Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bucs Ride Correia To 4-1 Win

Ryan Vogelsong and Kevin Correia, a pair of 2011 All-Stars, hooked up today. Nate Scheirholtz, the Giant rightfielder, ran down a blast from Cutch on a ball that would have left PNC Park, capping a 1-2-3 first inning for Vogelsong. San Fran went down quietly, too.

The second started off nicely when Garrett Jones popped a lead off homer over the fence in right and Neil Walker followed by dropping a soft knock to left. Pedro Alvarez whiffed, swinging at a shoulder high heater. Clint Barmes lined a single to right, going inside out (or maybe late) on a fastball. Mike McKenry drew a 3-2 walk, bringing up Correia with the bases packed. KC popped up to first, leaving it up to Alex Presley.

He didn't exactly crush the ball, but beat out a bleeder to first, and the Bucs were up 2-0. Jose Tabata had a chance to give the Pirates an early big cushion, but bounced a 1-2 slider to second to end the frame. Correia put down the G-Men in order again, although the appropriately named Brain Belt drilled one to wall in left center that McCutch hauled in.

Cutch started off the third with a hard earned, seven pitch walk. But he was nailed stealing by Buster Posey (maybe on a hit-and-run that backfired), and Jones K'ed swinging two pitches later. Walker swung at a low 3-2 slider and bounced out to first to end the frame. Vogelsong struggled - he went 3-2 to every hitter - but the Bucs couldn't take advantage.

After retiring seven in a row, Emmanuel Burriss got the first Giant knock when his hard grounder went off Jone's glove and into right. Vogelsong bunted him to second. KC lost Angel Pagan on a 3-2 slider in the dirt, but got the dangerous Melky Cabrera to ground out to Walker, keeping the score 2-0.

It went quietly until the bottom of the fifth. Belt drilled one up the line and off Jone's mitt for a lead off double. Two ground outs later, the Giants had manufactured a run and cut the lead to 2-1. The Pirates went down in order in the sixth, while the Bay Boys stirred up a little two out trouble.

Pablo Sandoval rolled a ball up the middle and Buster Posey reached on a Barmes boot. KC got the hot Schierholtz to bounce out 1-3, but the frame ran his pitch count up to 91. He worked six innings, giving up a run on three hits and a walk with a pair of Ks.

The Bucs tried to get something going in the seventh. After Alvarez K'ed swinging at a high heater again, Barmes got plunked and McKenry worked a 3-2 walk out of Vogelsong. That brought on Clay Hensley for the Giants - Vogelsong hadn't given up a hit since the second - and Yamaico Navarro for the Bucs, grabbing KC's at-bat. He struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch after watching two strikes drop in, seeing nothing but sinkers.

The righty Hensley worked around Presley, walking him on four pitches, to get to Jose Tabata. The right fielder got into a quick 1-2 hole, watching two strikes go by, and struck out swinging at a curve. He left six runners on, twice coming up empty with the bases loaded and two outs. Jared Hughes came on after the stretch, and Casey McGehee took over at first from Jones.

With one away, Brandon Crawford banged one off the wall in left center for a double. A bouncer moved him to third, and the Giants sent Aubrey Huff to the dish. Hughes fell behind 3-0, came back to run the count full, and got him on a fly to left to keep it at 2-1.

The middle of the Buc order came up in the eighth to face Dan Otero. Cutch led off by spanking a single into left. McGehee lined the next pitch into center to put runners at first and second. Bruce Bochy saw enough and brought in Jeremy Affeldt to turn Walker around. He crossed them up and bunted; Sandoval was slow to the ball and threw it away, bringing home Cutch and leaving runners at the corners.

Harrison batted for Pedro and laid down a straight squeeze, easily plating McGehee and moving Walker to second. It was now 4-1. Barmes popped out, and McKenry drew his third walk of the afternoon. Nate McLouth stepped in for Hughes, and his comebacker ended the frame. Jason Grilli took the hill.

But it wasn't over yet. Getting second life when an apparent strike three was called ball three, Angel Pagan drilled a leadoff triple to right. An out later, he walked the free swinging Sandoval to bring the tying run to the dish, Buster Posey. No worries there; Grilli punched him out on three pitches as he looked at a slider for strike three. Scheirholtz flew out to center on a 3-2 pitch, and Grilli escaped without any damage.

Affeldt stayed in, and Presley greeted him with a single up the middle. That brought in Guillermo Moto to face Tabata, who moved The King along with a bouncer to second. Cutch flew out deep to right again, watching another PNC homer drop into Schierholtz's mitt. Presley moved to third, where he remained as McGehee flew out. It was Hanny time.

With a three run lead, Hanrahan came with heat. Belt walked on 3-2 pitch that just missed. After an out, Burriss waked on a 3-2 heater. Hanny went 3-2 on Greg Blanco, too, and got him on a fly to Presley. Pagan got ahead 3-1, fouled a couple off, and finally lifted one to Tabata. It took 31 pitches to earn, but Joel Hanrahan had his first save of 2012.

Well, it took a lot of small ball, 57 pitches by Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan to close out the last two innings, and an 0-for-11 with RISP performance from the G-Men, but the Jolly Roger waves over the West Coast for the first time this year. Erik Bedard will take on Joe Saunders in a battle of the lefties at Arizona tomorrow night.

And it raises an interesting question: if Correia keeps on like this, just who is going to go to the bullpen when AJ Burnett returns in a couple of weeks? That'll be an interesting sidebar story to watch as the month rolls along.

  • Kevin Correia got the first win by a Pirate starter this season, and the Bucs broke a five game losing streak for their first road victory.
  • This was the first time this season that the Giants were held to under four runs.
  • Bad news for the Giants. Closer Brian Wilson is officially out for the season and is likely to undergo his second Tommy John surgery.
  • Starling Marte has a nine game hitting streak for Indy. Hope Jose Tabata is paying attention. 

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