And hey, no runs in the first again. The Bucs had Cutch and Garrett Jones on the corners with two away and Pedro up, but after ripping a long foul, he bounced to Todd Helton at first to end the frame. The Bucs continued to flounder in the second.
Yamaico Navarro, starting at second, walked and Clint Barmes dropped a parachute double into short left to put runners at second and third with no outs. Rod Barajas, with the infield back and conceding the run, let a belt high, outside corner cutter go by for a strike and then popped up, golfing an ankle-high curve. Morton K'ed on three swings, and Alex Presley flew out. Three RISP in two frames and nada to show for it.
The game moved along quietly enough. The Rox loaded the bases in the fifth, when a one-out roller into center by Michael Cuddyer was followed by a two-away HBP as Morton clipped Jonathan Hererra's back foot. Chacin legged out an infield hit when he got the call on a bang-bang at first after Alvarez made a diving stop and strong throw to no avail. But CM got Marco Scutaro to bounce to short for the force and keep the game scoreless.
In their half, the Bucs broke out, thanks to the baseball gods. After Morton flew out to the wall, Presley doubled up the right field line. Nate McLouth hit a can of corn to left that Cargo lost in the sun, and it fell for an RBI double. Cutch hit a liner to left center that was catchable by Gonzalez, but he lost that one in the sun too, and it dropped, scoring McLouth. After Cargo switched shades, Jones and Alvarez bombed back-to-back dingers (Pedro's off the foul pole in right) and it was 5-0. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!
Morton was gassed after two were down in the seventh. Ramon Hernandez pounded a long blast off him that landed in the Pirate hedges, and Herrera singled. He fell behind Tyler Colvin 3-0, but came back to get him on a soft chop to short to finish the frame. Morton went seven, giving up a run on six hits and a walk with two Ks, throwing 101 pitches.
Chad Durham and Edgmer Escalona shut down the Bucs over the last two innings, while Brad Lincoln threw a pair of clean frames with two K's to close out for Pittsburgh. The sun followed by some thunder was plenty enough for the Bucs to wash out the taste of the opening game defeat as they took the nightcap 5-1.
The Bucs are off tomorrow as they head to Atlanta for a four game set, followed by a trio at St. Louis.
- OK, we can quit now - the Bucs set the record for most season-starting games with neither team topping five runs at 18. Any more are gravy.
- All four of Pedro's homers have been on off speed pitches.
- The Garrett Jones and Alvarez homers were the first back-to-back blasts by Bucco hitters since Lyle Overbay and Brandon Wood did it on 7/16/11 at Houston.
- Clint Barmes came out of his slump against his old mates, collecting six hits against the Rox and raising his average 90 points.
- Alex Presley's hitting streak is now at ten games.
- Jeff Karstens will visit Dr. James Andrews when the Bucs go to Atlanta to see when he can begin throwing again. He's been down with shoulder inflammation.