Monday, September 5, 2011

J-Mac Sharp, Bucs Win 3-1

The Bucs were determined to get today's game in, as the Astros were here for their last visit to Pittsburgh and the wet weather was supposed to keep on comin'. They did, too, although the announced crowd of 13,336 may have been half that in reality.

It required an hour delay to get the field back in shape and the game was played in a drizzle, but it was worth the effort as the Pirates played a much cleaner game today than yesterday and came home with a 3-1 win.

As with most victories, it started with the pitching. J-Mac had one of his better outings of the year, going 7-1/3 innings and giving up a run on three hits with three walks and six K's. The only tally he surrendered was partially on him and partially on JT. McDonald's mistake was walking pitcher Henry Sosa on four pitches; JT's was misplaying a two-out fly ball into a triple to let him score in the third.

The inning before, the Bucs missed their first opportunity against Sosa thanks to a slow field. Neil Walker drew a one-out walk and Dewey doubled him to third. Doumit's ball had a chance to get to the wall, but was cut off after taking a couple of soft bounces in the soggy OF.

With the infield in, Josh Harrison hit a grounder that was slicing away from third; Walker hesitated and started home. He was easy pickings at the dish when the ball hit the turf and took a couple of small hops into the glove of third baseman Jimmy Paredes. Gotta watch that ball go through, Neil.

The Pirates rallied in the fourth. The soft field helped when McCutch led off with an infield single that was double clutched by Paredes followed by Derrek Lee getting plunked on the back. Doumit drilled a one-out double to plate one run and a Harrison knock up the middle scored another. Ronny Cedeno walked to load the bases, but J-Mac rolled back to the hill to start an inning ending 1-2-3 DP.

Lee gave the Bucs a big insurance run in the eighth when he popped his 16th homer the opposite way off Wil Lopez to make it 3-1.

The Astros had a couple of chances, but couldn't deliver the clutch knock. Jordan Schaefer was thrown out at home in the sixth trying to score on a grounder to Walker. In the eighth, they chased J-Mac with a pair of walks, but Jason Grilli put out the fire. And Hanny gave up two hits and a walk in the ninth, but Paredes was thrown out by Walker trying to score on a bloop, and Hanrahan left runners on second and third to notch his 35th save.

Pittsburgh didn't exactly blast the cover off the ball today, but they were sharp in the field except for Tabata's misadventure (and that's just part of the learning process; the balls sent to right generally have opposite reads of those hit to left). When you get good pitching, that's often enough.

Brett Myers squares off against Brad Lincoln tomorrow.

  • Dewey had three hits, including two doubles, to up his BA to .291.
  • JT left the game in the fourth when his wrist acted up on him. We expect to see him with plenty of down time this month, especially with Ryan Ludwick due back Wednesday.
  • Brian Burres will take Jeff Karstens' start Wednesday.
  • Chris Snyder is officially done for the year.
  • Clint Hurdle told the beat gang that Matt Hague and Gorkys Hernandez won't get called to Pittsburgh after Indy's season. With Derrek Lee getting the nod at first and four OF'ers to rotate, he said there just aren't enough at-bats available to get them any meaningful playing time.
  • Starling Marte won the 2011 Eastern League batting title today. He hit .332 for Altoona, and his 178 hits set a Curve record.

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