Pirates hold on to beat Dodgers
Lefty Gorzelanny earns third victory of the season
LOS ANGELES -- After watching teammate Ian Snell give a great performance on Saturday night only to have the Pirates lose the game, Tom Gorzelanny took the mound Sunday feeling as a if he had to have his best game if he wanted to have a chance at a victory.
Not that he would admit to any additional pressure, saying before the game that, "I'm just going out there and do what I normally do."
He wasn't quite as sharp as his first three starts, but he still had enough to go six innings in a 7-5 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.
"I think my stuff was pretty good today," he said.
He started off by retiring the first nine batters, by which time his teammates, and the Dodgers, had provided him with a three-run lead. The runs, much like the night before, were scored mostly due to the generosity of the Dodgers, who committed three errors and a wild pitch.
Gorzelanny's only difficult inning came in the fourth.
Los Angeles led off the inning with its first baserunner, when Rafael Furcal singled up the middle. Gorzelanny then struck out Juan Pierre, but Olmedo Saenz hit a ground-rule double to left. With first base open, Pirates manager Jim Tracy decided to pitch to Jeff Kent, a strategy that worked when Kent struck out.
But things then looked like they might unravel, as Luis Gonzalez hit a comebacker that Gorzelanny was unable to handle, allowing Furcal to score.
"I should have made that play on Gonzalez," Gorzelanny said, "I thought it was going to give me a nice little hop right into my glove, but it stayed down and hit my foot."
Gorzelanny then walked Russell Martin on a full count to load the bases, and Brady Clark followed with another full-count walk on a pitch that Gorzelanny and catcher Humberto Cota thought was a strike.
Finally, on yet another full-count pitch, Wilson Valdez flied out to right, ending the inning with a 3-2 Pittsburgh lead.
"The fourth inning got me, and I wasn't really happy. I wasn't happy with the walks," Gorzelanny said.
He also admitted that the play on Gonzalez bothered him.
"I should have gotten out of that well before that," Gorzelanny said.
But he knew what he needed to do to get over the frustration.
"I went into the dugout, did my thing, and next inning went out there and forgot the whole thing," he said.
Seeing the Pirates actually show some life with the bats also made him feel a bit better. Adam LaRoche, who was hitting a mere .091, connected for his third home run, and Jason Bay drove in two more with a double, extending the Pirates lead to 7-3.
"It was good to go out there and have some runs," Gorzelanny said.
Of course, the Pirates, with a few miscues, tried to make it interesting, but Salomon Torres finally shut the door in the ninth, preserving Gorzelanny's win.
Tracy couldn't have been happier than he was with Gorzelanny's outing.
"It's another very good performance," Tracy said. "Today, arguably, as good or better stuff than he had over his 8 1/3 [innings] in St. Louis."
Overall, Tracy leaves Los Angeles upbeat about much of his pitching staff, noting that with Snell as well as Gorzelanny and possibly even Zach Duke, the Pirates usually have a chance to win.
"I think we have the capability to have more than one guy out there who can stop anything on any given day," Tracy said.
And though this weekend showed some shakiness in the bullpen, Tracy is high on Torres, too.
"We haven't made things very easy for him," Tracy said. "On this road trip alone, we've bobbled a ball at first base, had a ball go through a catcher's legs on a swing and a miss, and we dropped a ball in right field this afternoon."
Gorzelanny is growing more comfortable with his role as a good young pitcher.
"If I keep doing what I can to give us a chance to win, I'm be happy," he said.
Glenn Rabney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.