Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bucs Break Out The Broom

Good start for the Zachster; a two-out single to Chris Young was the only damage. Maybe the Bucs have another nine-spot stuck up their sleeves...

Maybe they do; McCutch whacked his sixteenth homer to lead off the Bucco first off Daniel Hudson. He settled down, but the Duke had a lead to work with. He gave up a bloop single in the second; so far, so good. Bowker led off with a dink single to right, and stayed there.

For the third straight inning, a D-Back reached with one out; this time it was Stephen Drew on 1B'man Bowker's error. But a rarity occurred; he was caught stealing by Dewey; it helped that Drew stopped halfway to second and tried to get back to first; the play went 2-4-3. The Pirates went down in order in their half.

By the fourth, the hidden vigorish had caught up; the first batter, Chris Young, reached on a walk, after falling behind in the count 1-2. An out later, Adam LaRoche doubled to right to bring him home. An out after that, John Hester doubled to left to plate LaRoche. A Searage talk and fly to center ended the inning.

Pittsburgh went down in order; that's nine in a row for Hudson. The pitching trends are working against the Pirates at this point. But the Zachster tried to get Big Mo to rejoin the Bucs; he retired the D-Backs in order in the fifth. Hudson did the same to the Pirates; his change has been a pretty effective out pitch today.

Duke has out together a little seven-out streak himself after retiring Arizona in the sixth. Jose Tabata broke Hudson's streak of thirteen in a row with a one-out double. Walker rolled out to first, advancing JT a station, but Pedro K'ed for the second time this afternoon.

The Zachster kept mowing them down; he's notched ten straight D-Backs after seven frames. Bowker drew a one-out walk, and a new pitcher; Sam Demel came in for Hudson. Hudson went 6-1/3 innings, giving up three hits, two walks, and striking out six. His only run surrendered was the lead-off homer to McCutch.

Demel threw one pitch, a fastball to Brandon Moss, who banged it to LaRoche for a 3-6-3 DP.

Duke wasn't as lucky; with one out, he gave up a homer to center off the bat of Ryan Roberts, his second of the year. Joel Hanrahan came on. The Zachster went 7-1/3, yielding three runs on six hits with a walk and five K's. Hanny whiffed his two batters.

Aaron Heilman took over in the eighth; Ronny Cedeno legged out an infield single. Garrett Jones pinch hit; he K'ed. McCutch singled on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. JT hit into a force, hustling down the line to avoid a DP on a hard hit shot, bringing home RC and cutting the lead to one.

Walker, batting RH, got a 3-1, 93 MPH fastball over the middle, knee-high, and belted it into the bullpen for his twelfth homer; the Bucs were up 4-3. The Pittsburgh Kid has regained his eye now that he's back home and eating mom's cooking.

That was it for Heilman; Mike Hampton got the nod to face Pedro, and he got him to bounce to second. Evan Meek came on ISO his third save; it was easy as 1-2-3.

So the Bucs get a well-deserved day off, and won a pretty well played game today. That's three in a row, matching their longest winning streak of the year. It's also their first series sweep since May.

Paul Maholm and Jake Westbrook will pick it up Tuesday night at PNC as St. Louis comes to town.

-- Joel Hanrahan and Zach Duke are tied for the team lead in strikeouts after today with 92 apiece. Hanrahan has worked 64-2/3 innings; Duke has 150 innings under his belt.

-- John Bowker is getting a hand from the baseball gods. With Garrett Jones and Lastings Milledge out with injuries, he'll have a great opportunity to showcase himself to JR and the FO. He'll get a better look at first than he could have hoped for; not only is Jones down, but so are his competitors Jeff Clement and Steve Pearce. September means something to a couple of guys, and he's a prime example.

-- Brandon Moss got the start in right today. From what we've seen, September will be his last hurrah with the Pirates.

-- In a scary moment, Tyler Colvin of the Cubs was struck by a shard of Welington Castillo's broken bat while leading off third base and suffered a puncture wound; the bat stuck in his chest. He's at the hospital now, where he's listed in stable condition.

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