Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bucs Batter Nats 10-2

Road warrior Kevin Correia tries to salvage a split against the Nats versus Jason Marquis and notch his eleventh win while he's at it.

Alex Presley got things rolling with a leadoff single. Chase d'Arnaud topped one that Jason Marquis fed to second; his throw was bad and the Bucs had runners on the corners. Garrett Jones popped out, but McCutch came through with a single through the left side to plate Presley and send d'Arnaud to second. He stole third.

Neil Walker dumped a soft liner into left to score d'Arnaud and chase McCutchen to third. Overbay lined another knock into center, and the merry-go-round continued, with McCutch scoring and Walker steaming into third. Brandon Wood couldn't take advantage; he popped out. McKenry drove one to the centerfield track, but Ankiel was there. They left a duck on the pond, but did bring three home. Kevin Correia's horseshoe still has afew lucky rubs left in it.

KC got the first two Nats on bouncers; Ryan Zimmerman lined a 3-2 pitch into center with two away. Two pitches later, Matt Stairs bled a changeup to short for an infield knock, and he doesn't have a whole lot of those on his resume. Jayson Werth gave the DC boobirds another reason to hoot; he struck out swinging.

Correia started the second by rolling a knock through the left side. Presley pulled a low heater to first; the Nats got the forceout but The King beat the relay to first. d'Arnaud lined a single to left, and it was runners on the corners again. Geez, it's nice to see a little speed in the lineup.

Jones fell behind 0-2, then took a changeup the opposite way for a double, scoring Presley and d'Arnaud. McCutch drilled a 3-2 sinker into right center for a two-bagger; the Bucs were up 6-0. That was it for Marquis; in came Collin Balester.

He fell behind Walker 3-1 and came in with a fastball; The Pittsburgh Kid lined it off Stair's mitt for a single and RBI. Overbay jumped on the first pitch, another heater, and lined it into right for a double; Walker came around to score. 8-0 Pittsburgh, and the Nats have only been up once.

Ankiel started the DC second with a grounder up the middle for a leadoff knock. Wilson Ramos drove a fastball over the wall in left center for his seventh dinger of the season, making it 8-2. He got Ian Desmond and Balester, but with two away, Roger Bernadina doubled, smacking a heater pretty much down the middle. Danny Espinosa bounced out to end the frame on a nice play by Walker.

The first pair of Bucs went down quietly in the third. Then d'Arnaud doubled to left center, but Jones went down on a foul tip.  Correia walked Zimmerman to start the third, but got the next three guys routinely.

McCutch and Jones started the fourth by flying out to left. Overbay battled for a two-out walk, followed by a Wood force out. Ramos opened for the Nats with a double to right, the third straight leadoff hitter to reach for Washington. Desmond bounced out to second, moving Ramos to third. Balester hit for himself; he bounced out to third, freezing the runner. Bernadina flew out to McCutch, and the Nats failed to cut into the deficit.

Balester might not have done the job with the bat, but he put the Bucs down in order in the fifth and has done a nice job of keeping things in check for the Nats after a rocky start. KC finally pitched a clean frame, even if Zimmerman took McCutch to the wall in the deepest part of the park.  It's 8-2 Buccos after five.

With one out, Jones drew a walk off Balester in a nine pitch at-bat. McCutch is on a rampage; he singled into right, Jones stopping at second. That brought on Henry Rodriguez. Balester had stuck his finger in the dyke long enough, and thrown 76 pitches.

Walker dropped a bloop into center to load the bases. Overbay bounced one to short and Desmond muffed it to allow a run and keep the bases jammed. Wood flew out to shallow right, holding the runners. Ramos was kept busy blocking a couple balls in the dirt, and eventually H-Rod walked McKenry to plate another run. After the Pirate sixth, it was 10-2 Pittsburgh.

Correia plunked Werth with a running fastball to start the sixth. After a little posing, he went to the bench and Brian Bixler took his place at first. Ankiel K'ed on a foul tip. Ramos banged a slider to the wall in right center, where McCutch hauled it in. Desmond popped out, and six full innings were in the book.

The Bucs went down in order in the seventh. That was all for KC. He went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and six K's on 93 pitches, another solid outing with plenty of support.

Danny Moskos came in. He gave up a leadoff double to Alex Cora, and Bernadina's fly to center moved him to third. Espinosa struck out looking, but Moskos walked Zimmerman on four pitches to keep the frame alive. Pinch hitter Laynce Nix grabbed a stick, and flew out to left.

Todd Coffey took over, and immediately showed the magic touch; he got McCutch on a fly to left center, albeit snagged on a diving effort by Bernadina. Walker flew out, too. Overbay poked a slider the opposite way for a base rap. Wood hit a fly to right for the third out.

Moskos stayed on. Bix bounced out to third to open the Nats eighth. Ankiel swung and missed a slider down for the second out. Ramos flew out to McCutch, and there were three outs left to get.

McKenry started the ninth with a line knock into right. Xavier Paul pinch hit for Moskos, and pulled a first pitch outside fastball to second for a quick 4-6-3 DP. Presley rolled a knock up the middle. d'Arnaud popped out to left. Chris Leroux climbed the hill.

He struck out Desmond on a foul tip, and Cora hit a little pop to d'Arnaud. Bernadina ruined Leroux's 2011 debut when he rolled a two-out, two-strike fastball up the middle.  Espinosa spoiled it a little more when he doubled to center off another heater, with Bernadina holding at third. He fell behind Pudge 3-0, then served him five straight heaters over the plate, finally getting him on a short fly to right that Jones charged and corralled nicely .

Kevin Correia picks up win number eleven, and they don't come much easier. With 10 runs and 16 hits, the Bucs were positively Bosox-ish today. They return home to face the Astros on the Fourth with Paul Maholm (who surely hopes they saved a couple of runs for him) going against Brett Myers.

  • Kevin Correia is first Pirate pitcher to win 11 games by All Star break since Jim Bibby in 1980.
  • As expected, RHP Chris Leroux was called up and Brad Lincoln returned to Indy. With all the frequent flyer miles amassed via the Indy-Pittsburgh pipeline, the Tribe may never have to ride a bus again.
  • Jayson Werth had reason to grumble when he was smacked in the left wrist today by Kevin Correia. He wears a special pad on it for protection as in 2005, he required surgery to repair a split ligament when he was hit by a pitch in the same spot.
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America reported Pittsburgh's second big international signing, 16 year old Venezuelan center fielder Elvis Escobar for $570,000.  His dad had a cup of coffee with the Indians, and his brother is in the Rangers organization. Kelvim Escobar and Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar are both cousins. So if bloodlines mean anything... It's nice to see that the Latino budget is unaffected by the big money still to be spent on Gerrit Cole and maybe Josh Bell. Third rounder Alex Dickerson has yet to sign, either.

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