Man, they're knocking down the gates to get into PNC tonight. The parkway was backed up to 79, standing room only left at the gate...Shoeless Joe was right; if you build it, he will come.
Great start, too. Like last night, a lotta pitching going on early by Kevin Correia and Max Scherzer. Through three, the Bucs had three hits and the Tigers just one.
Detroit broke on top in the fourth. Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back one-out doubles; Brennan Boesch made it three in a row, and every ball was roped. He got Jhonny Peralta on a blast that McCutch hauled down at the 399' mark, moving Boesch to third. There he stayed as Alex Avila struck out chasing a ball in the dirt; the second time around was the charm for Motown, now up 2-0.
Scherzer is tough with a lead; he mowed down the Bucs 1-2-3 with a pair of whiffs. KC recovered his mojo and got Detroit out on a pair of grounders and a K. Mad Max did him even better - he struck out the side, a run of five K's of six batters.
The Tigers managed a two out single in the sixth, and Neil Walker took a dive to glove a wicked hop to start a catch and toss out, ending their frame and pumping some life into the Buccos.
McCutch got the Bucs started with a leadoff knock into left; Jose Tabata lined one into center to put runners at first and second. McCutch's hit was off an 0-2 heater; JT's off a 1-2 fastball; nice hitting for being in a deep hole. Scherzer fed Garrett Jones a first pitch changeup; he ripped it into right for a ground rule double.
Runners were at second and third with no outs for The Pittsburgh Kid, who lifted a 3-2 heater into center for the game-tying sac fly, also moving Jones to third. He came in on Lyle Overbay's sac liner to right to put the Bucs ahead 3-2. Dewey singled, and that was all for Mad Max.
Ryan Perry took the ball from Scherzer, and gave up a single to Brandon Wood. Ronny Cedeno bounced out, but the Bucs were on top, much to the delight of their houseful of fans who were rockin' the joint.
Peralta flew out to the track in deep center, and Avila blooped a single. Brandon Inge was pesky, fouling off several offerings before K'ing during an eight pitch at-bat. On an 0-2 pitch, Ryan Raburn caught enough of a curve that was off the plate to dump it into right for a knock, putting runners at the corners.
The two dink singles did in Correia; Clint Hurdle tapped his arm to bring on Jose Veras. He got Austin Jackson, barely. He launched another rocket to center that McCutch gathered in at the wall; he's sure got his running in today.
KC went 6-2/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with four K's.
Hurdle let Veras lead off; it was his first MLB at-bat. We were surprised there was no two-for-one when he came on (until Meek returns, the back end of the bullpen is short, so keeping him on for the eighth was the right move).
The ol' skipper must of known something; Perry walked him on four pitches, catapulting Jim Leyland out of the dugout to deliver a serious sermon to his hurler. He must be sensitive; McCutch and Tabata both singled after the visit to juice the sacks. Leyland phoned for Daniel Schlereth. With a lefty on the hill, Hurdle sent Matt Diaz up to hit for Jones.
Diaz inside-outed a sinker, knee high on the inside corner, into right center for a two-run knock. Walker flew out, and JT took third after the catch, which would prove to be a big ninety feet.
Overbay struck out swinging at a curve that was caught in the opposite batters box. Diaz must have thought it was headed to the backstop; he was tagged out in a lengthy rundown to end the inning, but not before JT scored to make it 6-2.
Ramon Santiago walked on a 3-2 pitch to open the eighth, but JV nailed the next three without a sweat. Al Alburquerque (no, that's really his name) came on, and cooled down the Bucs, giving up just a two-out knock to red-hot Ronny Cedeno.
It wasn't a save situation, and Hurdle elected to have Joe Beimel go after the final three outs. Peralta greeted him with an infield single and Avila followed with a bloop. Soft hits or not, it was hammer time; Hurdle waved in Joel Hanrahan.
Inge lined a single to load the bases. Hanny picked it up a notch, and a K and 4-6-3 DP later, it was another W in the column for the Buccos. It was win #6 for Correia and Hanny's 13th save.
Rick Porcello and Paul Maholm go at it tomorrow afternoon as the Bucs try to broom Detroit.
-- GW apologizes; he said in the Notes post that the game was on MLB-TV and blacked out locally; it actually had something to do with Fox and MLB having an exclusivity agreement and the truth was that the game wasn't televised anywhere. Root Sports didn't show it because it was on MLB-TV; MLB-TV blacked it out because of Fox Sports, and because there was no one airing it, it didn't even make the Extra Innings show.
Anytime there are a roomful of lawyers involved with baseball issues, the result is never good for the fan.
-- 37,958 fans were in attendance, a sellout. Moral: more bobbleheads, less TV? Or was it just a winning streak, an AL opponent and a nice night aligning that drew them in?
-- The Buc streaks continue; four wins in a row, four consecutive games with 5+ runs. It was their first four-game winning streak since last September.
-- Max Scherzer took his first loss of the year, and the Tigers lost their fifth game in a row.
-- McCutch (3-for-4), Ronny Cedeno (2-for-4) and Dewey (2-for-4) are all looking good at the dish of late. McCutchen's average is up to .259, RC's is .254, and Ryan Doumit is hitting a very respectable .294.
-- With the win tonight, the Pirates matched their 2010 total of interleague victories - two.
-- Evan Meek pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the Tribe tonight; he should rejoin the club Tuesday if his arm is OK tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see who the FO sends down to clear his spot; the betting line is Daniel Moskos, who has options, or Jose Ascanio, who doesn't.
-- Detroit has had an extra base hit in all 45 games it's played in 2011.
-- Five of the six teams in the Central Division are within four games of one another in the loss column; only the Astros are lagging far behind in the early going.