Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bucs Score Early & Late, Win 9-3

Busy house to rock the park, the old 1971 champs on the field repping the 412, Blass-to-Sangy for the ceremonial first pitch, both teams in throwback uniforms...with all that, can the Buccos finally fend off the American League bullies after five straight interleague losses?

J-Mac was duly impressed.  He mowed down the O's in the first on nine pitches, including a sweet K of Adam Jones on a nasty slow curve.

The young Bucs seemed properly motivated against Jeremy Gunthrie. JT led off with a liner into center. On a hit-and-run, Josh Harrison popped a ball into short right center; Tabata was hung up between bases but read the play right when the flare dropped in, slipping into second. Garrett Jones got ahead in the count 2-1 and drove a two-seamer into right center. It took a high hop off the track, stayed in play and plated a pair.

McCutch tried to bunt for a base hit; he didn't push the ball far enough and was tossed out, but he did move Jones to third. Neil Walker took a big cut and sent a fly to the track in right, and it easily brought in Jones to make it 3-0 after a frame.

After getting two outs, McDonald ran into a bit of stormy weather. Luke Scott worked him for a 3-2 walk and Mark Reynolds rolled one up the middle. Robert Andino sent  a big fly to right that Paul got under, and the Orioles were set down.

Ronny Cedeno got the Bucs rolling with a line single to left. Mike McKenry hit a soft liner to third for the first out, and J-Mac laid down a bunt to get RC to second. Jose Tabata was clutch, rapping his second knock of the night into right center to put Pittsburgh up 4-0. Lumber Company, indeedy!

Gunthrie showed his teammates the way when he led off with a double. Two outs later, he was still standing on second when Adam Jones, in a long at-bat, walked. J-Mac got Derrick lee to roll out to short, but after tossing 21 pitches over two innings, he threw 36 in the third frame.

The Bucs kept adding. McCutch walked with an out and went to third on Walker's soft single up the middle. Xavier Paul drove one a step short of the wall in right to score McCutch. Walker went to third on a well executed hit-and-run knock by Cedeno, but McKenry rolled out gently to short.  Still, 5-0 Buccos and they're looking good after three.

Matt Wieters walked to open the fourth.  He was forced at second, followed by a Mark Reynolds knock to left just past Harrison. J-Mac got a big K, whiffing Robert Andino, and escaped the frame. The Bucs went down in order.

No more dancing through the raindrops for McDonald in the fifth. JJ Hardy opened the frame with a homer. Nick Markakis singled, and Adam Jones knocked another one out of the yard. A fly out, a single, a ground out and a walk ended J-Mac's night after 104 pitches.  He went 4-2/3 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs, and four walks while K'ing four. Chris Resop came on, and caught Andino looking to stem the bleeding.

McCutch singled after an out, a tremendous running grab of a Jones shot to the Notch by Adam Jones, but Walker bounced into a 4-6-3 DP. Ol' Mo has quite obviously switched sides. Resop had a couple of balls squared up on him in the sixth - Hardy lined a single to left and Markakis took Paul to the wall in right center - but got out of the frame unscathed.

The Bucs tried to lure Big Mo back. After Paul lined out short of the left center track, Cedeno walked and McKenry lined a single. Lyle Over bay came up to pinch hit; he hit a perfect DP ball to short, but the relay throw was off line. The Bucs failed to take advantage; JT followed with another bouncer to short to end the inning.

Tony Watson came on to pitch a clean seventh. The Bucs threatened to run away with it in their half. Harrison singled, and an out later, McCutch walked. Walker reached on a boot by third baseman Mark Reynolds to load the bases. Paul lined a knock the opposite way to plate a run.

Guthrie was done; Brad Bergesen took over. Good choice, too, as he got Cedeno to bounce into a 6-4-3 DP. It was 7-3 good guys with six outs to go. Mo was on the fence now.

Jose Veras retired the O's in order, and the Bucs did put it away in their portion of the eighth as Mo and the Fat Lady both jumped on the Bucco bandwagon.

McKenry started off with a double into left; Matt Diaz followed by poking a slider low and away into right to put runners on the corners. JT banged one up the middle that deflected off the pitcher to second, good for a force out and RBI. Brandon Wood singled to put runners at first and second. A Jones fly moved JT to third with two away.

McCutch walked to load the bases. Walker got a slider up and away and drilled it into left field, scoring two more and putting the Bucs up 9-3. Tim Wood finished up for Pittsburgh, giving up a two-out walk and firing up the crowd of 33, 806 with a swinging strikeout of Derrick Lee to end the game. For one night at least, the Lumber Company was back.

Ten Buc starters and pinch hitters had hits; only Lyle Overbay of the position players that batted failed to come up with a knock. McCutch drew three walks. The Pirates finally mauled a bullpen. It was a fun night all around, and a fitting way to welcome the 1971 champs back home.

Zach Britton and Kevin Correia hook up for the rubber match tomorrow afternoon.

  • The Pirates had 15 hits, one shy of their season high.
  • Charlie Morton will skip his next start due to fatigue. He'll toe the rubber next on July 1st. Jen Langosch of MLB.com tweets that the move won't require a call-up (there are two off days), but a doubleheader in Washington on July 2nd will.
  • Good timely interview of Clint Hurdle by David Todd of Extra Innings discussing Lyle Overbay, the guys in the minors, and some player issues down the road. The openness of Hurdle is really a breath of fresh air compared to the hush-hush FO.
  • Rob Beirtempfel of the Tribune Review writes that Chris Snyder hasn't written off the season and plans to "play some more ball this year."
  • The coolest thing about the team celebrations is watching the old timers interact with the guys in the clubhouse. The current players are all ears, and it keeps fresh the Pirate tradition of winning baseball from back in the day instead of the negativity the team has been surrounded by in Pittsburgh.

No comments: