Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bucs Can't Hang On; Ibanez Leads Phils To 6-5 Win In Ten

Today was the Bucs chance to take a game from the Phils and try to head back to the 'Burgh with their heads held high.

Vance Worley got the first two outs routinely, followed by McCutch's double to right. But The Pittsburgh Kid couldn't capitalize, going down swinging to end the inning. Jeff Karstens gave up a lead off bunt single to Jimmy Rollins, then put away the Phils quietly.

The Bucs struck out in order in the second. The Phillies got on the board when Raul Ibanez drilled a one out homer to center, his fifteenth, and after two frames it was 1-0 Philadelphia.

Eric Fryer K'ed to run Worley's string to five straight whiffs before Karstens bounced out. Paul lined a two out single to center, but the Bucs sat down as Garrett Jones flew out to right. Worley grounded a single through the left side to start the third, but Karstens retired the other hitters on a fly and two grounders.

McCutch lined out to left to open the fourth, and Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez went down on a grounder and pop. After a Ryan Howard ground out, Karstens K'ed Hunter Pence and Ibanzez. After four, it was still 1-0 Phils.

Lyle Overbay started the fifth with a whiff. Brandon Wood and Fryer hit back-to-back singles. JK moved them up a station with a two-strike bunt. The small ball move paid off when Paul lined a two run single into left to bring them both home and give the Bucs a 2-1 lead.

As happened yesterday, the Phils came right back. Brian Schneider doubled to left and Michael Martinez rolled a single through the left side. Worley's bunt moved MM to second. Rollins lined a single to right, scoring both runners as Philly regained the lead. While Shane Victorino was drawing a walk, Rollins was tossed trying to steal second. Utley singled to right, but the inning ended on a Howard fly to Jones and a 3-2 Philly edge.

McCutch started the sixth by popping out. Neil Walker legged out a hit on a ball hit to short, followed by Pedro going down swinging. Overbay lined a shot to right; it carried the fence for his eighth homer of the year, and the Bucs were back on top 4-3. Pence drew a lead off walk, but Karstens set the other Phils down in their tracks.

Brad Lidge took over for Worley in the seventh. Fryer started the Bucs off with a walk and JK bunted him to second. An out later, Jones drilled a double and the Bucs had an insurance run to lead 5-3. The Phils went down in order as Karstens picked up a couple of Ks.

Juan Perez took the hill in the eighth. He got Pedro and Overbay after a lead off single to Walker. Righty David Herndon came on to face Wood; he got him looking.

That was it for JK. He went seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with two walks and five Ks. He threw 98 pitches. Joe Beimel toed the rubber. After an out, Ryan Howard doubled, and that brought Jose Veras out of the pen.

Howard was caught at third by Wood trying to advance on a grounder to short; other teams beside the Bucs get brain cramps on the bases. But his mistake was quickly forgiven when Ibanez clobbered his second homer of the day to tie the game 5-5 after eight.

Ryan Madson took over for Philly. He gave up a one out single to Matt Diaz, and pinch runner Pedro Ciriaco stole second. But the other Bucs couldn't push a ball out of the infield and he was stranded. Chris Resop came on for Pittsburgh.

Martinez popped a foul to third; Pedro muffed it. No matter; he and Russ Gload flew out. Then Resop and the plate had a disconnect as Rollins walked, stole second, and then Shane Victorino drew a free pass. Tony Watson came on, and the Phils each moved up a base on defensive indifference before Utley flew out to McCutch. It was extras again.

Antonio Bastardo took the mound in the tenth, and put the Bucs down easily. After an out, Pence hooked a double into left off Watson, and Ibanez capped his day by lining a one hopper off the wall in right to give Philly the sweep 6-5.

Not much to say; the bullpen let the team down today. Three extra inning losses to the NL's elite in five days shows how scrappy the Bucs are and how far they have to go yet. And since Joel Hanrahan got in none of the three OT losses, maybe it's time for a little reevaluation of his use solely as a closer. At least the offense has shown signs of life the last couple of days, scoring nine runs, but the pitching couldn't slow down Philadelphia.

The Bucs limp home to face the Cubs. Carlos Zambrano faces Paul Maholm, and at 4-1/2 games back, it's crucial for the Pirates to right the ship against Chicago. They can pick up some ground with the Cards and Brewers playing each other six times in the next eleven days.

  • Ryan Ludwig became a Pirate; more on the following post.
  • The Bucs DFA'ed RHP Mike Crotta to clear 40-man space for Ludwick, but still need to make two moves on the MLB roster for tomorrow.
  • The Bucs scored all five of their runs with two outs.
  • Ronny Cedeno's knee is still stiff. If it doesn't come around soon, he may go back on the DL according to local reports.

No comments: