Gorzelanny struggles as Pirates fall
Starter lasts 4 2/3 innings in first Major League start since July 4
MILWAUKEE -- Despite all the work Tom Gorzelanny put in over the last month, the results were the same in his return to the big leagues.
Gorzelanny (6-8) gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings and the Pirates fell, 6-3, to the Brewers on Saturday night. The pitching line eerily resembled Gorzelanny's last Major League start on July 4, which was also a 4 2/3-inning dud at Miller Park and triggered a demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Gorzelanny, who was recalled from Indianapolis prior to Saturday's game, wants to take this disappointment as a work in progress.
"I can take this as a 'here we go again,' but I'm not going to do that," Gorzelanny said. "I'm going to continue to work hard and get better and be successful here."
Ryan Braun pestered Gorzelanny in particular with a solo home run and a two-run double. Adam LaRoche hit his 17th homer for Pittsburgh in the sixth off Jeff Suppan (9-7), who held the Pirates to three runs over seven-plus innings.
The Pirates dropped their 11th straight game at Miller Park, dating to May 3, 2007, when Gorzelanny got his fourth victory of a 14-win season. Conscious of last season's success, Pirates manager John Russell isn't giving up on the 25-year-old left-hander.
"It wasn't a terrible start," Russell said.
Gorzelanny threw first-pitch strikes to 15 of 23 batters. One of the reasons he was sent to the Minors was to work on his control and to limit big innings.
"I'm encouraged on how he got ahead," Russell said. "He was efficient early in the count. He got the ball down and was able to get through the innings without high pitch counts. It was encouraging. He just had trouble putting them away when he got ahead."
With a 3-1 record and a 2.06 ERA while in Indianapolis, Gorzelanny seemed to have things figured out. He peaked with a one-hitter over seven innings in his final Minor League start last Saturday. But the Milwaukee Brewers aren't the Durham Bulls.
"Going from there to here, it's a little different step," Gorzelanny said. "But I've got to have the same mentality I had down there. Just go out there and know I have the stuff to get guys out and believe in it. ... You don't pay for it as much down there as you do here."
Milwaukee cashed in from the start.
Gorzelanny allowed two singles, a four-pitch walk and two runs in the first. Braun took the left-hander deep to left in the fourth, one pitch after launching an inside fastball a few hundred feet foul and two pitches after being brushed off the plate by a fastball near his chin.
"I know that he didn't do that intentionally, but it certainly wakes me up," Braun said. "It intensifies my focus a little bit. Obviously, whenever you get a pitch up and in or near the face at 93-94 mph, it probably makes you focus a little bit more."
Gorzelanny left the homer pitch up, one of a few mistakes he chalked up to not being aggressive enough with his pitches.
"That slider to Braun, I needed to throw that in the dirt. I needed to put that down there," Gorzelanny said. "I just left it up a little. Being the hitter he is, it's never really going to work out in my favor."
Braun is 7-for-14 lifetime against Gorzelanny. Does he just have the starter's number?
"He's got a lot of guys' numbers," Russell said.
Braun's two-run double came with two outs in the fifth, and he scored on Prince Fielder's single, putting Milwaukee up, 6-0, and chasing Gorzelanny. Craig Hansen, Tyler Yates and John Grabow shut out the Brewers during the final 3 1/3.
The Pirates plated two runs in the sixth, when Brandon Moss' groundout scored Nyjer Morgan, who had led off with a double, and LaRoche went deep.
Pinch-hitter Chris Gomez doubled to lead off the eighth and scored two batters later on Jack Wilson's groundout to close out the Pirates' scoring. Ex-Pirate Salomon Torres notched his 25th save with a scoreless ninth.
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.