Aug. 8 — The Pittsburgh Pirates shut out the San Francisco Giants 5-0 behind a Roy Halladay-esque Charlie Morton tonight at AT&T Park.
During the game, Giants announcers Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper talked about how Morton had spent the offseason studying Halladay’s pitching motion and attempting to replicate it.
Well, if tonight is any indication, his efforts certainly paid off.
While discussing Morton’s emulation of Halladay, they showed a split-screen of both going through their motions, and the shots looked just about identical.
And it wasn’t just that he looked like the two-time Cy Young Award winner — Morton ended up with a pitching line reminiscent of a night Halladay might have.
He went eight innings, allowing six hits, no runs and three walks while striking out four.
Ironically, he actually outpitched Halladay. In beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, Halladay lasted 6.1 and gave up nine hits, one run and two walks while also fanning four.
The Pirates got off to a fast start, scoring twice in the first.
All three outs in the inning were strikeouts, but Pittsburgh also got three hits.
Two of those hits came as back-to-back doubles by Garrett Jones and Neil Walker. The third was a single by Ryan Ludwick to bring in Walker.
A bad decision by the Giants and a lack of control by Ryan Vogelsong got the Pirates their next run in the third.
After giving up singles to Andrew McCutchen and Jones, he got the next two out. But then, he went 3-0 to Ludwick. The Giants then opted to put him on intentionally, loading the bases.
The next batter was Pedro Alvarez, who got walked on four pitches to force in a run.
Pittsburgh brought home two more in the fifth, thanks to some heads-up baserunning by Jones and a few two-out knocks.
Jones led off the inning with a single. Two outs later, noticing Vogelsong was paying him little attention, he swiped second with Ludwick at the plate. He scored on a base hit by Ludwick. This was followed by two more singles. First, one by Pedro Alvarez pushed Ludwick to second. Then, Ludwick came in on a hit by Brandon Wood.
The four hits Pittsburgh had in the inning were as many as the Giants had in the game up to that point.
The Pirates finished with twice as many hits as the Giants — 12 to 6.
The Giants did have their chances but could do nothing with them.
Aubrey Huff and Nate Schierholtz led off the second with back-to-back base hits. Then, the next three batters made outs to end the inning. Orlando Cabrera flew out. Aaron Rowand hit a ground ball to the third baseman Alvarez got Huff out. The inning ended on a controversial Eli Whiteside strikeout.
On a 1-2 count, first base umpire Brian O’Nora was asked to judge whether Whiteside went around. He immediately signaled him out. It was close so whether the call was right or wrong was not the issue; it was the way he made the call. O’Nora pumped his fist so hard and so emphatically his leg came up and he almost spun around.
Remember, the good umpires are usually the ones you don’t notice.
Again in the fourth, Huff and Schierholtz reached to open the frame, but nothing came of it. (This time, Huff got walked.)
Cabrera struck out, and Rowand hit into a double play.
A pinch-hit single by Mike Fontenot and walk to Andres Torres put runners at first and second with one out in the fifth, but Jeff Keppinger hit into a double play.
Schierholtz hit a ground-rule double in the sixth, but the rest of the batters got out.
Krukow tried to keep the faith when the leadoff batter reached in the bottom of the eighth and ninth.
A bad throw by shortstop Brandon Wood allowed pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa to reach.
“And it all started with an error,” said Krukow.
However, the next three Giants got out.
Cabrera worked a leadoff base on balls in the ninth.
“And it all started with a walk,” said Krukow.
Alas, Rowand struck out and Whiteside and Fontenot popped out to end the game.
The series continues tomorrow at 7:15 p.m. PDT.
Probable Pitchers: Madison Bumgarner (6-11, 3.71) vs. James McDonald (7-5, 4.23)