Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bucs Survive Early Onslaught, Steal 7-4 Victory

Tyler Glasnow gave up a one-out, four pitch walk to Odubel Herrera; he promptly swiped second. A bloop hit put runners at the corners, and a soft single to the opp field plated the game's first run. A comebacker was turned into a twin killing thx to a nice turn by Josh after a weak toss to stop the bleeding. Aaron Nola was tapped for a two-out two-bagger to The Notch by Cutch, and two pitches later it was tied when Starling singled Andrew home, steaming into second on the throw home, where he was left.

With one gone in the second, Freddy Galvis legged out a roller thx to replay; the throw beat him but Tyler missed the bag for an error. Odd play; Galvis hit a curve that bounced before he laid the bat to it. He stole second; Glasgow has a long, deliberate delivery. A bouncer up the middle scored the gift run. Nola whiffed trying to bunt the runner up (no diff; second was swiped shortly thereafter) and another K finished it up. The Bucs again had an answer when Josh tripled with an out and Jordy's right side bouncer scored him.

Gregory's two run knock got the Bucs rolling (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Herrera opened the third with a knock, and umm, stole second. A fly moved him to third, followed by a four pitch free pass. Then Tyler drilled Cameron Rupp in the head with a first pitch heater. Rupp left the game, thankfully under his own power, while Glasnow got his act together, coaxing a pop and grounder to leave the bases juiced. Nola worked a clean frame. Same ol' in the fourth - leadoff walk, stolen base, hit batter (the pitcher, trying to bunt) and a visit by Clint and the trainer after Glasnow went 2-1 on the next hitter. He was pulled, apparently due to injury, for Juan Nicasio who tucked Philly away. Fran beat out a grounder with two gone. Josh's whiff made three when he stopped running out a strikeout that got past the catcher, quite unlike the Bucs Energizer Bunny.

With an out in the fifth, Carlos turned a 10-pitch at bat into a knock with a looper to right. A two-gone rap  put Phils on the corners, and a third single gave Philadelphia the lead. Good response: Jordy's single and a pair of free passes juiced the sacks. Gregory's bullet to right plated two Buccos. Severino Gonzalez took over. After an out, he plunked Starling. Freeser chased in a pair of ducks with a knock to right, and Fran tacked on another tally with a sac fly to make it 7-3.

Freeser's rap gave the Bucs room to breathe (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Jared Hughes took the ball in the sixth.  He gave up a run on a triple and a couple of singles while mustering two outs. Clint gave him the hook and brought in Neftali Feliz to shut it down. Pittsburgh went down in order, their first whiff at a response inning. Neftali almost had a 1-2-3 seventh, save a dropped two-out bloop by Starling. Edubray Ramos answered the phone and tossed a quiet inning.

Tony Watson got in trouble after a dink single and infield knock with one gone in the eighth; the Phils have been extremely good at hitting where they ain't this series. But Tony ended the drama without any damage. David Hernandez took the ball. Fran got an infield knock on a dribbler thx to replay for the only dent. The Shark turned out the lights.

Neftali kept the Phils on ice (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Down to the rubber match; the Bucs just have to keep grinding out series wins during this soft spot in the slate. Count this as a stolen game. Philadelphia could have run away and hid early in the match but couldn't buy a hit to break it open.

As for Tyler Glasnow, he was as advertised - flashes of brilliance, wild, and lousy at holding runners. He's 22 and needs polished up a bit yet. Neal Huntington wasn't blowing Super 2 smoke when he said he wasn't a finished MLB product yet. We hope his shoulder isn't a thing. We've suspected - without, may we add, any verification but by eyeball - that he's overthrowing, and that's what is bugging him. Learning to trust your stuff without an added adrenaline rush is a key lesson in the maturation of a pitcher.

