Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bucs Rally Late To Win 5-4 Slugfest

Hey, if you're coming out to watch a Bucco game, make sure you come early. The first inning scoring continued unabated tonight.

Dexter Fowler of the Rox started the early action against Kevin Correia, lining a one-out knock into center. Carlos Gonzalez made it hurt when he yanked a 3-2 heater over the wall in left to make it 2-0 before the beer guys emptied their first tray.

The Bucs cut into the deficit when Alex Presley banged the second pitch from Old Man River Jamie Moyer for a double, and a bunt followed by a bouncer later, the Pirates had manufactured a run to make it 2-1.The next few frames went quickly. The Pirates left three runners in scoring position, and all three were set up with two away and Correia at bat. He K'ed both times.

In the sixth, Casey McGehee led off with a walk. Neil Walker moved him to second with a sacrifice (don't ask) to bring up Yamaico Navarro. He rolled a ball into left to put runners on the corners. Rod Barajas flew out to medium right and McGehee held at third. It came as no surprise to see Clint Barmes walk, as Moyer gave him nothing near the plate to bring up Correia.

Clint Hurdle pulled his plug and brought Josh Harrison in to hit. He pulled a change-up to third, and that bouncer ended the frame. Can't complain about Correia at home tonight. He went six innings, giving up a pair on four hits with four strikeouts, throwing 93 pitches.

Juan Cruz, who closed last week, came on to work the seventh and faced the 5-6-7 hitters of Colorado. He brushed Ramon Hernandez with two away, and left him at first to put up another zero. That was it for Moyer; lefty Rex Brothers climbed the bump. He throws, oh, about 20 MPH harder than Methuselah, hitting 95-96 on the gun.

Presley legged out his second double of the day on a ball drilled toward the Notch as a greeting. JT dropped a single into right to put runners on the corners with no outs and Cutch at the dish. He drilled the first pitch off the wall in left center for a two-bagger, and the Bucs claimed the lead for the first time, 3-2. Brothers worked around McGehee, walking him on four pitches. RHP Josh Roenicke took the ball.

Neil Walker lined an 0-2 pitch just foul past first; Todd Helton, who was watching the line, snagged it. Navarro caught a ball flush, but it ended up a 395' out, hauled in at the track. Barajas hit the ball sharply on a 3-2 cutter, but lined it to left fielder Cargo to end the inning. Lots of hard hit balls, and two runs to show.

Jason Grilli took the hill to face a pinch hitter and the top of the order. He got Eric Young swinging at a heater. Marco Scutaro went with an outside fastball and lined it into right for a double. Fowler fought off a couple of two-strike fastballs, but was caught looking at a slider. Gonzalez stepped in, and Hurdle tapped his left arm for Tony Watson to get the lefty-on-lefty match up.

Didn't work; Cargo mashed a 1-1 slider away and belt high over the fence and into the bullpen for his second long ball of the day and gave the Rox the lead again at 4-3. Watson got Troy Tulowitzki, but it was too little, too late. Matt Belisle took over for Colorado up a run.

The lead didn't last long. On a 2-0 pitch, Barmes pulled one down the line for his second homer and tied the game at fours. Garrett Jones grabbed a bat and walked on five pitches. Presley bunted and Belisle mishandled the ball to put runners at first and second with nobody away, the same situation the Pirates had last inning. Nate McLouth replaced Jones at second after he was almost picked off by Belisle.

JT tried to move them over, but popped up behind the plate to waste the at-bat. Cutch rolled out to the mound, resulting in a force at second. Belisle fed McGehee three sliders away. He took the first pair for balls and lined the next one into right to plate McLouth and send Cutch to third.

Mike Reynolds trotted in to face Walker. The Kid bounced the first pitch to third to end the frame, but the Bucs had the lead again to hand over to Hanny.

Helton went down on a fly to center after falling behind 0-2. Michael Cuddyer also fell into an 0-2 hole and flew out to right. Hernandez went down swinging at a slider, and the Bucs came back twice to snatch victory from the Rox.

Five runs is an explosion for the Pirates, but in the early slogging, they showed their impatience at the plate. Moyer stayed away from them and the batters couldn't wait to pull the trigger, rolling everything to the pull side. But hey, maybe it synced their timing when the hard throwing Rox pen took over.

The Pirates did get 11 hits, with five doubles and a long ball. They set up tons of opportunities, but finished 4-for-16 with RISP. It's a start, and we'll take it. And in an oddity, Tony Watson gave up a homer to lose the lead, was credited with a blown save - and got the win.

Tomorrow will feature a get-away doubleheader. J-Mac and Charlie Morton will go for Pittsburgh against Colorado's Juan Nacasio and Jhoulys Chacin in an all-righty match up. The first game is at 12:35 and both will be televised.

  • Clint Barmes and Alex Presley had a pair of doubles while Jose Tabata added a couple of singles. Barmes was 3-for-3 with a homer and walk to go with the two-baggers. And beside his game-winning single, Casey McGehee drew three walks.
  • Cargo's two homers were his first long balls of the year.
  • Yep, the Pirates tied their own 1965 NL record of consecutive opening games with neither team going north of five runs tonight at 16. The MLB record is 17, set by the 1943 Tigers.
  • The Pirates and the Rockies will become the first teams in MLB history to add an extra player to the roster for their twin bill at PNC Park. The new CBA allows teams to carry 26 on the active roster for doubleheaders to save all the movement that calling up an extra pitcher entails. Both sides, with a travel day Thursday and the rotations OK, will likely bring up a reliever.

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