook. Adam LaRoche, Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche got it started with consecutive singles to center field. Just before rain halted play, Delwyn Young slapped a two-run single to center.

Reliever Sean Burnett allowed the Rockies to tie it, 4-4, in the third.

The Pirates went ahead to stay in the fifth inning on Nate McLouth's solo home run. It was the only hit allowed in 313 innings of relief by righty Matt Belisle (1-1).

It was fitting that McLouth won the game -- it was his bobblehead night.

"It was the 13th (Pirates) home run at PNC Park this season," Russell noted. "And Nate wears No. 13. Pretty weird, huh?"

McLouth pointed out that Russell's seat in the dugout gives him a perfect view of the "Bucco Blast" chart in right field.

"He's staring straight at that number all game, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out," McLouth said, grinning. "Whether it was coincidence or not, it was a neat night to hit it."

Burnett (1-1) worked three innings and allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two.

In his 18 appearances this season, Burnett has been scored upon four times. He's held opponents to a .194 batting average (12 for 62).

After McLouth's go-ahead homer, the Pirates added two runs in the sixth, thanks in part to some aggressive baserunning.

Moss led off with a double and scored on Andy LaRoche's single. When LaRoche saw Jason Jaramillo's single roll slowly into shallow left, he alertly went to third.

Jack Wilson's fly ball to right was just deep enough to score Andy LaRoche.

Relievers Evan Meek and Jesse Chavez safely navigated the sixth and seventh innings. John Grabow, who had been scored upon in six of his previous eight outings, tossed a scoreless eighth inning.

That led to Capps.

"They called down and said if we scored again, Grabow was going back out (for the ninth)," Capps said.

Despite the lousy weather, 24,496 fans showed up on McLouth bobblehead night. It was the second-largest turnout of the season (behind the home opener) and the first time since May 2 (the first of the wildly popular fireworks nights) that the Pirates drew a crowd larger than 13,000.

How they scored

• Rockies first inning (Ian Snell pitching)

With two outs, Todd Helton walked. Brad Hawpe singled to right field, Helton to third. Ryan Spilborghs doubled to right, Helton and Hawpe scored.

Rockies 2, Pirates 0

• Rockies second

With one out, Clint Barmes hit a solo home run (No. 4) to left on an 0-1 pitch.

Rockies 3, Pirates 0

• Pirates second (Aaron Cook pitching)

Adam LaRoche singled to center. Brandon Moss singled to center, LaRoche to second. Andy LaRoche singled to center, Adam LaRoche scored, Moss to second. Jason Jaramillo walked, loading the bases. Jack Wilson grounded out to third base, Moss scored, Andy LaRoche to third, Jaramillo to second. With two outs, Delwyn Young singled to center, Andy LaRoche and Jaramillo scored.

Pirates 4 , Rockies 3

• Rockies third (Sean Burnett pitching)

Troy Tulowitzki walked. Helton singled to center, Tulowitzki to third. Hawpe flied out to center, Tulowitzki scored, Helton to second.

Pirates 4 , Rockies 4

• Pirates fifth (Matt Belisle pitching)

With two outs, Nate McLouth hit a solo homer (No. 6) to right on a 2-0 pitch.

Pirates 5 , Rockies 4

• Pirates sixth (Jason Grilli pitching)

Moss doubled to left-center. Wild pitch, Moss to third. Andy LaRoche singled to left, Moss scored. Jaramillo singled to left, Andy LaRoche to third. Jack Wilson flied out to right, Andy LaRoche scored.

Pirates 7 , Rockies 4




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