The Pittsburgh Pirates looked to be finally approaching the level of mediocre (.500) that seems to be such an obsession to Pirate fans (not me),the organization and the Pittsburgh media with a 6-1 lead against the awful Orioles,but then the clock hit midnight.
Phil Dumatrait started walking batters,as he is prone to do, and allowed the Orioles to get back into the game and Franquelis Osoria finished the job (3-2) by relinquishing the lead.
Sean Burnett then added the final toppings in a 9-6 loss in Charm (Ha!) City.
Dumatrait avoided taking the loss although he certainly gave put a team that was flat on their back back into the game and put the middle relievers in a position to have this game not end well.
Bad team usually have poor long and middle relief and the Pirates have those in abundance.
When this team finally turns the corner,one underrated reason will be that they will not have to continue to hand the ball to the Franquelis Osorias of the world and expect them to pitch well when the track record indicates that they will not do so.
After the Orioles scratched out a first inning run off Battlin Bob's favorite lefty,Pittsburgh took the lead in the second on a two run single by Jack Wilson.
In the next inning,Doug Mientkiewicz singled Jason Bay home and that set the stage for Jason Michaels to clout a three run shot (3) and a 6-1 lead.
Things were looking good to the point that the MASN announcers (Creature Feature Thorne and Comatose Palmer) were talking to the members of the 79 Orioles that were there instead of worrying about the game.
I swear I saw more of Doug DeCinces than the playing field one inning!
But then Dumatrait started walking people and walks turn into runs very quickly as results from walks turned into runs in both the fourth and fifth leaving Dumatrait staggering from the game after 5 innings with a less than impressive line-5 innings,5 runs,5 hits and 5 walks.
Only in the strikeout column was Dumatrait short of 5 with just three.
Osoria then allowed 2 runs in the sixth to give Baltimore the lead and Sean Burnett allowed a run in each of his two innings for the final score.
A disappointing night and one that the Bucs gave away.
The series continues tonight at 7 by the Inner Harbor.
I watched the game on tape,as Battlin Bob and I traveled to Frederick to see the first half champions of the Carolina League,the Potomac Nationals battle the Keys.
Potomac walked away with a 5-2 win despite the Keys loading the bases in the ninth to set up an exciting ending to the contest.
The signing was great as I was able to get get every player that I needed on Potomac to sign their cards from the 2008 Disabled Veterans (team giveaway) set and the seven players that were in the Hagerstown set to sign.
We sat beside the family of Potomac pitching coach Randy Tomlin and it was quite enjoyable to sit with knowledgeable fans that root for the opposition (Like us!).
Both of the Tomlin children were into the game with lots of cheering,but not overbearing at all as can happen sometimes.
One can clearly see that the Tomlins have done a excellent job raising their children as they were quite the class act.
Pittsburgh:Zach Duke (4-4 4.10 ERA) at Baltimore:Radhames Liz (1-0 3.48 ERA) 7:05
A Hagerstown note as well from the game-A players wife (or girlfriend.not sure) that sat in front of us told me that she had been telling her Potomac counterparts about how bad Hagerstown was.
She said "not the city,the facilities and that no one comes to games".
I only thought of then that it must be difficult for the players to perform well considering the facilities and the all the other stuff that entails the team and and began to think of the players that were just Ok here and the first time that a player moves up,they play better at the higher level.
Cory Van Allen and Carlos Gomez are just two that jump to mind like that immediately among others.
FTR- I know which player is her significant other,I just don't feel comfortable naming him without permission.
A brief note on the passing of Tim Russert.
I was a loyal watcher of both Meet the Press and his weekend show that started in CNBC and moved to the more logical network MSNBC last year and I have always thought that he was fair minded and was not afraid to ask the tough questions.
Russert will be missed.
Watch for more on Russert on Tuesday when it is looking like a slow day.
I think you will enjoy this one.
Battlin Bob sends us this sad word on the passing of Charlie Jones.
Jones was ,to me, one of the top voices of the AFC games as the play by play voice of NBC's number two team in the 70's and 80's and did other sports as well.
Jones had a real handicap in his last seasons at NBC,he had arguably the worst and most annoying analyst ever in Todd Christensen and had to carry him every week!
I liked Jones for his honesty.
Jones called a race in the 1988 Olympics and called the wrong runner all the way through the race and when that runner won,Jones went into the usual post race Olympic ramble that is always done after any Olympic event.
When the mistake was discovered-Jones quickly announced it,admitted the mistake and threw no one under the bus-"my mistake,Nobody elses".
I have never forgotten that-accountability.
Jones was 77.
I am sure that I will be ranting about the MASN/Orioles team sometime over the next few days,but this time I am going after the Pirates.
Baltimore spent the extra dough to wear 1979 caps and jerseys for the series against Pittsburgh and even though they were ugly it was still pretty cool to do and the Pirates should have matched their efforts and worn their 79 versions for the visit.
C'mon-have some fun!
Burnett:Gail Burton-AP Photo
Russert:Alex Wong-Getty Images