Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spread the News, Huey: Bucs Hold On 3-2

Another beautiful night in Pittsburgh; the weatherpeople in this town must use chicken innards to come up with their forecasts. Should be a big crowd for the ballgame, fireworks, and Huey Lewis and the News (it was).

Jose Reyes opened the game with a knock up the middle off J-Mac. No prob; Wyatt Toregas threw him out try to steal. Good thing, too, as Ruben Tejada followed with a walk. Carlos Beltran singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. A grounder to third was hit too weakly to turn and brought home a run to give the Mets the early lead.

Knuckler RA Dickey picked up where he left off against the Bucs; he got JT looking. Josh Harrison sent a liner into center for a knock. McCutch, who K'ed against Dickey three times last week, rolled one back to the mound for a 1-6-3 DP, and it was 1-0 NY after a frame.

McDonald pitched a clean second. He K'ed Bay, who got a fair amount of cheers as he stepped to the plate. In a nine pitch at-bat that started 0-2, Neil Walker fought for a lead off walk.  Lyle Overbay, also in an 0-2 hole, flew out to center.

Garrett Jones reversed the tide; he got ahead 3-1 and took a fastball the opposite way to the Notch to double in Walker and tie the game. Pittsburgh got a break on the big fly; both Bay and Pagan had a shot at running it down, but let it drop between them. The Bucs ended the inning with another DP, this one a Brandon Wood liner to second that caught Jones off the bag.

Not a good start to the third; McDonald walked Dickey on four pitches. He got Reyes to pop out, but hung an 0-2 curve to Tejada, who lined it into left for a single. J-Mac coaxed a fly from Beltran and a liner from Daniel Murphy, nicely snared by a leaping Wood, to escape the frame.

With two away, Tabata rolled a single into right for Pittsburgh, and Harrison followed with his first MLB free pass. McCutch finally saw a knuckler he liked, inside corner and belt high, and smacked one to third, off the glove of Murphy and into left for what was ruled a hit and a two-run double. Reyes saved another run by robbing Walker of a two-out RBI knock, instead ending the frame. After three, the Bucs had a 3-1 lead.

J-Mac had trouble with prosperity and the strike zone, walking Angel Pagan to open the fourth on five pitches. Bay followed with a bloop single into center; he got booed this time around. Lucas Duda inside-outed a heater and lined it to Overbay for the first out. Ronny Paulino lined a single to left to load the sacks. Dickey was swinging away against McDonald, and it paid off - for the Bucs, that is, as he bounced into a 6-4-3 DP.

The Bucs went down quietly with a two-out infield single by Wood their only blow of the inning.

Reyes started the fifth with a roped single to left, and a wild pitch moved him up a station. Tejada bounced out to second, with Reyes moving to third. Beltran placed a hopper up the middle; Wood gloved it in short center but had no play; it was an infield single and RBI. Murphy lined a single into right. With two away, the Mets pulled off a double steal, but Bay whiffed to strand them. After four-and-half innings, it was 3-2 Pirates.

With an out, JT lined a single to right.  McCutch was plunked with two away, but Walker ended the frame with a flyout to left. McDonald got the bottom of the Met order 1-2-3 in the sixth on just seven pitches. For the Bucs, Jones rolled a one-out single into center and was left at first.

Clint Hurdle went to the pen in the seventh.  McDonald struggled, but kept the lead for the Pirates.  He gave up two runs on eight hits with three walks and a pair of Ks on 86 pitches.  Tim Wood took the ball. With one out, Tejada lined a single to center. Beltran obliged on the very next pitch with a sharply hit ball to first that Overbay turned into a 3-6-3 twin killing to finish the frame.

Harrison beat out a ball to short with two away and stole second, but McCutch whiffed swinging at a 3-2 knuckler. Tony Watson took over the pitching chores, and Xavier Paul went to right, Ronny Cedeno trotted out to short, and Wood took over at the hot corner.

Pagan drew a one-out walk. Hurdle went to Jose Veras. He got Bay on a liner to center, followed by a Duda double to put runners at second and third with two gone. Duda hit the ball hard, and that allowed Paul to keep Pagan at third. JV got ahead of Paulino 0-2 and caught him looking at a filthy curve. Dickey put the Bucs to bed in order in the eighth.

Hanny the hammer took the ball in the ninth. He hung a two strike slider to Jason Pridie, but he was ahead of it and punched a soft liner to Walker for the first out. Reyes k'ed on a foul tip, and Tejada hit a lttle comebacker to cap save #16 for Joel Hanrahan.

Give the Pirate pitchers, especially J-Mac, credit for this one. They were in hot water all night, but came up with the big grounder or K when it was needed. The makeshift lineup produced enough to carry the day, and the Bucs did it all in front of a huge, raucous crowd that roared all night. They might have come for the Sky Blast show; maybe now they'll return for the baseball.

Chris Capuano faces Kevin Correia tomorrow afternoon.

  • Ronny Cedeno is out of the lineup tonight for a blow after playing in 60 of the first 62 games.
  • The Bucs attendance tonight was the second largest crowd of the season and third largest in PNC Park history at 39,273 fans. Three of the top four crowds in the all-time history of PNC Park have gathered together this year.  (The Pirates drew 39,441 against Philadelphia last week and 39,219 on Opening Day against the Rockies.)  They now have seven 30,000+ crowds and four sellouts in 2011.
  • Jen Langosch of reports that the Bucs are actively seeking a catcher, but other teams, knowing they're over a barrel, are asking for a king's ransom in return. She also suggests that they may be looking for more than a short-time rental. Chris Snyder and Dewey could both be gone next season, and it looks like Tony Sanchez won't be ready for the show in 2012, so a regular guy rather than a stop-gap could be considered part of the mix. John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus also heard that the FO was "kicking the tires" of Bengie Molina. 
  • What difference does a catcher make? Sometimes it's the little things. J-Mac was wild tonight, but he lost a few calls on curves when it appeared that Wyatt Toregas carried the ball out of the zone catching them. Chris Snyder, with softer hands, would have framed them better to coax a strike call. And that's not to rap Toregas, who made some nice plays behind the dish. It could just be a case of unfamiliarity with the pitchers' stuff, and J-Mac isn't an easy guy to catch.
  • Jason Bay started in left field at PNC Park for the first time since he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2008 for...well, let's not get into that. And we can't understand the boos he gets here; he didn't ask to be traded and has always spoke well of the City since he's been gone.  

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