Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bucs Get A Gift, Win 5-4

Hey, nice afternoon to shoot a little hooky from work; looks like quite a few folk are going to catch the get-away game (19,418, to be exact).

Kevin Correia started off by whiffing JJ Hardy. He got ahead of Nick Markakis 0-2, nibbled some to work it to a full count, then came in with a slider that Markakis jerked into right for a double. Adam Jones K'ed; ditto Derrick Lee.

JT got the Bucs rolling when he beat out a slow roller to third off Zach Britton. Josh Harrison laid down a bunt, and he beat the ball to first. Two on without a ball going 90'. McCutch lined one into left to score Jose Tabata and send Jay Hay to third. Neil Walker took a cut at an ankle high heater and bounced it to second for a run producing 4-6-3 DP. 2-0 after one, Buccos.

Matt Wieters started off with a long, eight pitch at-bat before flying out deep to straightaway center. Luke Scott grounded out, but Mark Reynolds bounced one up the third base line for a two-out double. Blake Davis flew out to McCutch; easy as pie. The Bucs went down easy as pie themselves.

KC jammed his counterpart Britton with a heater; he lined it into left for an opening knock. Hardy bounced one to third that glanced off Harrison's mitt and rolled into left for another single. Markakis poked a curve into right to score a run; Diaz had trouble corraling the ball and runners ended up at second and third.

Jones made the smart play. He rolled a ball to second and gave himself up to bring in a run and move Markarkis to third. But KC controlled the damage; a Lee grounder and Wieters fly out kept the game at 2's. Pittsburgh again went down as quietly as mice.

The Orioles banged out back-to-back line knocks by Scott and Reynolds into right to open the fourth. Davis flew out to the track in center, and both runners tagged to move up a station. Britton grounded out to first, freezing Scott and Reynolds. Correia fell behind Hardy 3-0 and came back with three straight fastballs. He fouled the first pair and ripped the third up the line to bring home a pair with his clutch knock.

McCutch is back in his little zone; he doubled and went to third on a wild pitch. Walker bounced to short to bring him home. Diaz lined a rope into center for a knock but was quickly erased when Jones rolled one to short to end the frame 6-4-3.

Correia enjoyed a fairly quiet fifth, marred only by a two out walk. Wood rolled a single into left to open the Bucco half of the frame, and McKenry followed with a knock up the middle.  Correia moved them up ninety feet with a bunt.

Tabata struck out swinging; not a pitch was over the plate (although one was a called strike). Harrison spanked one to second, right at rookie Blake Davis, making his first MLB start today. The rook watched it go through his wickets, and two runs came in. Not exactly clutch, but close enough. The Bucs were up 5-4.

Darned if Correia didn't get the first two hitters just to have Britton drop another flare for his second knock. Hardy hit one about two hundred feet further to the Notch, where it become the third out. Baseball is a funny game, no? The Bucs in the sixth drew a one-out walk for their trouble.

Danny Moskos took over on the hill while Xavier Paul trotted into right. Correia went six innings, giving up four runs on nine hits with a walk and five Ks, tossing 97 pitches. Moskos was greeted by an infield single by Markakis, who beat out a swinging bunt to short.

That brought on Chris Resop to face the righties. He got Jones on a liner to short, and Lee popped out. Jose Veras then came on and got Wieter on a fly to left. Jim Johnson took the hill for Baltimore. With one away, Paul doubled to the bullpen fence. Tabata grounded out and Harrison flew out to the track in right. It was still 5-4 after seven innings.

JV set down the O's 1-2-3 in the eighth, finishing his four-out gig with just ten pitches. He did his job well and handed the lead over to Hanny. Koji Uehara pitched the eighth for the Birds, and struck out the side.

Joel Hanrahan took the ball, and got Vlad Guerrero to pop out after falling behind 3-1. Hardy flew out to right and Markakis to left, and the Buccos rallied to take the series after losing the first game, a first in itself for 2011. It was Hanny's 20th save and KC's ninth win.

Correia struggled - we've used that word a lot about the starters not named Jeff Karstens lately - but a beat up and overused bullpen once again rose to the occasion to seal another win. Good stuff from Hanny and the gang, and a great job of mixing and matching by Clint Hurdle and Ray Searage.

The Bucs are off tomorrow - the bullpen can sure use the day off - and entertain the big bad Bosox starting Friday. But let them grab a beer and enjoy being at .500 again for an extra day.

For a team not very stacked with players to begin with to keep on competing after losing a handful of guys to injury is a credit to the club; they would have folded up their tents and slinked into the night in seasons past. As it is, they sit at 37-37, three games behind the Cards and Brewers, and that's a fine piece of hangin' around.

  • Joel Hanrahan became the third Pirate to notch 20 saves by the All-Star break. The other two were Mike Williams and Jose Mesa.
  • Clint Hurdle was not pleased when Ronnie Cedeno decided on his own to lay down a bases-loaded bunt yesterday, so he gave him today off "to regain focus." RC needs that little boot in the butt every so often, it seems.
  • All three Oriole starters have a hit this series; that kinda negates the NL advantage.
  • The Pirates have been pretty quick starters this year. They have 49 first-inning runs in 2011, behind only the Yankees (57) for the most out-of-the-box tallies.
  • With yesterday's victory, their third against the AL, the Bucs were assured of bettering last season's results against the Junior Circuit: they only won twice against them in 2010. After today's victory, they're 4-5 in 2011 interleague play, with Boston and Toronto coming up.
  • Jen Langosch of reports that the Pirates sent Andrew Lambo, who had been struggling in AAA ball (.184/3/11), to Altoona to clear a roster spot for Josh Rodriguez at Indy.
  • The Bucs announced that they have signed 18th round pick LHP Josh Poytress of Fresno State, their 13th draftee in the fold.


WilliamJPellas said...

Too bad about Andrew Lambo, but he certainly wasn't getting it done in Indy.

Ron Ieraci said...

It's not the end of his tale yet, Will - the kid is only 22 years old; he still has a season or two to figure it out. Once Bowker was sent down, Lambo became kinda redundant in AAA anyhow.