Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bucs Win 5-4; Karstens Out

The games started out in what's becoming a Pirate MO - with two outs in the first, McCutch, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones bopped back-to-back-to-back knocks, and the Bucs jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Arizona ace Ian Kennedy.

In what's becoming another MO, the lead vanished before long. The D-Backs had two away against their nemesis, Jeff Karstens, when Chris Young doubled down the left-field line. Miguel Montero singled him home, followed by a Jason Kubel double that gave Arizona a 2-1 lead. It would get worse.

Karstens made the last out for the Pirates in the second, but didn't take the bump. He was pulled with a bum wing, later described as shoulder inflammation, and left the rest of the night to the bullpen. Jared Hughes came on. He walked Aaron Hill with an out, and a two-down double by Willie Bloomquist put the Pirates in a 3-1 hole.

But Pittsburgh kept the two-out mojo going in the third. Cutch singled, went to second on a balk, and came in on Walker's single against a distracted Kennedy, who was still steamed over the call. Jones doubled The Kid in, and it was a new ballgame.

In the next frame, Pedro Alvarez caught a Kennedy slider and drove it into center, where he was robbed by Young, who made a wall-crashing grab. But it came at a price. Young left the game with a bruised shoulder, and the already short-handed Snakes (Justin Upton and Geoff Blum were out) had to shuffle positions across the board.

The D-Backs made some noise in their half. Ryan Roberts and Lyle Overbay opened the frame with singles. A DP ball looked like Hughes' savior, but he walked the pitcher to put runners on the corners. In came Anthony Watson to face Bloomquist, and he got the swinging K.

The fifth saw no scoring, and Jones opened the sixth frame with a homer, his second of the season, to give the Bucs a 4-3 lead. The seventh saw Craig Breslow and Evan Meek take the hill. The Pirates wasted a Jose Tabata lead-off walk with misfired small ball when Alex Presley popped out trying to bunt and a batter later, JT was caught stealing. Arizona went down in order.

Cutch and Walker led off the eighth with singles against Joe Paterson, but the D-Backs caught a break when Jones' dink into right turned into a force-out at second, and McCutchen eventually died at third. Arizona tied it in their half when John McDonald lifted a 3-2 Jason Grilli heater over the left field wall.

But Pittsburgh's two-out juju was about to curse Bryan Shaw. Presley legged out an infield knock, and pinch-hitter Casey McGehee rolled one up the middle to send The King to third. Cutch dropped a 1-2 offering softly into left, and the Bucs had a 5-4 lead.

With Hanny on ice, Juan Cruz came on to perform the closing chores and put the Snakes down 1-2-3. Nice team effort. The Bucs rattled out 13 hits, and five guys came out of the bullpen to pitch two run, four hit ball with a couple of Ks over eight innings.

The Bucs send James McDonald against Daniel Hudson today. And if ever J-Mac had a seven or eight inning outing in him, this afternoon would be a fine time to dust it off.

  • Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones went 10-for-14 with five RBI and four runs last night. Now that's a middle of an order.
  • Juan Cruz earned his fourth career save, his first since 2009 with the KC Royals.
  • Seven of the nine runs came on two-out knocks. That's pretty clutch for both sides.
  • Joel Hanrahan is out with a tight hammy. He's day-to-day, and the Bucs hope that he'll be ready for the Cardinal series beginning Friday at PNC.
  • Last night marked the eighth time in eleven games the D-backs have scored in their first at-bat. The Buc staff is a good match. They've given up first inning runs in seven of their eleven games.
  • The Rox Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to earn a win, turning away the Padres at the age of 49 years, 150 days. He broke the previous mark held by the Brooklyn Dodgers' Jack Quinn, set in 1932, who was 80 days younger.

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