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2009 Pittsburgh Pirates
Major league affiliations
2009 information
Owner(s) Robert Nutting
General manager(s) Neal Huntington
Manager(s) John Russell
Local television FSN Pittsburgh
Local radio WPGB
Steve Blass
Greg Brown
Tim Neverett
Bob Walk
John Wehner

The 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates season was a season in American baseball. It is the 128th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 123rd in Major League Baseball (MLB).[1] The season is the franchise's second season under the management of John Russell.[2] With this season, the Pirates became the first franchise in professional sports to have a losing record in 17 consecutive seasons, passing the Philadelphia Phillies of 1933-1948 with 16.



The organization fired pitching coach Jeff Andrews and first-base coach Lou Frazier the day after the 2008 season concluded,[3][4] but are expected to retain the rest of the staff through 2009.[5] In October 2008, Joe Kerrigan—previously of the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies—was hired as the new pitching coach,[6][7] while Perry Hill became the first base coach.[8] On November 24, the Pirates signed Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh of India.[9] The pair participated in the Million Dollar Arm, a contest held in their home country to discover who out of the 30,000 contestants had the strongest, most accurate arm.[10] Having never heard of baseball prior to 2007, both Patel and Singh can throw over 90mph. The pair will participate at spring training.[11] Management plans to keep closer observations of players' off-season workouts.[12]

Pirates' radio announcer of 33 years, Lanny Frattare, retired prior to the season.[13][14] Tim Neverett, formerly of Fox Sports Rocky Mountain, was selected to replace him after a search of approximately 200 candidates.[15][16] In January 2009, the team held its sixth PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The three day event was attended by 15,127 people, and increased the number of season ticket packages purchased from the 2008 season.[17] President Frank Coonelly stated that the team had fallen behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins from a "marketing and business perspective," but are "...working hard to get ourselves back up to where we belong both in Major League Baseball and Pittsburgh."[18] The Pirates added sleeves to their uniform, and added an alternate uniform with a gold-colored P on the chest which will be worn during select games.[19]

Spring training

"It's time for us as an organization and our players to realize that losing is not acceptable. It's not an acceptable way of life for a Pirate."

John Russell[20]

The Pirates pre-season schedule consisted of 35 games in Bradenton, Florida, including two evening games and a game against the Netherlands national baseball team.[21] When pitchers and catchers reported on February 13, three of twelve pitching positions were set: starter Paul Maholm, set-up man John Grabow, and closer Matt Capps.[22] The Pirates entered spring training with 21 of 40 different players from 2008 spring training;[23] among those were Eric Hinske, Ramon Vasquez, and Jason Jaramillo who were acquired during the off-season.[20] Beginning March 5, Ian Snell, Ramon Vazquez, and John Grabow represented their countries in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.[24] The Pirates finished spring training with a 17–15 record. "It gives us some confidence," said John Russell, "We worked hard all spring."[25] The Pirates opening day salary was US$50,984,000.[26] The Pirates finalized their opening day roster two days prior to the season opener (asterik noting new players for the 2009 season):[27]

Starting pitchers
Relief pitchers

Regular season



The Pirates opened the season with a 6–4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, scoring four runs in the final inning to win their third consecutive come-from-behind opening day game.[28] The Pirates had 17 hits two games later to beat the Cardinals 7–4,[29] but were held to one hit the next day and split their opening series two games to two.[30] Rain shortened the Pirates' series in Cincinnati to two games; Pittsburgh won the first game 10–2 after Ryan Doumit hit his first career grand slam in the final inning.[31] On April 13, the Pirates completed the league's first triple play of the season and the Pirates' first in 16 years; however, they lost the game 2–0.[32] In the team's home opener on April 13, Zach Duke pitched a complete game shutout, as the Pirates defeated the Houston Astros, 7–0.[33] In the game, both the Pirates and the Astros wore Pittsburgh Police hats in honor of three officers who were shot and killed on April 4.[34] The pre-game ceremonies honored the officers, as well as former Pirates pitcher and current broadcaster Steve Blass for this 50th season with the team, and included a flyover by four Apache helicopters from the 114th Attack Battalion of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.[35] In the first Saturday afternoon game in Pittsburgh since 2005, Craig Monroe hit two three-run home runs in consecutive innings to give the Pirates their first back-to-back victories of the season.[36] On April 21, catcher Ryan Doumit announced that surgery was needed to fix a broken bone in his wrist, and that he would miss eight to ten weeks.[37] Later in the day, the Pirates beat the Florida Marlins 3–2, taking them two games above .500 since the first series of the 2007 season.[38] The following day the Pirates swept the Marlins for the first time since 2005, giving Pittsburgh their best start through 15 games since 2002.[39] The Pirates took two games out of three against the San Diego Padres,[40] before closing April by getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers.[41] Andy LaRoche hit safely in a career high 11 games during the later part of the month.[42]

Pittsburgh finished the month with an 11–10 record—the first time since 2002 that the team was over .500 at April's end.[42] The team was tied for third place in the NL Central division, four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals who finished the month with the league's best record.[43] The pitching staff posted a league-low 3.41 earned run average (ERA), due in part to first-year pitching coach Joe Kerrigan teaching pitchers to base pitches on hitters tendencies.[44]


The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Pirates in two games out of three at PNC Park to open May.[45] The concluding two games of the homestand saw the Pirates lose their 16 and 17th consecutive games to the Milwaukee Brewers—the second longest streak of any team over another in MLB history.[46] The Pirates were swept during a two game series in St. Louis—the losses extended Pittsburgh's losing streak to five consecutive road games and nine out of their past ten overall.[47] The Pirates were swept by the New York Mets in their first series at New York's Citi Field, extending their losing streak to eight consecutive games.[48] The Pirates returned home to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in two out of three games.[49] On May 13, Adam LaRoche became the first player in MLB history to have a home run taken away due to instant replay, during a procedure put into effect in August 2008.[50] The Pirates concluded their homestand by taking two games out of three against the Colorado Rockies—finishing their homestand with a 4–2 record. In the final game of the Rockies's series Pittsburgh scored ten runs in one inning for the first time since August 2003.[51] The Pirates won three out of four games against the Washington Nationals, extending their winning streak to five games.[52] The Pirates continued their road trip with six games in Chicago—becoming the first team in MLB history to play the Cubs and White Sox in back-to-back series.[53] After losing their first two games of the first interleague series of the season against the White Sox, Jack Wilson hit his first home run of the year to tie the final game of the series with two outs in the final inning; Nyjer Morgan scored the winning run later in the inning.[54] On May 25, Freddy Sanchez became the first Pirate to acquire six hits in one game since Wally Backman in 1990, as the Pirates defeated the Cubs.[55] The Pirates lost two out of three games against the Cubs, scoring a total of three runs in their losses.[56] The Pirates concluded the month by losing two games out of three to the Houston Astros. Nate McLouth hit a home run to lead off the final game of the month, but the Pirates score any other runs, losing 2–1.[57] Throughout May the Pirates accumulated a 11–17 record, finishing 20–28 overall for the season. The team was in fifth place in the National League Central division.[58]


The Pirates began the month with a four-game series against the New York Mets, although it was shortened to three games when the June 3 game was postponed. The Pirates won all three games that were played. On June 4, the Pirates traded All Star Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for three minor league players, including future starting pitcher Charlie Morton. Later in the day, the team promoted outfielder Andrew McCutchen from AAA Indianapolis[59], who became the team's regular starting center fielder. The Pirates then dropped two of three to the Astros in Houston, and two of four to the Atlanta Braves before returning home for the start of Interleague play. They took two games from the Tigers before going on another road series, first to Minnesota (where they only won one game), and then to Colorado (where they were swept). They then came back home to win two of three against both the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals. In the game against the Royals on June 26, starting pitcher Virgil Vasquez earned his first win in his major league debut. The Pirates then played a three game series against Chicago which stretched into July, which they lost two games to three. On June 30, starting center fielder Nyjer Morgan and relief pitcher Sean Burnett were traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan was put on the starting roster immediately, but Milledge was forced to go through a series of rehab-starts in AAA Indianapolis before being called up, due to an existing injury.


The Pirates lost the first game of the month against the Cubs, then played the Mets in the make-up of the postponed June 3 game. They lost 9-8 in 10 innings, despite having tied up the game off of All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez. The Pirates then went to Florida to face the Marlins, and lost two games to three. They fared no better on their trip to Houston, where they also won only one game, and then they were swept by the Phillies in their next series. On July 17, in the first of a three game series against the San Francisco Giants, reliever Evan Meek picked up his first win of the season in a 14-inning game. They also won the next game, though they would lose the series finale. On July 20, in the first of a three-game series against the Brewers, the benches were cleared in eighth inning when Milwaukee pitcher Chris Smith hit Pittsburgh reliever Jeff Karstens with a pitch. The Pirates won that game 8-5, and the series 2-1. Their next road trip took them to Atlanta, where they dropped three of five, and then to San Francisco, where they were swept. Before the final game of the series on July 29, the Pirates traded veteran shortstop Jack Wilson to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for future starting shortstop Ronny Cedeño and four Minor League players. After the game, the Pirates traded three-time All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez to the Giants for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson. On July 31, the Pirates returned home for a four-game series against the Nationals which stretched into August.


Though they won the games on both July 31 and August 1, the Pirates lost the next two games to split the series 2-2. This started an eight-game losing streak, against the Nationals, the Diamondbacks, and the Cardinals, which ended August 11 when the Pirates defeated the Rockies in Colorado. They lost the next two against the Rockies, and the next two against the Cubs. The August 16 game in Chicago was postponed because of rain. Returning home, the Pirates swept the Brewers and took two of three from the Reds and Phillies. The Pirates didn't win a game the rest of the month, being swept by the Brewers and the Reds in a series stretching into September.


The Pirates opened the month of September losing both games in a doubleheader against the Reds. They then returned home to play the Cardinals, against whom they won one game out of three. They then lost the first game of a three-game series against the Cubs, giving them their 82nd loss, and setting the record for most consecutive losing seasons in any sport since the 1933-1948 Philadelphia Phillies.[60]

Game log

  • Green background represents win
  • Red background represents loss
2009 Game log

Divisional standings

NL Central
W L Pct. GB Home Road
St. Louis Cardinals 91 71 .562 46–35 45–36
Chicago Cubs 83 78 .516 46–34 37–44
Milwaukee Brewers 80 82 .494 11 40–41 40–41
Cincinnati Reds 78 84 .481 13 40–41 38–43
Houston Astros 74 88 .457 17 44–37 30–51
Pittsburgh Pirates 62 99 .385 28½ 40–41 22–58

Record vs. opponents

Arizona 3–4 2–1 1–5 6–6 5–3 5–4 5–7 2–2 5–2 1–5 6–1 7–5 4–8 2–4 1–5 5–10
Atlanta 4–3 4–2 3–3 4–4 6–6 1–2 4–3 3–3 7–5 9–6 3–4 3–3 3–4 1–2 7–4 7–8
Chicago 1–2 2–4 8–4 2–4 4–3 9–6 3–5 10-7 2–1 1–5 6–2 4–5 1–1 5–8 5–2 6–9
Cincinnati 5–1 3–3 4–8 0–3 1–1 7–3 1–5 8–7 2–4 2–5 6–4 1–6 3–3 6–7 3–4 6–9
Colorado 6–6 4–4 4–2 3–0 2–4 2–5 3–12 3–0 1–3 2–4 6–3 8–4 7–8 4–0 6–0 11–4
Florida 3–5 6–6 3–4 1–1 4–2 4–3 3–3 3–4 7–5 5–7 2–4 4–2 3–4 1–2 9–3 10–8
Houston 4–5 2–1 6–9 3–7 5–2 3–4 4–3 5–7 1–2 0–0 8–4 6–1 2–4 5–7 3–3 6–9
Los Angeles 7–4 3–4 5–3 5–1 12–3 3–3 3–4 3–3 5–1 4–3 3–0 9–4 7–5 2–5 1–1 9–9
Milwaukee 2–2 3–3 7-10 7–8 0–3 4–3 7–5 3–3 3–3 4–3 9–5 2–4 3–3 5–4 5–3 5–10
New York 2–5 5–7 1–2 4–2 3–1 5–7 2–1 1–5 3–3 5–9 4–3 2–5 5–3 4–5 8–4 5–10
Philadelphia 5–1 6–9 5–1 5–2 4–2 7–5 0–0 3–4 3–4 9–5 4–2 5–2 1–3 4–1 10–2 6–12
Pittsburgh 1–6 4–3 2–6 4–6 3–6 4–2 4–8 0–3 5–9 3–4 2–4 2–1 2–4 4–8 5–3 8–7
San Diego 5–7 3–3 5–4 6–1 4–8 2–4 1–6 4–9 4–2 5–2 2–5 1–2 7–5 1–6 2–2 5–10
San Francisco 8–4 4–3 2–4 3–3 8–7 4–3 4–2 5–7 5-4 3–5 4–3 4–2 5–7 4–3 4–2 9–6
St. Louis 4–2 2–1 8–5 7–6 0–4 2–1 7–5 5–2 4–5 5–4 1–4 8–4 6–1 3–4 6–1 9–6
Washington 5–1 4–7 2–5 4–3 0–6 3–9 3–3 1–1 3–5 4–8 2–10 3–5 2–2 2–4 1–6 7–11

Through September 28, 2009


2009 Pittsburgh Pirates
Pitchers Catchers






April 15, 2009[61] To Los Angeles Dodgers
Two players TBA or cash considerations
To Pittsburgh Pirates
Delwyn Young
June 3, 2009[62] To Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth
To Pittsburgh Pirates
Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton
June 30, 2009[63] To New York Yankees
Eric Hinske
To Pittsburgh Pirates
Casey Erickson, Eric Fryer
June 30, 2009[64] To Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett
To Pittsburgh Pirates
Lastings Milledge, Joel Hanrahan
July 29, 2009[65] To Seattle Mariners
Jack Wilson, Ian Snell
To Pittsburgh Pirates
Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, Nathan Adcock
July 29, 2009[66] To San Francisco Giants
Freddy Sanchez
To Pittsburgh Pirates
Tim Alderson


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External links


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