Originally Posted by Sassy
Who is "he"...He's hot! I'd have a fling with him!
I get that a lot
Nady homers twice in Pirates' wild 12-11 victory over Braves
Monday, March 31, 2008
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
ATLANTA -- It was, beyond a doubt, one of the most extraordinary openers in the 122-year history of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.
Just as surely, it was one of the most exhilarating, in its own exceptionally bizarre way.
Damaso Marte and Matt Capps blew a five-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning -- yes, five-run lead -- but Xavier Nady's second home run -- yes, second home run and fourth hit -- in the 12th inning as the Pirates outlasted the Atlanta Braves, 12-11, tonight at Turner Field.
Where to start?
How about with that last inning?
Nate McLouth's third hit of the evening led off the 12th against Atlanta reliever Blaine Boyer, with the score 9-9. McLouth was bunted to second, and Jason Bay drew a five-pitch walk. After two outs, Nady sent a 2-0 fastball to his power alley, right field.
Franquelis Osoria gave up a Jeff Francouer home run with two outs in the bottom half, and Mark Kotsay doubled to bring up the tying run. Matt Diaz singled, and the Braves were back within one.
No, pinch-hitter Corky Miller
Now, the crazy part ...
The score was 4-4 after the Pirates had chipped away at a two-run deficit, when Nady led off the eighth against fresh reliever Manny Acosta. He dug himself an 0-2 hold -- third time for that on the evening -- but ripped the next pitch, a high fastball to the opposite field.
Ryan Doumit, the surprise starting catcher, singled to right and, one out later, Jack Wilson drew a walk. After two outs, McLouth crushed a 2-0 fastball to right for a three-run home run.
Once it was 9-4 entering the ninth, victory appeared plenty secure.
But Damaso Marte made a mess, walking two around a strikeout. And Matt Capps was uncharacteristically wild when summoned right after him, walking his first batter two batters -- nearly impossible to imagine for a pitcher who had six total un-intentional walks in all of 2007 -- to bring in a run.
That brought the tying run to the plate. Chipper Jones' single scored two and made it 9-7, with still only one out.
Mark Teixeira flied out.
So did Brian McCann -- or so it appeared. But his high pop inexplicably dropped between Bay and McLouth as each looked skyward in vain.
Two more runs scored, and it was, unbelievably, 9-9.
Nady and McLouth each homered in the opener last year, too, a 4-2 victory in Houston. The most recent member of the Pirates to homer in back-to-back openers was Barry Bonds in 1988-89.
Ian Snell, in his first opening-day assignment, gave up four runs in six innings. There were seven hits, including a home run, as well as three strikeouts, two walks and a wild pitch.
It was John Russell's debut as a major-league manager, too.
He was mostly business before his first game as a major-league manager, presiding over two pregame meetings, observing batting practice from behind the cage and patting a few backs. But he did allow to some sentimentality, having aimed for this day since becoming a professional coach in 1994.
"It's obviously a special day," Russell said. "Being my first game, it's something I'll never forget. Been looking forward to it a long time."
The Pirates pecked away at Atlanta starter Tom Glavine early and struck first in the second inning.
Adam LaRoche lashed a double to right, took third on Doumit's single and, after two outs, scored when Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson failed to scoop Wilson's dribbler his way and was charged with the first of what would be three errors by the Braves' infield.
The Braves countered with three in the third, an inning which started with Snell walking Glavine.
The uh-oh factor always is high when that happens.
Sure enough, Johnson singled, and Yunel Escobar drilled a two-run triple to right. Jones' groundout scored Escobar, and it was 3-1.
The Pirates got one back in the fourth, nearly two. McLouth singled to center with men at second and third, scoring one run easily, but Wilson was nailed at the plate on a no-hop laser from Kotsay to end the inning.
Atlanta's next batter, McCann, launched a one-strike changeup atop the seating section beyond right-center to restore the Braves' two-run lead, 4-2.
They put two more aboard against Snell in the fifth, but a spectacular double play ended it without damage. Wilson backhanded Teixeira's one-hop smash, did a backhanded flip to Freddy Sanchez, who -- in another sign his shoulder is healthy -- fired to first to finish it.
Glavine was done after five, his pitch count at 97. All but four of the Pirates' 22 batters he faced drew a first-pitch ball. He allowed seven hits and two walks, but just the two runs.
The Pirates scratched another off Chris Resop in the sixth. Nady led off with a double the other way and scored on two groundouts to the right side to cut Atlanta's lead to 4-3.
They tied in the seventh, thanks in part to another gift. Pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan lined a double to right, and McLouth bunted him to third. Sanchez bounced to short with a drawn-in infield, and Bay bounced one to the same place. But Escobar's throw, despite plenty of time, went in the dirt for another error as Morgan crossed home.
The tied score was placed in the hands of the Pirates' remodeled bullpen, and Tyler Yates made an impressive Pittsburgh debut in the seventh. After a two-out walk, he reared back for three fastballs -- 96, 96 and 97 mph -- that he blew by his old teammate Jones.
Next came the home runs and the ninth-inning collapse.