Thursday, December 10, 2009

Goldens Spot Pirates 9-Run Lead and Complete Comeback with Slam in Bottom of the 9th

The Sierra Nevada Goldens’ fans left Great American Ballpark in a raucous frenzy as they witnessed the greatest comeback of the Goldens’ season to date. After 4 ½ innings of play, the Goldens were waving the white flag as the red-hot Cream City Pirates jumped out to a 9-0 lead. Sierra’s Kyle Kendrick was completely ineffective giving up 8 hits, including 2 HR’s and 7 earned runs in only 1 1/3 innings of work. In the 2nd Inning, Kendrick gave up a 3-run bomb to B.J. Upton & a 2-run shot to All-Star hopeful Mark Teixeira leading the way to a 6-run inning, extending the early lead to 7-0. The Goldens’ Matt Albers held his own giving up 2 runs over 4 innings, but things looked hopeless as the Goldens came to bat in the bottom of the 5th staring at a monstrous 9-run deficit.

With 1-out in the bottom of the 5th, first baseman Jason Giambi ripped a single off Pirates starter Daniel Cabrera who had thrown up a string of zeros for the first 4 innings. Staring at an enormous mountain to climb, the Goldens’ manager elected to remove defensive shortstop Jack Wilson in an effort to offer some much needed rest for the duration of the blowout. The decision seemed to ignite the Goldens’ bench as switch-hitting replacement Aaron Miles stepped to the plate and laced another single to right moving Giambi to second base. The next batter was back-up catcher David Ross who was giving star catcher Yadier Molina a day off. Ross seized the moment and smashed a 3-run dinger, cutting the lead to 9-3. Adam Dunn and Jody Gerut promptly grounded out to end the inning, but the home town players seemed to gain a bounce in their steps.

While the Goldens’ bullpen went to work holding the Pirates scoreless in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, the Sierra Nevada bats continued to heat up. Dan Uggla blasted a solo shot in the 6th, cutting the lead to 9-4. In the bottom of the 7th, consecutive 2-out singles by Adam Dunn, Jody Gerut, & Jermaine Dye plated another run off starter Daniel Cabrera giving way to reliever Russ Springer. With two runners on and now trailing 9-5, star second baseman Dan Uggla hit his 2nd homerun in as many innings (his 28th of the season), this time a 3-run cruise missile cutting the lead to 9-8!

The Goldens nearly tied the game at nine in the bottom of the 8th as Mike Lowell and Jason Giambi reached base to start the inning, however Miles, Ross, & Dunn stranded the tying run at 3rd base. After 2 shut-out innings of work from Sierra’s Heath Bell, Adrian Beltre seemed to deliver the death blow with a solo shot to lead off the 9th. Bell held the Pirates to the solo run and sent his team to bat with one last chance to complete the comeback staring at a 10-8 deficit.

After squashing the Goldens’ rally in the bottom of the 8th, the Pirates’ Yasuhiko Yabuta came out to start the 9th. Sierra’s Jody Gerut wasted no time as he smoked his 7th homer of the season and the stadium went crazy as the Goldens were once again within a run of catching the mighty Pirates! With the heart of the Goldens’ order due up, the stage was set for an amazing finish. Team MVP Jermaine Dye greeted Pirates closer Jose Valverde rudely as he ripped a double into the left field gap putting the tying run in scoring position. After homering in his previous 2 at-bats Dan Uggla worked a walk. The next batter, left fielder David Murphy was unable to move the runners over as he struck out. Next, the Sierra manager brought Yadier Molina off the bench to pinch hit and sure enough he singled to left fielder Upton. With Giambi on deck, the 3rd base coach elected to hold Dye at 3rd rather than test Upton’s strong arm. With the bases juiced and Giambi looking for his 24th homer of the season, Valverde toughened up and got him to line out causing no damage. With 2-out and the Goldens looking at the prospect of stranding the tying run at 3rd for the 2nd consecutive inning, Aaron Miles came to the plate with his chance to shine. Ironically, he was the one who entered the game for Wilson in the 5th when the game seemed completely of reach and most had all but given up hope. Miles was up to the task and Valverde challenged him with a heater down the heart of the plate, daring him to catch up to his 97 MPH gas. Miles delivered a mighty swing and sent the fastball soaring into the right field bleachers giving him a GRAND SLAM and his 1st tater of the season!!! Miles was mobbed at home plate and the fans were delirious in celebration of the Goldens’ 13-10 shocker of a win lifting their record to 60-35 overall and 37-12 at home. Heath Bell got credit for the win providing 3 solid innings to close out the game while Uggla and Miles accounted for 8 RBI’s in the final 3 innings while Dye got the other. It sure seems that the Goldens may quite possibly be a team of destiny this season as no game is ever out of reach.

Pirates......... 1 6 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 - 10 15 0
Goldens......... 0 0 0 0 3 1 4 0 5 - 13 16 0

ATTENDANCE- 48,475 DATE- Tuesday, July 15th 2090 TIME- Night WEATHER- Good
UMPIRES- Scott Higgins, Kerwin Danley, Angel Hernandez, Andrew Fletcher
T- 3:55
LEFT ON BASE- Pirates: 6 Goldens: 5
DOUBLE PLAYS- Pirates: 0 Goldens: 0
DOUBLES- B.Upton(22nd), B.Roberts(22nd), M.Teixeira(21st), J.Dye(24th)
HOME RUNS- B.Upton(4th), M.Teixeira(20th), A.Beltre(4th), S.Victorino(9th), J.Gerut(7th), D.Uggla-2(28th), A.Miles(1st), D.Ross(6th)
STOLEN BASES- B.Roberts(18th), D.Roberts(2nd)
WALKS- M.Teixeira, T.Hunter, D.Uggla
STRIKE OUTS- B.Upton, A.Huff, J.Hardy, S.Victorino-2, A.Pierzynski, D.Murphy, J.Giambi