  • Seven different Pirates had hits (Fran was the only Bucco with two), seven scored and five drove in runs. That's a pretty balanced attack. 3-for-6 w/RISP is a good, efficient day, too, especially with just eight hits. The Pirates stranded four runners and the Phillies left 14 on the sacks. We might add that it took six pitchers to nail down the win. They were touched for eight hits in six innings, but just two runs. 
  • Tony Watson made his 198th PNC Park appearance, the most in club history.
  • The Phils five stolen bases were the most they've had in a game since 2009. That was against the Bucs, too, a contest that Philadelphia won 8-7. They swiped the sacks off three different pitchers (Ross Ohlendorf, Matt Capps & John Grabow) and C Ryan Doumit. 
  • The report on Tyler Glasnow is that he has "right shoulder discomfort."
  • The crowd today was 35,802; hope they spent their 3-1/2 hours out of the sun.
  • Ryan Vogelsong did some light throwing today after suffering from neck pain in his last rehab start. 
  • Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pirates would have to move both Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows to get the Rays to part with Chris Archer. Archer is 5-13/4.60 and has never won more than 12 games, so lots of luck, Tampa. Wrong Chris for that price.
  • Chad Kuhl was pulled after an inning at Indy today; our guess is that Tyler Glasnow will get DL'ed and Chad will be back with the big team.

Saturday: Tyler Glasnow v Aaron Nola, Lineup (AJ To Indy; Fryer A Papa, Diaz Up), Notes

Today: The game starts at 4:05 and will be carried by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. For you sports collectors, Topps is sponsoring a commemorative Andrew McCutchen baseball card giveaway.

Pitchers: Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 6.75) makes his second start of his fledgling career against Aaron Nola (5-8, 4.41) in a dandy matchup of young guns. Glasnow's first outing was bumpy. He said afterwards his usual velo was missing, along with the consistency of his wipeout curve. So we're guessing he was overthrowing a bit then and hope the butterflies have settled today. Nola opened the year with a 2.65 ERA through his first 12 starts, went through a five outing span where he was pummeled, and found his mojo again last time out against the Marlins. The Phils have lost eight of his last 10 starts, a trend the Pirates hope to continue.

Tyler on the bump (photo Jonathan Dyer/USA Today)

Lineup:  JJ 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, Freeser 3B, Fran C, Josh 2B, Jordy SS, Glasnow P. JJ is back to the head of class in the lineup after spending a couple of games in the six hole.

  • AJ Schugel was optioned to Indy to create a spot for Tyler Glasnow on the active roster. He and Jared Hughes have options remaining, so we guess AJ lost the coin flip.
  • Elias Diaz was called up today. Eric Fryer's wife gave birth to twins this morning, so he's home and on the paternity list
  • Jeff Locke has joined Jon Niese in the bullpen.
  • Jason Martinez of MLB Trade Rumors looks at nine top prospects who could become trade bait - and the name on top of his list is Indy OF'er Austin Meadows.
  • Russ Martin will miss a couple of days with a bad knee. Seems like he steamed in a sauna, took a cold shower, got light headed and fell, banging his knee. Just another reason to avoid the gym...

7/23 Happenings: TRS ASG; HBD Ginger; Bo, Loiselle, Cota, A-Ram Deals

  • 1876 - OF Ginger Beaumont was born in Rochester, Wisconsin. He played eight seasons (1899-1906) for Pittsburgh, hitting .321 with 757 runs scored and 200 stolen bases. Beaumont led the league in batting with a .357 average in 1902, and in 1903 led in at bats (613), runs (137) and hits (209) while batting .342, helping the team to earn a spot in the first World Series.
  • 1969 - After three years of low scoring games, the All Star contest at RFK Stadium featured some offense, with the NL winning 9-3. Matty Alou went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run while Roberto Clemente whiffed against Sudden Sam McDowell in his only at bat.
  • 1974 - TRS hosted the 45th All-Star Game, drawing 50,706 fans. The NL romped 7-2 with Pirate lefty Ken Brett, the Bucs only All Star, getting the win. He tossed a pair of scoreless frames, giving up a hit and a walk. It was the first of two times that the game would be played at Three Rivers Stadium, with the next played in 1994.
  • 1986 - The Bucs sent RHP Jose DeLeon to the Chicago White Sox for OF Bobby Bonilla. DeLeon had a long and workmanlike career while Bobby Bo earned four All-Star berths with the Pirates, hitting .284 with 114 HR and 500 RBI for the Pirates from 1986-91. The Pirates had originally signed Bonilla out of high school in 1981, but the White Sox claimed him in 1985’s Rule 5 draft.
  • 1996 - The Pirates traded RHP Danny Darwin to the Astros for minor league RHP Rich Loiselle. Loiselle spent his six year MLB career (1996-2001) as a Pirate and claimed 29 saves in 1997 after being converted from a starter to the pen. He finished 9-18-49, going steadily downhill after fairly strong 1997-98 campaigns. The veteran Darwin won 16 more games before hangin’ the spikes up after the 1998 season, closing out 21 years in the show.
  • 1999 - The Pirates sent OF Jose Guillen and P Jeff Sparks to Tampa Bay for Cs Joe Oliver and Humberto Cota. Guillen‚ who had 28 homers and 154 RBI in his first two seasons‚ was having a down year after arriving at spring training a month late due to visa problems. He went on to have a half dozen 20+ HR campaigns, including 31 bombs in 2003.
Humberto Cota 2000 Bowman Rookie
  • 2015 - 3B Aramis Ramirez, who began his career as a Bucco, was traded back to the ‘Burg by the Milwaukee Brewers along with cash for minor league reliever Yhonathan Barrios. A-Ram, who retired at the end of the year, filled a gap on the left side of the infield caused by injuries to Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer.

7/23 Games: Clarke Cycle, Kiner Sets HR Record, 9 In-A-Row, Banny Debut, The Rock's 5-For-5 & More...

  • 1901 - Fred Clarke hit for the cycle for the second time in his career as the Pirates whipped the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 at Exposition Park behind Jack Chesbro, who struck out 11 batters. Lefty Davis, Honus Wagner and Kitty Bransfield added three hits apiece to the 16 hit Bucco barrage.
  • 1912 - Claude Hendrix tossed a seven-hit shutout, fanning nine, and Hans Wagner singled home Chief Wilson, aboard on a leadoff double, in the bottom of the ninth to give the Bucs a hard-earned 1-0 win over the Boston Braves at Forbes Field. Honus used a little trickery; he showed bunt, then swung away. Hendrix and Braves hurler Otto Hess were in command throughout; only one runner from each squad had reached third prior to the Wilson’s run home.
Claude Hendrix (photo via
  • 1930 - The Pirates won the first game of a Baker Bowl twin bill against Philadelphia 2-1 as Heinie Meine slipped past Roy “Swede” Hanson, the match decided by a ninth inning Pie Traynor homer. The second game, twice delayed by rain, went 13 innings and ended 16-15 Pittsburgh. With darkness threatening, Traynor was again the hero, blasting a three-run shot that barely was enough to hold off the Phils, while going 5-for-7 in the nitecap. The second game set a couple of single game records: With eight total homers and nine doubles, the total bases mark of 83 was established. The other record was for the total number at bats; the two clubs combined for 117 AB.
  • 1947 - Ralph Kiner hit his 24th and 25th long balls of the year of the Phils’ Al Jurisich‚ breaking the club record of 23 set by Johnny Rizzo in 1938 and tied by Kiner in his rookie year of 1946. Pittsburgh beat Philly 6-2 at Forbes Field as Hank Greenberg also went yard.
  • 1962 - Reds pitcher Jim O'Toole lost his no-hit bid when Bob Skinner doubled with one out in the eighth inning, but still finished with a 3-0 one-hit win over the Bucs at Crosley Field.
  • 1979 - The Bucs won their ninth game in a row by a 7-1 count over the Atlanta Braves at TRS. Tim Foli went 3-for-5 with four RBI to lead the attack while Bert Blyleven tossed a four-hit complete game. The Bucs pulled off the 500th triple play in MLB history in the second inning of the nitecap when Braves’ pitcher Phil Niekro bounced into a 5-4-3, Bill Madlock-to-Phil Garner-to-Willie Stargell triple killing at TRS, but had the last laugh as he spun a two-hitter in an 8-0 Atlanta romp, ending the Bucco winning string.
Tim Foli 1979 Topps
  • 1991 - A couple of milestones: Buc bench coach Jeff Banister made his MLB debut and singled off Atlanta’s Dan Petry in his only big league at-bat. Banister was a Pirate lifer after being drafted in 1986 until landing the skipper job in Texas. In the same game, rookie John "Rock" Wehner, now a Root Sports broadcaster, went 5-for-5 to become the first 'Burgh rookie since Richie Zisk in 1973 to collect five hits. The Bucs beat the Atlanta Braves 12-3 at TRS; Gary Redus and Spanky LaValliere combined to drive in seven runs while Redus and Bobby Bonilla homered.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Buc Bats, Bullpen Falter In 4-0 Loss

