Monday, June 20, 2011

First Inning Sinks Bucs 8-3

It was ominous looking out, and that was a better forecast than what happened in the first inning tonight.

Charlie Morton, off back-to-back struggles, wanted to come out strong. JJ Hardy opened by rolling a ball towards short weakly, and legged out an infield knock. Nick Markakis lined one into center; it was a double and put runners at second and third. Adam Jones looped a ball into right; it was 2-0 after three hitters.

Jones had advanced to second on Xavier Paul's late throw home; he came in when Derrick Lee dumped a soft liner into right. CM finally got an out when he whiffed Mark Wieters. Mark Reynolds drew a walk, but things looked like they were settling down when Felix Pie whiffed.

Not to be; Robert Andino hit one through the left side to score Lee; Reynolds went to third on JT's throw home; it would have been in time, but was off-line. The pitcher, Jake Arrieta, added insult to injury when he blooped a single to right to make it 5-0. It was his first MLB hit in four at-bats. Hardy struck out to end the nightmare. The O's put six balls in plays and everyone fell in.

The Bucs went down in order. Way to open a homestand, hey?

In the second, Markakis led off with a knock, lining one into center. Jones K'ed.Lee hit one to Josh Harrison at third; he went for the force, but misfired on the throw. Wieters doubled to left to bring home a run; Reynolds hit a sac fly to plate another. Yes, it was ugly.

Garrett Jones walked to open the second for the Bucs. Neil Walker lined out, and Xavier Paul hit into a force. he stole second. Arrieta worked a half dozen pitches tight on Cedeno; he finally found a curve to his liking and crushed it for a double just past the Notch. Mike McKenry turned over on a slider away and lined it to short to end the frame. Geez, two innings and almost an hour gone by.

D-Mac, who started warming up in the first inning, took Morton's place on the hill in the third. Charlie's line was two innings, eight hits, seven runs (six earned), a walk and four K's on 55 pitches.

His once sterling ERA is now up to 3.77. Luck had something to do with it; Baltimore put eleven balls between the white lines and reached base on nine of them. Still, yet another shaky start for Morton; he was up with way too many of his pitches.

Andino greeted McCutchen with a roped single to left and Arrieta bunted him to second. Hardy rolled an inside two-seamer into left; JT bobbled the bouncing ball and another run came home. Markakis flew out to the track in center and Jones lined out to third.

D-Mac led off for Pittsburgh; he swung at ball four and tapped it back to the pitcher. JT flew out to the track in right. Harrison whiffed on a changeup, the pitch no Pirate seems capable of hitting this season.

With two outs, Reynolds drew a walk in the fourth. Pie bounced out, and the O's had their first goose egg of the evening. McCutch pulled an outside changeup to the left side, and the sharp rap found a hole for a leadoff knock. Arrieta lost Jones on four pitches. Walker got a belt high heater on the outside half of the plate and drove it to left, but it was pulled down in front of the fence.

Paul got ahead 3-1, and ripped a belt high heater into right to bring home McCutch and chase Jones to third. Arrieta threw another heater down the middle to Cedeno; swinging late, he caught just enough of it to bounce into a force and bring Jones home. It was 8-3 after four, favor of the Birds.

Baltimore went down in order in the fifth as D-Mac has retired eight of the last nine hitters he's faced. he did his job; Pedro Ciriaco grabbed a stick to swing for him. PC popped out to center on a nice running grab by Hardy. JT lined out to right, and Harrison bounced out to short. Quiet inning, and the Bucs have to make some noise.

Danny Moskos took the ball, and Ciriaco stayed in to man the hot corner. Markarkis softly rolled one to second and beat the rap for an infield single when Moskos was slow getting to the bag. Jones proved that it's just not the Bucs that can't sit on a changeup; he pulled one to short to start a 6-4-3 DP.

Lee lined a 3-2 pitch into right to set up an ironic mano a mano between Moskos and the guy everyone says the Bucs should have drafted instead, Matt Wieter. Wieter went after the first pitch and knocked a fly to McCutch to end the short-lived showdown.

The Bucs had squared up on enough Arrieta servings to make Buck Showalter go to his pen. Old Bucco Mike "Gonzo" Gonzalez climbed the mound.

McCutch greeted him with a double to left. Jones bounced a ball up the middle, and McCutch was tagged out retreating to second followed by the shortstop's peg to first for the DP. The ball should have easily advanced McCutch to third; his only defense is that Gonzo made a stab at the ball, and McCutchen may have thought he gloved it. Walker K'ed, and the Bucs shot themselves in the spikes again.

Reynolds started off with a swinging bunt that Moskos fielded; he threw it away for a single and error. He got the next three guys to keep the O's from adding on any more runs. Jason Berken took over for Baltimore, and mowed the Bucs down 1-2-3.

Tim Wood took over from Moskos in the eighth. He walked Hardy on a 3-2 pitch to open the inning. With an out, Jones singled to left. Lee pulled a heater to third, and Ciriaco cleaned up with a 5-4-3 DP. Pedro may not have a stick, but he can sure play the field like a big leaguer. Berken retired the Bucs easily, getting a comebacker from JT and whiffing Ciriaco and Matt Diaz.

Hanny strolled in for the ninth; he needs the work and the rest of the pen needs a rest. His control wasn't sharp - he threw 23 pitches - but he got out of the inning with only a walk charged against him. Kevin Gregg took the ball to finish up the job for Baltimore.

McCutch singled to left; he has three hits today. Jones flew out and Walker grounded a shoe-top high slider to first for the game ending DP.

It was a good old fashioned spanking.  The Bucs actually centered some balls through six innings, but were again shut down by the opponent's bullpen at the end. The American League is showing Pittsburgh just how bad the Houston Astros are right now.

Jeremy Guthrie takes on James McDonald in tomorrow's match.

  • Clint Hurdle told the team that Lyle Overbay will sit out this series for Garrett Jones and work on his swing. They'll play it by ear after the Baltimore set.
  • Stetson Allie's line for his first start at State College: 2-1/3 innings, three hits, three runs, three walks (all in the third) and four K's. He'll be a work in progress, as expected.
  • Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects reports that the Bucs signed fourth round draft pick RHP Colten Brewer from Canton HS in Texas.

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