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Worst Pirate loss in ...

July 12, 2009 - Neil Rudel

Given 16 and soon to be 17 straight losing seasons, it's difficult to be overly emotionally invested in the Pirates.

Somehow, though, I still pay attention.

And I can not remember a more sinking defeat perhaps since the loss of the National League championship series to Atlanta in 1992 than Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Maybe because it was against the World Series champions. Maybe because it was the now-seldom played in-state rivalry.

Maybe it's the injection they're receiving from Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones.

Maybe it's because the Pirates have made their share of moves, some of which look like they have a chance to pay off. Maybe it's because, despite being 10-plus games under .500 and more veterans sure to be traded, there finally appears to be some hope.

Regardless, as closer Matt Capps turned a 7-3 lead into an 8-7 loss in the ninth inning, it was easily the worst defeat of the year and one that could well carryover into the second half of the season.

John Mehno always taught me baseball is such a long season, that it's one game, that you're only as good as the next day's starting pitcher -- whether coming off a win or loss. Don't get too high or too low.

But this one was ridiculous.

It's hard to imagine the Pirates wasting a better effort -- getting three home runs off Cole Hamels, including another first-inning shot by Jones.

The Pirates had eight extra-base hits.

Ryan Doumit, fresh from the disabled list, doubled twice. Andy LaRoche doubled and tripled. Jack Wilson made one of the best defensive plays in memory. Ross Ohlendorf pitched well.

They made no errors.

And they were on the road.

One thing's for sure: If the Pirates ever build something worth watching, their long-suffering fans will deserve it.


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