Cole Train whiffed the first two Phils on six pitches; his slider is dirty. Then he bopped the third, catching him on the wrist, and that was followed by a knock. Gerrit got out of it with a tapper; nice to see a zero in the opening frame. with two gone, Zach Eflin evened up by drilling Cutch in the hip. Eflin took a step off the mound toward Andrew, but ump Tony Randozza kept the peace and warned both benches. Peter Bourjos made a nice snag of Starling's liner to finish the frame.

Gerrit had one frame where nothing went right in an otherwise strong outing (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

After a whiff to start the second, Freddy Galvis banged a two-bagger. He stole third an out later and was left there. JJ doubled to start the Bucs; for some reason, he tried to steal third with the predictable result, breaking too soon and being nailed by the pitcher. Prob no diff; Fran and JHK fanned behind him. The Phils got back-to-back one-out knocks in the third, but a 6-4-3 DP doused the flames. Josh opened with an infield rap. Gerrit couldn't bunt him over, and it cost after a Jordy DP ball. Cole Train tossed a clean fourth, and so did Eflin.

Gerrit kept dealing in the fifth, helped by sweet stop and jump-throw by Jordy to catch the speedy Bourjos. Eflin also had no probs, with Odubel Herrera stole extra bases from JHK at the wall in LCF. Quite the duel is going on at PNC, with the leather backing the pitchers' good work. An infield single off the bag by Herrera opened the sixth, then Blanco (who took Franco's place) was barely nicked on an 0-2 pitch, followed by a four-pitch walk. Cameron Rupp's dink dropped just in front of a diving Gregory to plate a run. Cole got tough after that, rearing back for a pair of whiffs and a fly. It was 1-2-3 for the Pirates.

In the seventh, the third out proved elusive to Arquimedes Caminero. A double and single chased home another tally, followed by a third HBP. Jared Hughes came in and walked his only hitter. Jon Niese finally closed the gate, leaving the bases jammed with Phils. The Bucs didn't have an answer in their half. In the eighth, Niese served an 0-2 pitch right down the middle and Galvis ripped his second double. Jon left him stranded. JJ singled to lead off, the Pirates first hit since the third inning. A roller moved him up a station, where he died.

JJ had two of three Pirate hits (photo Joe Guzzy/Pirates)

The game got away in the ninth. Niese surrendered a one-out single and a two-out, first pitch homer on a center cut heater to Rupp, making it 4-0. The big question was could Eflin toss a Maddux (CG shutout in under 100 pitches). He couldn't - it took him 12 pitches to sit down the Bucs, giving him 100 on the night.

Cole looked much sahrper tonight, except for a Murphy's Law sixth inning. The pen gave up three runs in three innings - all with two outs - and the Bucs managed just three hits. Eflin pitched well and deserves his props, but the Pirates weren't very patient and did nada when they got a pitch in the hitting zone. The offense has been mostly in the doldrums since the ASB; it may be time to play Freeser every day, drop Cutch down in the order (and we realize that he'll have to buy into that) and get Frazier/Joyce some more at bats (June/July - Josh .205, JHK .224) until the bats start cracking. Maybe even take a look at that Bell kid...

