Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bucs Win In Ten 2-1

The Phils wasted no time getting on the board tonight. Shane Victorino shot a single into right, followed by a Placido Polanco humpback liner over short. A Jimmy Rollins bunt and well placed roller by Hunter Pence put the Phillies up 1-0 and left runners at the corners. JK bore down to stop the bleeding by whiffing Laynce Nix and getting John Mayberry on a fly to medium center.

Still, you hate to give the lead to Cliff Lee. The game moved along, although neither pitcher was sharp with their control, an oddity for both Karstens and Lee. Through five, it remained 1-0.

After retiring nine in a row, JK escaped a two-out, first and third jam in the fourth. Lee was cruising, giving up an Alex Presley single and a walk to Neil Walker, but neither runner touched second.

Karstens worked six innings in all, giving up a run on five hits with a walk and two Ks on 85 pitches. Yamaico Navarro pinch hit for him with one away, and drew a walk. A Jose Tabata knock up the middle moved him to second, and he went on to third when Presley bounced out to second.

Navarro became the first Bucco runner to score when a wild pitch brought him in - and that was iffy. The ball ricocheted straight back from the stone wall to the catcher, and Lee had Navarro dead at the plate but short-armed Ruiz's throw.

Lee finished the frame, and then departed for a pinch hitter in the seventh with 100 pitches to his credit. He gave up a run on two hits with two walks and four punchouts. Tony Watson threw a 1-2-3 seventh for the Bucs. Kyle Kedricks did the same for Philadelphia; Casey McGehee, Matt Hague and Walker all lined out against him.

Jason Grilli, who pitched in the Philly organization last season, came on for the eighth inning. His infield corners had changed - McGehee went to first, Josh Harrison to the hot corner, and Hague took a seat in a twofer exchange. Grilli faced four batters in the frame, marred only by a McGehee error. Chad Qualls took the bump, and with two away, Harrison doubled to left. Tabata hit a 2-2 pitch well, but the slicing liner was a step or two from a well positioned Pence.

Hanny climbed the hill in the ninth. After losing Pence after a long at-bat, Nix popped out trying to bunt. No prob; Pence stole second. Jim Thome K'ed looking at a slider that broke off above the knee, and Hanrahan worked around Carlos Ruiz, walking him on four pitches. That brought up rookie Freddy Galvis, and he went down flailing at a slider.

Mike Stutes came in for Philly. He gave up a one away single to McCutch, who stroked a 1-2 slider into center. He stole second.  An out later, Nate McLouth went to the dish, and Charlie Manuel brought in lefty Antonio Bastardo. He walked McLouth on four pitches, but got Walker on a pop to second.

Juan Cruz pitched the tenth. After two outs, Polanco looped a single past Walker and Jimmy Rollins lined a single up the middle, just past a lunging Clint Barmes. But Cruz got Pirate nemesis Pence swinging to put up another zero. Joe Blanton saddled up for the City of Brotherly Love.

Rod Barajas came within a few inches of winning the game outright when he caught a 3-2 heater and pounded it off the padding in left center. Barmes nicely moved pinchrunner Mike McKenry (hey, who was left?) to third on a bunt up the line, and Harrison was nicked by a pitch.

Tabata pulled the trigger on the first pitch he saw, but skied a pop up.  Down to his last strike, Presley broke his bat and rolled one softly to the shortstop hole. He put down his head, made a beeline to first and beat Rollin's throw by a toe. The Bucs had their first win of the season, setting off the fireworks and the 38,885 fans. To be 1-1 against Doc Halladay and Cliff Lee ain't too bad.

The key tonight was a combination of Lee not having his top shelf control and the Pirates recognizing it. It didn't result in an offensive surge, but it did lead to the win. By using Lee up after six, the Bucs got into the Philly bullpen opposed to Thursday night when Halladay turned the ball over after eight to Papelbon, who didn't get on the hill tonight.

It doesn't get much easier. Vance Worley, who finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year vote in 2011, faces off against an up-and-down Jame McDonald at 1:35 PM.

But let's enjoy tonight. How often do Philadelphia fans, who watched their Flyers get dropped by the Pens this afternoon, lose twice in the same day to Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh? It's a great way to start the holiday.

No comments: