Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bedard Gets The W In Bucs 4-2 Win

Pittsburgh was looking to give some support to hard-luck lefty Erik Bedard tonight, who has seen three runs scored behind him in four outings. And hey, they did.

The Bucs scored in the first when Alex Presley led off with a single the opposite way off of Randall Delgado. JT advanced him a sack on a bouncer to second, and he went to third on a wild pitch. Cutch walked, and Garrett Jones brought Presley home with a sac fly. Neil Walker earned a two-out pass, but Pedro whiffed.

Erik Bedard got into a little hot water in the first, giving up a one-out knock to Martin Prado and walking Dan Uggla with two away, but escaped. The Pirates went to work in the second.

It started out quietly enough. Rod Barajas singled with an out and Bedard bunted him to second. Presley collected his second knock of the night, doubling to left to score the catcher, followed by Jose Tabata's hard single to right, plating Presley, who was helped by a weak throw. The Bucs were up 3-0. Bedard surrendered a two out single, and it was off to the third.

Pittsburgh tried hard to add on. Walker lined a single with one away and went to third on an Alvarez double to left. Delgado got a big out, striking out Clint Barmes, and walked Barajas to get to the pitcher. Bedard caught a good piece of the ball, but lined out to center. The only bad omen is that the Bucs have already stranded six runners.

The Bravos cut into the lead in their half. Prado doubled with one away (Cutch tried for a diving catch and missed, playing a single into a two-bagger), and Uggla brought him home an out later to make the score 3-1. Both sides went in order in the fourth.

Pittsburgh would get that run back in the fifth and chase Delgado. Walker and Alvarez hit back-to-back doubles with an out to make it 4-1, and that brought on Livian Hernandez. He retired Barmes on a fly to center, with Pedro taking third after the catch. Barajas drew his second intentional walk, and Bedard again put the ball in play, but his roller to second ended the frame.

Things got dicey for Bedard. He walked the pitcher Hernandez to open the fifth, followed by a Michael Bourn infield knock. The lefty got the hot Prado to pop out. A Barajas passed ball on a high heater that crossed him up put runners at second and third. Freddy Freeman battled Bedard, but finally went down swinging after nine pitches, missing an outside fastball. It didn't get easier with Uggla up, but the lefty struck him out swinging at a curve. Great work, but Bedard was now at 96 pitches.

The Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the sixth. That was it for Bedard; Chris Resop took the bump. The lefty went five frames, allowing a run on five hits with two walks and nine Ks, the Bucs' season high for a starter.

Jason Heyward greeting him with a double off the center field wall on the second pitch, an 88 MPH heater, and stole third. Resop fought David Ross, falling behind 3-0 before getting him to pop out on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. Juan Francisco rolled the next pitch to first, plating Heyward and making it 4-2. Tyler Pastornicky battled Resop through eleven pitches before rolling a single to right. Tabata overran the ball and Pastornicky ended up at third.

The Braves sent up Chipper Jones to hit for Hernandez, but Resop had enough in the tank to get him to bounce out weakly to second on a curve. It took Resop 28 pitches to get through the inning, 20 of them to Ross and Pastornicky. Christhian Martinez came on for Atlanta. The Bucs went down in order again.

Juan Cruz got the call, and Casey McGehee went to first as part of a double switch. Facing the top of the Brave order, he gave up a lead-off knock to Bourn. He fell behind Prado 3-1, but got him to ground a 3-2 cutter to Walker for a 4-6-3 DP. Freeman bounced out to short, and Martinez returned to the mound.

Barmes struck out swinging on three pitches for the second time tonight. Barajas bounced out and McGehee went down swinging at a change. It was Jason Grilli's turn on the hill. He was nasty, striking out Uggla, Heyward and Ross swinging.

The top of the Pirate order was up to do battle with Martinez. With two away, Cutch turned on a change-up and doubled to left. Nate McLouth batted for Grilli and flew out to right, making it Hanny time.

He got to face the bottom of the Atlanta order. Hanny got Francisco and Pastornicky swinging at sliders. Pinch hitter Eric Hinske drove a fly to deep right that JT had to climb the wall to snag, and with that grab Erik Bedard finally got his first Pirate win.

It wasn't a cakewalk. Pittsburgh was shut down once Delgado left the game, going scoreless for the final 4-2/3 innings. The Braves had ample opportunity to make a game of it, but went 1-for-9 with RISP. That's the upside of having some power arms; that performance is the result of 14 K registered by the Bucco staff.

Kevin Correia goes against Tim Hudson tomorrow afternoon. It's Hudson's first start of the season after back surgery in November.

  • Alex Presley now has an 11 game hitting streak. 
  • Erik Bedard finished with 9 K tonight, the most for a Pirate lefty since Paul Maholm had 10 on 8/8/08 at Philadelphia.
  • Rod Barajas drew the Pirates' first intentional walk of the year tonight (he got two, actually). Pittsburgh was the last MLB team to be paid that honor. In a couple of other season firsts, Jose Tabata collected his first RBI and Neil Walker smacked his first extra-base hit. And Bedard, of course, notched his first Pittsburgh victory.
  • It's already starting. Dan Mennella of MLB Trade Rumors posted an article "Trade Candidate: Erik Bedard." Geez, can't we wait until July?
  • Indy's Rudy Owens tossed seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and a walk, while striking out six.

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