  • John Jaso had two of three Bucco knocks. Pittsburgh didn't draw a walk. 
  • The middle of the Phils order (2-through-5) went 9-for-15 and scored/drove in all four runs.
  • Maikel Franco left the game for "precautionary reasons" in the third after catching a Cole pitch on the wrist in the first frame.
  • 33,703 attended tonight's contest.
  • C Erik Kratz opted for free agency after clearing waivers rather than accept an assignment to Indy.
  • Altoona's Harold Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

Friday: Cole Train v Zach Eflin, Lineup, Notes, Preview

Tonight: The series opens at 7:05 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. It's also free tee Friday.

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.11) takes on Zach Eflin (2-3, 4.14). Cole Train is looking to get back on the fast track after a slow start following his visit to the DL. Gerrit Cole is winless over his last five mound trips, but beat the Phillies twice last season while allowing three earned runs, and sports a career mark of 3-1, 2.31 against them in four lifetime starts. Elfin will be making his seventh MLB start tonight, and throws a four seamer, two seamer, change and slider. The Phillies acquired Eflin, 22, from Los Angeles in the Jimmy Rollins trade. He was the 33rd overall pick by San Diego in the 2012 draft and pitched well in AAA, so he has some pedigree. The 6' 6" rookie was pounded in his first start, but settled in nicely since then. He's posted a 2.56 ERA in his last six outings and has gotten at least into the sixth frame.

Cole Train opens the Philly series (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Lineup: Jordy SS, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, JJ 1B, Fran C, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Josh 2B, Cole P. Well, guess Jaso is out of the leadoff spot for the time being, bumped by Jordy, who is batting in the top spot against RHP for the first time. JHK gets some innings as Freeser takes a seat.

Preview: The Phillies come to town with a gang of young arms providing decent pitching, but backed by a sputtering attack. They've lost 4-of-5 while the Pirates have taken 12-of-17. The Bucco offense hasn't kicked it into high gear since the ASB either, so this series could be another grinder with the potential for some low-scoring matches. The three Philadelphia starters are wet behind the ears but have shown flashes of promise. In fact, with Glasnow and Taillon following on after tonight, Cole will be the mound Methuselah during this clambake. Last year, the Bucs were 5-2 against their cross-state rivals, sweeping the Phils at PNC and splitting a four-game set at Citizens Park.

  • Jordy is riding a six-game hitting streak, another reason he's hitting leadoff.
  • @Elias Sports stat: The Bucs have won 122 straight when leading after eight innings, the longest stretch in team history, topping the old standard of 112 in 1904-05.
  • Chris Shubert of MLB Daily Dish looks at the Central Division trade possibilities; he seems to think it will be pretty quiet. 
  • The Pirates Charity Night auction is tonight.
  • Phils manager Pete Mackanin got his start as Lloyd McClelland's bench coach. After Lloyd was fired, Pete served as the Pirates' interim manager for the last month of 2005, leading the team to a 12–14 record.

7/22 Happenings: HBD Mooney, Elmer, RC, Denny & Ryan, Deals, Grilli On SI...

  • 1880 - C George “Mooney” Gibson was born in London, Canada. He played a dozen years for the Bucs (1905-16) as a defense-first catcher, batting .238 but tossing out 949 runners. He had a 46% throw-out rate back in the days when baseball was a go-go league - 1,101 runners actually did steal off him against the Pirates. He was durable, too, once catching 140 straight games. Mooney finished his career as a NY Giant and later returned to Pittsburgh as a manager, first in 1920-22, then from 1932-34, finishing second three times with a record of 401-330. Gibson was the first baseball player elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Per Wiki, his nickname may have been inspired by his round, moon-shaped face, though other sources claim he picked it up because he had played on a sandlot team known as the Mooneys.
Mooney Gibson 1908 (photo Bain News Service/Library of Congress)
  • 1885 - LHP Elmer Knetzer was born in Carrick. He tossed for the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League from 1914-15 with a 38-26/2.73 slash, with six years in the NL sandwiched on either end of that stint. Knetzer was the first active player to jump from the NL to the FL after Brooklyn lowballed him during contract time. He went by “Pretzel” and “The Baron” - Pretzel because of the way his curveball twisted, while Baron goes unexplained. He stayed a hometown boy, and when he died in 1975, he was buried in St Wendelin’s Cemetery in Carrick.
  • 1911 - The Pirates paid St. Paul of the American Association $22‚500 for RHP Marty O'Toole‚ the most expensive purchase of a player to that date. Barney Dreyfuss spent another $5‚000 for his battery mate Bill Kelly. In 1912‚ O'Toole went 15-17 and lead the NL with 159 walks and was out of Pittsburgh by 1914, winning a total of 26 games while walking 300 batters in 599-1/3 IP. Kelly was a reserve catcher, hitting .290 for Pittsburgh and out of MLB after 1913.
  • 1934 - 1B RC Stevens was born in Moultrie, Georgia. The 6’5” slugger was signed out of Moultrie HS, but one-trick stick never translated in the show. As a back up, he hit decently, with a .260 BA and eight homers in 108 PA from 1958-60, getting into 71 games. He couldn’t outpace Ted Kluszewski, Dick Stuart and Rocky Nelson in the first base race.
RC Stevens circa 1958 (photo via SABR)
  • 1939 - Girls baseball never caught on in Pittsburgh, but softball was red hot here. The Duquesne Gardens hosted a pair of games touted as “Girls Indoor Baseball” (never mind that it was softball) on back-to-back days with the championship New York City Roverettes going against the Pittsburgh All-Stars. Pittsburgh won the opener 2-1 behind SS Ann Giaciach, who had four hits, but was thumped in the rematch 10-1.
  • 1963 - Utilityman Denny Gonzalez was born in Sabana Grande de Boya, Dominican Republic. He played parts of four seasons as a Buc (1984-88) but never spent a full campaign on the active roster, hitting .206.
  • 1977 - RHP Ryan Vogelsong was born in Charlotte, NC. He worked five years for the Pirates (2001, 2003-06), going 10-19 with a 6.00 ERA. He took a hiatus to Japan, but came back in 2011 to his original team, the SF Giants, and pitched strong ball for the G-Men, earning an All-Star spot in 2011. He rejoined the club in 2016 as a long man/spot starter, missing a large chunk of the campaign after a brutal beaning in the eye area.
  • 1988 - In a swap of outfielders, Pittsburgh sent Darnell Coles to Seattle for Glenn Wilson. Wilson spent 1988-89 as a Buc, returning again for his 1993 swan song, getting into 147 games, and was solid, hitting .274 with 11 HR. Coles spent 1987-88 as a Pirate, also smacking 11 homers but hitting just .230 in 108 games.
Glenn Wilson scores v Cubs in 1989 (photo Mark Elias/AP)
  • 2003 - The Pirates traded 3B Aramis Ramirez, OF Kenny Lofton, and cash to the Cubs for SS Jose Hernandez, P Matt Bruback, and 2B Bobby Hill in Dave Littlefield's darkest day of salary dumping. It was speculated that P Kris Benson, not Ramirez, was who the Cubs were after, but he missed his prior start with “shoulder discomfort” so Chicago passed on him.
  • 2009 - The Pirates traded Adam LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox for two minor leaguers, SS Argenis Diaz and RHP Hunter Strickland. LaRoche has remained in the show, while Diaz played for Pittsburgh briefly in 2010 and Hunter is up-and-down with the Giants.
  • 2013 - Jason Grilli was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the poster boy for Ben Reiter’s story “The Strangest But Truest Story: The Playoff Bound Pirates and Their Sharknado Bullpen.” It was purely coincidental that Grilled Cheese was injured pitching the same day, put on the DL, and out of action until September 3rd. It was also the first time in 21 years, since Barry Bond’s 1992 appearance, that a Pirate graced the cover of SI.

7/22 Games: Ginger 6-for-6, Deacon Does It All, Double Dip For Teke, Long Balls & More...

  • 1899 - The Pirates rolled over the Philadelphia Quakers by an 18-4 count at Exposition Park. OF Ginger Beaumont went 6-for-6 at leadoff, scoring six times, without hitting a ball out of the infield. Rookie second baseman Jimmy Williams drove in three runs with a pair of triples.
  • 1910 - Deacon Phillippe hit a second inning inside-the-park grand slam off Brooklyn’s Fred Miller as part of a 14-1 win at Washington Park. Mel Stottlemyre was the next pitcher to hit an inside the park grannie - in 1965! The Pirates swept the Superbas in a four-game set. Phillippe was the first Bucs hurler to clear the bases; there are only five in franchise history with grand slams.
Deacon Phillippe 1910 American Caramel
  • 1939 - Boston committed seven errors in a 9-3 loss to the Bucs at Braves Field, allowing five unearned runs to cross the plate. One frustrated Bee’s fan jumped out of the stands and took a swing at Braves’ catcher Al Lopez after he dropped a popup. But it wasn’t entirely bad glovework. The Bucs also banged out 13 hits, led by Lee Handley’s 3-for-4 effort. Chuck Klein ran his hitting streak to 21 games with a 2-for-5 performance before the Bees stopped him the next day.
  • 1964 - Pittsburgh scored four runs in the first and never looked back as they whipped the St. Louis Cardinals 13-2 at Busch Stadium. Bill Mazeroski knocked in five runs with a double and homer while Willie Stargell hit for the cycle with four runs scored and three more driven in. Jerry Lynch also went yard and added three ribbies as Bob Veale cruised to victory.
  • 1979 - Kent Tekulve saved both ends of a doubleheader as the Pirates swept the Braves 5-4 and 3-2 at TRS. Teke scattered four hits over three scoreless innings in the first game of a twin bill, closing out Don Robinson’s win (which Robinson helped along with two RBI and a run scored), then tossed the final inning in relief of Jim Bibby (who was also a hitting hero with a two-run homer) in the second game for his 15th and 16th saves of the year.
Teke Topps Gypsy Queen
  • 1993 - The Bucs scored four times in the ninth to rally past the Braves 8-7 at TRS. Jay Bell drove in the first run in the final frame, and with two outs, Dave Clark’s single got the Bucs within a run. The next hitter, Kevin Young, dropped a soft liner into right-center, plating Lloyd McClendon and Clark, who scored all the way from first, to give Blas Minor the victory.
  • 2009 - The Pirates used a season-high five home runs to hold off the Brewers 8-7 at PNC Park. Brandon Moss went long in the ninth off Mitch Stettler for his first walk-off homer; Ryan Doumit added a pair of blasts while Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones each had one. Delwyn Young and Jones had three hits apiece. Paul Maholm started and was chased in the fifth after giving up all seven runs; Joel Hanrahan, John Grabow and eventual winner Matt Capps shut the gate afterward.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Frankie's 13-K, Joyce's 4-RBI Lead Bucs To 5-3 Rubber Match Win

Nice touch; the Bucs opened the game with a moment of silence for Chilly Billy Cardille. And there was a late change in the lineup: Gregory will play LF and Matt Joyce right as Starling was scratched with the flu.

Good Frankie in the first with a pair of whiffs, tho he was deep in the count to all three Brewers. Gregory drew a one-out walk off Matt Garza; ditto for Cutch. Matt Joyce, subbing for sick puppy Starling, lined a heater over the Clemente Wall and the Bucs were off and running. JJ doubled with two down and was wild pitched to third but got no closer. The Brew Crew managed a single in the second  while the Pirates went down without a peep.

Matt Joyce did the heavy lifting with four RBI.

Francisco collected another pair of punch outs to start the third, then made his first goof of the night, trying to blow an 0-2 heater (96 MPH but center cut) past Jonathan Villar, who drilled it out of the yard. Pittsburgh answered. Gregory opened with a knock and kept on going to second when the ball was misplayed. Cutch followed with a ripped single to puts Bucs on the corners. A right side bouncer by Joyce brought a run home before Freeser's 4-6-3 DP closed the shop. It was a clean fourth for Liriano. With two gone, Eric Fryer dropped a soft single to right and Frankie followed with another rap. Fraze kept the parade going with a RBI single and Gregory added a knock to load 'em up before a Cutch pop up ended the fun at 5-1.

