But hey, to our surprise, it was the Buccos who put a quick hurt on Barry Zito. After two were down in the first, Cutch and Casey McGehee banged out back-to-back knocks and Rod Barajas walked to load the sacks. Neil Walker, who hasn't been able to buy a base hit in the early sledding, finally "found some grass," as Clint Hurdle would say, and rifled a change up into left to bring home a pair and give the Bucs the biggest lead they've held all season at 2-0. They were his first RBI of the year, and tied him for the team lead.
Morton got through the first surrendering just a single, but wasn't so effective in the second. Hector Sanchez led off with a single and Nate Schierholtz promptly tripled him home. Two more singles tied the game and had Morton in some serious hot water with runners on the corners. But Zito helped the cause when he popped up bunting, and a pair of grounders later, the storm had been weathered, although the game was tied.
The next two frames went by quietly, with a two-out triple by Josh Harrison wasted in the fourth. In the fifth, Alex Presley knocked one up the middle with one away and came around a hitter later when Pablo Sandoval booted Jose Tabata's grounder and Brandon Crawford threw the ball away. JT stole third an out later, but like Harrison, stayed there.
The G-Men quickly got the run back. With one out, Angel Pagan, who owns Morton (9-for-12), blasted a triple. Melky Cabrera followed with a well hit ball to first, but McGehee was equal to the task and made the play, freezing Pagan. He jogged in, though, after a dribbler by Sandoval was fielded by Morton and then thrown away for a single and error, making it 3-3.
That would be the last frame for Morton, who went five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with two Ks after 71 pitches, and at one point retired ten consecutive Giants. Anthony Watson took the hill.
The Bucs put two on with two away in the following inning. Walker hit a one-away single and Barmes reached an out later when Panda booted another ball, but pinch hitter Yamaico Navarro flew out to douse the fire. Watson gave up a one-out double to Schierholtz, who was stranded.
The Bucs went down in order in the seventh, and Juan Cruz shut the door on the G-Men, yielding a two-away walk. In the eighth, Santiago Casilla came in for San Francisco and Jason Grilli for the Pirates; both worked 1-2-3 innings.
Garrett Jones, pinch hitting in the ninth against Casilla, managed a two-out infield single and stole second, but died there as Javier Lopez came in to get Presley swinging. Chris Resop took the hill for Pittsburgh. Emmanuel Burriss started off with a knock to right, and Ryan Theriot, after failing to bunt, rolled a ball into right to put runners on the corners after catching a call on a 2-2 curve that seemed to have caught him looking.
Pagan was intentionally walked to load the bases. Cabrera worked the count to 3-2 and hit the ball sharply to short. Barmes's throw for the force was in the dirt, Barajas couldn't pick it at his feet, and that was the game. Kinda ironic that the two guys the FO brought in to bring some defensive stability to the team couldn't make a pitch-and-catch play.
It was the fifth straight loss for the Bucs. And though they scored three runs, the attack still only produced seven hits and the team was 1-for-7 with RISP. That makes them 1-for-21 on the Coast.
And just like Philly manager Charlie Manuel caught heat for saving his closer, so will Clint Hurdle. The book says to ice your finisher on the road until you have the lead, and Hurdle stuck to the book. While there may be some logic to that chestnut, it would make sense to bring on Hanny in a high leverage, bases jammed situation instead of sticking with Resop. If you won't use him to win games, maybe it is time to trade him.
Kevin Correia faces off against Ryan Vogelsong tomorrow afternoon.
- Gerritt Cole had a tough day on the bump for Bradenton. He lasted three innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks with four Ks. He gave up two first-inning homers. Altoona's Brandon Cumpton threw a strong game, going seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and a walk with 4 strikeouts. One of the hits left the yard, and the Curve lost 1-0.