Friday, May 4, 2012

Bucs Get Spanked 6-1

The first three innings started out as advertised, with some pretty decent pitching. The Bucs stranded first and second inning singles by Nate McLouth and Pedro Alvarez off Johnny Cueto.

The Reds manufactured a run in the second against Kevin Correia. Jay Bruce lined a one-out double to right and moved to third on a bouncer to Neil Walker. He came home when Chris Heisey dropped a beautiful one-strike bunt that he killed between the mound and the third base line. KC may have had a play at home, but he sure didn't have one at first, and Cincy took a 1-0 lead.

In the fourth, Heisey continued his ways by drilling a two-out triple over Presley and high off the top of the Notch; they had to review it to make sure the park held it in. The Bucs opted to work on eight hitter Ryan Hanigan rather than face the pitcher, and it backfired when he rolled a 2-2 curve past Pedro for a double to make it 2-0. Looks like it's the book 1, Clint Hurdle 0 this frame.

McLouth opened the Bucco half by lining a first pitch heater off Scott Rolen for a knock, his second of the game. Walker lined a first pitch single to put runners on the corners. Pedro also bit on the first offering, lifting a sac fly to left to halve the lead. Garrett Jones actually took a pitch before tapping back to mound, forcing Walker at second.

Clint Barmes tried to tie it by rolling a slider up the line in left, but Jones was cut down 7-6-2 to end the frame. Good decision with the eight hitter due up and then the pitcher, especially when left fielder Heisey bobbled the ball, but the plan was foiled by a strong relay by Zack Cozart to easily nail Jones.

Cozart opened the fifth with a single and went to second on a groundout. With two away, KC was up 0-2 on Brandon Phiilips, but he lined a down-Broadway fastball into center to give the Reds a two-run pad. Every Redstocking run has come via a two-out knock so far, and two of the three were set up by moving the eventual run up a sack.

One one out for Pittsburgh, Correia picked a heater off his knees and lined it into right for a single. JT bounced into a force, and was quickly picked off by Cueto after breaking too soon. After five, it was 3-1 Reds. Both clubs went down in order in the sixth.

With one away in the seventh, Cozart got ahead in the count 3-1 and launched a hanging change well over the fence in left. Drew Stubbs followed with another dinger off another change on the next pitch, and the Reds were now in cruise control. KC shut the gate after that, but the cows were already out. That would be Correia's last frame. He went seven innings, giving up five runs on nine hits with a walk and 3 K, tossing 107 pitches.

The Bucs squared up on a couple of balls in their half to no avail. Pedro and Barajas both flew out deep, Rod being robbed by Heisey, and Jones doubled with an out but was left at second.

Chris Resop came on; Jay Bruce took him deep on a change and Scott Rolen followed by banging a curve into left for a two-bagger. Hanigan singled with an out to put runners on the corners. Resop worked out of that jam, but Cincy was up 6-1 with six outs to go. Make that three in a hurry; the Bucs went down 1-2-3, nine in a row for Cueto since picking off JT to end the fifth.

Resop walked the first two Reds on nine pitches to open the ninth. He got the next pair on pops, and then lost Rolen on a 3-2 pitch after a long at-bat to juice the sacks. Heisey joined the pop out parade, and it was time for the Bucs' last at-bats.

Cueto again put the Pirates away without a sweat, and took home a complete game win, giving up seven hits, the last with one out in the fifth, and whiffing four to cruise to his fourth victory. The righty wasn't as dominating as he's been in some outings, but located beautifully, And he's money at PNC Park, with a 7-1 record against the Bucs.

The Bucs were beaten all the way around tonight. James McDonald will try to get Pittsburgh in the winner's circle tomorrow against Mike Leake.

  • Pedro Alvarez extended his hitting streak to seven games.
  • Correia's home/away splits continue to be a chasm. This year, his ERA splits are 2.20/4.84 and last season they were 2.64/7.71. The long ball has a lot to do with it. He's given up three at PNC this year to none on the road, and last year it was 15-9.
  • Everyone knows that El Toro has been on a power surge. Of his 19 hits, 4 have been doubles and seven homers, so 58% of his hits have been for extra bases. Ditto for Clint Barmes. Of his 14 hits, seven have been two-baggers and two have left the yard, so 64% of his knocks touch at least two sacks. For the rest of the team, 26% of their hits have gone for extra bases.
  • This is the Pirates ninth series of the year. They've lost the first game in eight of them.
  • The Pirates drew 20,445 tonight. They've been averaging 22,000+ per home date so far this season, and averaged over 25,000 in 2011.

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