Bay's homer helps Pirates win pitchers' duelApr 12, 2008 - 5:09 AM By David Assad PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
PITTSBURGH - Jason Bay's early-season hitting woes seem to be straightened out.
The former All-Star left fielder hit his second home run in three games in the bottom of the sixth inning to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at PNC Par.
Four pitchers combined on the shutout for the Pirates, who snapped a three-game losing streak and earned their first home victory of the season in four tries.
Bay blasted a 3-2 pitch from Reds reliever Jared Burton (0-1) 432 feet into the left field bleachers to provide the game's lone run.
Bay, who began the season with just three hits in his first 18 at-bats, is batting a respectable .281 after collecting six hits in his last 14 at-bats and drawing four walks.
"It's tough when you start the season and that's all that people see (is a low batting average)," Bay said. "I was saying that if it was the middle of July and you go through a bad four or five-game stretch, you don't really notice it because it gets mixed with all the other numbers, but when you start the season like that, it becomes more evident.
"I just try not to put too much pressure on myself and worry about (the critics). I'm still trying to iron out some things. Just 10 games (into the season), by no means do I think I've got it figured out, but it's nice to get going after that slow start."
Reds starter Edinson Volquez was cruising through five scoreless innings, but was relieved by Burton because of a 62-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth inning. The 24-year-old righthander's earned-run average dropped to 0.87 in two starts as he yielded just three hits.
Pirates starter Paul Maholm matched Volquez until the delay, allowing six hits in 5 1/3 scoreless frames.
"I was a little shaky in the first inning (loading the bases after two outs), but I made a good pitch to get out of it. Overall I was satisfied," Maholm said. "I was getting them to hit ground balls for outs on early counts.
"It was unfortunate that the rain and hail came, but I felt strong and I felt good. I felt I could throw any pitch at any time. That was the goal going in. I wished I could have stayed out there, but our bullpen's been awesome like they have been all season."
Two relievers bridged the gap to closer Matt Capps, who walked one in a hitless ninth to earn his second save of the season.
Lefthander John Grabow (1-0), who relieved Maholm with two runners on base and one out in the top of the sixth when play resumed, got credit for the victory after giving up one hit and a walk in 1 2/3 innings.
Relief pitchers have been credited with three of the Pirates' four victories this season.
"We needed a win and I didn't care who got credit for it," Maholm said. "A win's a win and the bullpen did their job."
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had two hits, the only player in the game with more than one.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
CINCINNATI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 1 5 2 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: CIN - EDINSON VOLQUEZ, JARED BURTON (6TH), DAVID WEATHERS (8TH) AND
PIT - PAUL MAHOLM, JOHN GRABOW (6TH), DAMASO MARTE
(7TH), MATT CAPPS (9TH) AND RYAN D
Apr 11 10:52 PM
AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON BAY (2) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
6TH OFF JARED BURTON.
CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0, PITTSBURGH 1
DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: A LAROCHE (.121, 0-FOR-2)
Reds 0, Pirates 1 Bot 6, 0 OutsApr 11 10:04 PM
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