Morton eats innings, but saves bite for Guerra
Young right-hander debuts after 10 years in Minors
PITTSBURGH -- After recording only two outs in a disastrous outing last time out, Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton did his best to eat up innings in the Pirates' 8-4 win Saturday at PNC Park. But he saved a special bite for Deolis Guerra.
Morton bounced back from his two-out, nine-run performance against the Nationals as he held the Braves to four runs over six innings. He overcame a 15-minute delay to start the game and a 31-minute rain delay in the fifth inning. Morton let eight batters reach in his first 2 1/3 innings, then retired 11 straight.
"He pitched well. He had to pitch today," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He gave us a good start, a really good start."
Morton mixed his curveball and changeup in with his sinker more often than usual. He felt good enough to come out for the seventh, but he left after serving up a three-run double to Jace Peterson.
"I felt like I threw the ball well until I went back out there for the seventh," Morton said. "I felt good."
Not quite as good as Guerra, though. The 26-year-old, who spent parts of 10 seasons in the Minors without ever cracking the Majors, finally got his chance in the ninth inning.
There have been times that Guerra, called up Friday, didn't think he would ever reach the Majors. So he was still a little shocked when he heard his name called in the bullpen.
"But then I was just doing what I love, pitching," Guerra said.
He fielded a popup bunt for his first out, then gave up a double. Pitching coach Ray Searage visited the mound, telling Guerra to relax.
Guerra struck out Peterson and induced a ground ball for the last out, a moment Hurdle said "gives you goosebumps."
"It was pretty amazing. So many emotions going on at the same time," Guerra said. "I can't even explain it. It was so cool. I just feel blessed."