Saturday, July 30, 2011

Phils Overwhelm Pirates 7-4

OK, so Hunter Pence ended up with the Phils instead of the Bucs; it just shows how different franchises with different revenues place different value on their prospects. Time to get over it and play some ball.

The first two Bucs to face Cliff Lee bounced out softly. McCutch drew a 3-2 walk, and neil Walker followed with a dink into right to put runners on the corners. Jimmy Rollins showed he still has it, though, ranging into the hole to grab Steve Pearce's grounder, doing a 180 and throwing him out by a step from midair. J-Mac retired the Phils in order.

The Bucs went down without a peep in the second, and Brandon Wood and Mike McKenry both K'ed. The Phils took the lead soon thereafter when Ryan Howard crushed a heater over the center field wall into the batter's eye, his 21st, to make it 1-0. Walker was having an adventure at second; his lob of a routine grounder almost gave Hunter Pence a hit. Replay showed Pence may have beat the throw by a toe and Charlie Manuel come out to raise a little ruckus.

Then a ball ricocheted off Wood's glove to Walker; he picked it up and threw it away, allowing Raul Ibanez to reach second. McDonald settled things down by getting Placido Polanco to bounce a curve to short and K'ing Carlos Ruiz swinging at a heater.

The Bucs got a one out single to right by Pedro Ciriaco, and he died at first. After striking out Lee, Rollins took J-Mac deep to right on a fastball, his thirteenth of the year, to make it 2-0. Victorino followed with a single to right off a curve, and stole second. Missing badly, J-Mac walked Chase Utley on five pitches.

He fell behind Howard 2-0, gave him a fastball just about the same spot where the HR pitch was at last inning, and it got hammered off the wall in left for an RBI double. Pence hit a soft fly to left, and Ibanez was intentionally walked with two down to get to Ruiz, who grounded to short. After three, it was 3-0 Phillies.

But the Bucs came back. After two outs, Wood sent a fastball up the middle, and Pedro followed with a shot into center, his third, to make it a 3-2 game.

It was answered. With an out, Lee singled off J-Mac, followed by a Rollins single. Victorino K'ed, but Utley singled to right; Pearce misplayed the ball, and Lee trotted home. Howard roped his third hit, a single to right, and Rollins beat a close tag at the plate to make it 5-2. The Bucs needed a shutdown inning and J-Mac couldn't deliver.

The Pirates went down in order in the fifth, with Ciriaco and Diaz going down swinging. The Phils tried a little more two out action with Carlos Ruiz rolling one up the middle and Lee blooping his second hit, but J-Mac got Rollins to pop up a fastball.

McCutch struck out on three straight changeups. Walker rolled a two strike curve through the left side for a knock. Pearce quickly squelched the inning with a 5-4-3 around the horn DP started by Polonco.

J-Mac's day was done. He went five innings, giving up five runs on ten hits with two walks and five Ks. D-Mac, appropriately enough, came on. McCutchen got the first two outs, then Howard ripped one to wall in center for a double and his fourth hit in six innings. Pence bounced out, and the score remained 5-2.

After an out, Pedro got plunked with a pitch; guess Lee has a good memory. After a McKenry K, Lyle Overbay pinch hit. He rolled the first pitch to Howard, and that took care of the Bucco seventh. Chris Resop took the hill.

After an out, Polanco lined a first pitch single into right. Ruiz roped a heater into left center, and that scored Polanco to make it 6-2. Lee bounced out to short, moving Ruiz to third. Rollins flew out short of the track to end the seventh.

Ciriaco led off the eighth the way lead off men should; he bunted his way on. Lee tried to work the inside corner on Diaz and lost him on a 3-2 changeup. McCutch rolled into a forceout, putting runners on the corners for Walker, who lined an RBI single into right, McCutch stopping at second. Pearce rolled a grounder to third; Polanco got the force at second. Lee hung a 2-2 curve to Wood that he bounced past Polanco to plate McCutch and make it 6-4.

Lee was at 121 pitches and finally got the hook for lefty Antonio Bastardo, who faced Pedro. He got him swinging at a slider down and away after Alvarez missed connecting on a slider and heater down the middle.

The Phils again had an answer. Jose Veras gave up a leadoff triple to Victorino, who lined a first pitch heater into right. He had to hold as Utley bounced out to first and Howard was walked intentionally before he could inflict any more damage on the Bucco staff. Pence lined a curve into center that dropped a couple of steps in front of McCutch, and it was 7-4 Phils. After an Ibanez fly to shallow center, Polanco lined a 2-0 heater into center to load the bases. Ruiz ended the inning by lining out to Ciriaco.

Ryan Madson came on in the ninth and struck out McKenry on three pitches, the fourth time he's K'ed tonight. Paul K'ed, twice swinging at changeups in the dirt. Garrett Jones came up to hit for Ciriaco and he went down looking. Philadelphia just had too much firepower for the Bucs to overcome.

The Phils are the class of the league with a payroll to match, and outplayed the Bucs in all facets of the game in the first two contests.

  • A couple of writers reported today that the Buc players were asking them if the FO had gotten any bats to boost the lineup, so the fans aren't the only ones wondering.
  • Derrek Lee is close to being a Bucco; post to follow.
  • Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweets that the Bucs and A's are talking still; most of Oakland's roster is available. The Pirates have shown interest in Josh Willingham (as have other teams, chiefly the Braves and Red Sox) and adding another reliever, so maybe they'll find a match. Coco Crisp, Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey are also being shopped.

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