Thursday, April 26, 2007

Willful squib

Adam LaRoche is uh, clutch.

Jose Bautista followed with a hit up the middle that moved Wilson to third. And Jason Bay was intentionally walked so that the Astros could face LaRoche.

Hey, why not? LaRoche came to the plate 0 for 4 on the evening, leaving him 0 for 18 at PNC Park since joining the Pirates.

Houston shortstop Adam Everett was shading well behind second base, and LaRoche noticed it. Moehler would throw him the steady diet of low-and-away sinkers he has been seeing -- and not hitting -- all season. And LaRoche was aware of that, too.

"How can you not be?" LaRoche asked.

He took a pitch, then willfully squibbed one of those sinkers right to where Everett would have been. It barely eluded Everett's backhand try to reach the outfield, and Wilson touched home to end the Pirates' longest game since the 18-inning gem they won against the same team at the same venue May 27, 2006.

"I didn't even want to stroke the ball," LaRoche said. "I just wanted to guide it right through that hole, just like a game of pepper."

That's Dejan Kovacevic on the lyre.

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