Young Aaron Thompson came out to make his first ever big league start. Did pretty well, too. The first batter he faced was Corey Hart, who singled. The next three guys went down routinely.
The Bucs small-balled Shaun Marcum. JT began with a double, Xavier Paul bunted him to third, and McCutch hit a fly to score him. After an inning, it was 1-0, Pittsburgh.
The Brew Crew started with another lead-off knock, this one by Casey McGehee. Yuniesky Betancourt rolled one to short for a 6-4-3 DP and Jonathan Lucroy popped out. The Bucs went down in order.
Thompson put the Brewers away in order in the third, and with one away in the Pirate half, he drew his first big league walk. So what if JT bounced into a DP right after? Thompson was looking good and up 1-0.
He might have worn himself out on that mad jog to second; for the first time, Thompson felt a little heat. Ryan Braun singled with an out and stole second. An out later, McGehee walked. But AT got Betancourt to roll out to short again and preserved his goose egg.
Josh Harrison started off the Bucco half with a double, and went to third when Marcum uncorked a wild pitch. McCutch walked before Neil Walker lofted a sac fly to make it 2-0. Garrett Jones drew a free pass, too, but a K and a pop out killed the inning before it could really pick up steam.
Lucroy singled to open the fifth, stole second and kept going to third when Mike McKenry threw the ball into center. A walk and bunt put runners at second and third, and brought out Clint Hurdle, who tapped his right arm for Jason Grilli. (Actually, Thompson was pulled not only because of the situation, but because he was on a pretty strict pitch count).
Thompson went 4-1/3 innings of scoreless ball, giving up four hits with two walks and a K on 68 pitches. Grilli notched a K, followed by a soft groundout, and the Buc lead was still two. With two away, JT singled, but didn't last long before he was caught stealing.
Grilli stayed on for the sixth, too, and it was a cup o' duck soup. He whiffed the first two Brewers and got the next to pop out. The Bucs got just a two-out knock by Neil Walker. Grilli kept on dealing and was on a streak of eight straight outs after seven, while Takashi Kaito took over from Marcum and sat the Pirates down easily. The score was still 2-0 Pittsburgh.
Jose Veras climbed the hill in the eighth and 1-2-3'ed Milwaukee. Tim Dillard came on for the Brewers and did the same to the Bucs. And that meant it was Hanny time.
He gave the fans another "uh-oh" moment when Braun singled to open the frame and Prince Fielder walked. But three K's later, the Bucs had earned a split with their Wisconsin nemesis. Jason Grilli got his first win since 2009 and Joel Hanrahan notched his 32nd save to finish Aaron Thompson's debut..
There wasn't much action. It was pretty well pitched by both sides today. The Buc bullpen put it together finally, and the Brew Crew helped by finishing 0-for-10 with RISP.
And the old formula - good pitching from start to finish - is what it's going take if the Bucs are to make a run at .500 in September. They're 61-68 after today.
The Pirates head to St. Louis, where Edwin Jackson will take on Charlie Morton tomorrow night.
- Jose Tabata now owns a ten game hitting streak.
- 18,013 turned up for the get-away game this afternoon.
- Man, Pedro Ciriaco must be dizzier than a yo-yo. He was called up for yesterday's game, sent back today for Aaron Thompson, and re-recalled while at waiting at the airport when Ryan Ludwick was DL'ed with a stiff back.