Frankie cruised through the fifth. His line so far is one run on two hits, no walks and nine K after 70 pitches. The Bucs went quietly. Not as quietly as the Brewers in the sixth, though - Filthy Frankie struck out the side swinging. Jhan Marinez tossed a clean frame.

Ryan Braun opened the seventh with a fisted roller into right, and a wild pitch moved him to second. After a K, Frankie hung a 3-2 change and Hernan Perez banged it for a run-scoring knock, taking second when the bag was left uncovered. That hurt; Frankie tossed away a pick off throw, and that combined with a bouncer made it 5-3 on the gift-wrapper tally. Neftali came on to get the final out as Frankie was at 103 tosses. Cutch legged out a bleeder with two gone, then Matt Joyce walked, with Josh coming in to run for him, but Freeser's fly to right kept the scorekeeper sitting.

Gregory had two hits, drew a walk and scored twice.

Starling Marte (must be feeling better) went to left, Josh to second, S-Rod to first and Tony Watson took the hill in the eighth. He gave up an opening single, then threw away a grounder that had twin killing written all over it. A bunt put Brewers at second and third. A pop up left it up to Watson v Braun, and Tony won, getting a roll-over grounder to short to escaped unscathed. Blaine Boyer took the ball and gave up a one-out knock to Jordy. Fryer's hit-and-run single send Mercer to third. No help; S-Rod had the green light on a 3-0 pitch and grounded into an around-the-horn DP. The Shark put it to bed.

That's the way to take it during this schedule underbelly, a series at a time. So step one was taken. And if Frankie is rounding into shape, and his last two outings have been strong, the Pirates pitching, once Cole Train knocks off the rust, looks to be ready for a stretch run.

  • Gregory, Cutch, & Eric Fryer led the 11-hit attack with a pair of knocks apiece.
  • This is the 25th time in Frankie's career that he's struck out 10 or more batters in a game. The big lefty punched out 13 tonight; his career high is 15. Liriano's 13 strikeouts without a walk are the second-most by a Pirates pitcher in a game in the last 100 years (Jose DeLeon, 14-0, in 1985) per @ESPNStatsInfo.
  • Jordy has a six-game hitting streak.
  • Tony Watson made his 197th career outing at PNC Park, tied with John Grabow for the most in the park's 15-year history.
  • If you were curious about why the Bucs were in camo, it had nothing to do with the RNC. They hosted Heroes Supporting Heroes, a military support group that received tonight's 50-50 take. It should have been a nice pot; there were 35,978 fans jammed into PNC.
  • Indy's Trevor Williams continues to be on fire. He went eight shutout IP, giving up three hits, walking none and whiffing five. He won 1-0; Lobster came in to earn the save.
  • Ryan Vogelsong is in town for an exam. He pulled himself after four innings at Altoona yesterday with neck tightness. 
  • Curve OF Harold Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games tonight.

Thursday: Frankie v Matt Garza, Lineup

Tonight: The game starts at 7:05 and will be carried on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. It'll be Fireworks Night at the ballyard, certainly due to the Zambrelli Brothers and maybe because of the pitching matchup.This is the rubber match; the winner takes the series.

Pitchers: Francisco Liriano (5-9, 5.11) closes the Brewer set against Matt Garza (1-3, 5.74). Frankie has shown improvement the last couple of outings; hopefully he's building toward a dog days comeback. Garza's hit hard times lately - he's allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last four starts, and owns a 1.72 WHIP. Unfortunately for Matt and the Brewers, that pretty much matches last year's performance. So the Bucs should get plenty of chances, and maybe tonight they'll start cashing them in a little more urgently.

(Frankie looks to capture some second half lightning (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, David Freese 3B, JJ 1B, Jordy SS, Eric Fryer C, Frankie P. Fraze bumps and icy Jaso from leadoff (it's only the second time this season that JJ's started and not hit first) plus it gives Josh a blow.