Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bucs Go Down 4-3; K 17 Times

OK, we thought it would be a hitter's day with KC and Max Scherzer on the hill. We were wrong. Correia went strong into the seventh, and Scherzer whiffed a career-high 15 Pirates in Detroit's 4-3 win (and maybe that is a lot of runs for the two clubs). Heck, Max even whiffed Cutch three times, each time swinging at an offspeed offering. In fact, every one of his strikeouts was recorded swinging, so Cutch was well in tune with his teammates today.

The Bucs' drew first blood in the fifth when Rod Barajas knocked the first pitch he saw yard. It also broke up a string of five consecutive punchouts by Scherzer. Jhonny Peralta tied it in the Motown half with a homer of his own, only the second hit that KC had surrendered. Neil Walker got the lead back just as quickly when he pounded one out of Comerica in the sixth.

Then came the seventh. It started when Prince Fielder hit a pop into left. Nate McLouth couldn't quite get to it, and then Clint Barmes gave the ball a good kick to turn the bloop into a double.  Maybe Gorkys might have run it down, but that's kinda tough to tell from the bench. Delmon Young singled him home to tie it. KC headed for the showers and Tony Watson came on.

A soft roll out followed by a walk set the stage. Barajas allowed a passed ball, moving the runners up 90'. That also brought the infield in from DP depth. Alex Avila rolled a ground-ball through the middle of the infield ; Watson waved it going by, Barmes dove and it went under him, and a pair of runs scored. It would have been no worse than a force and maybe a DP without the passed ball and the infield back.

So the Pirates kept their errorless streak intact at 40+ frames, but couldn't make a play or two when they needed one to fall behind 4-2. Brad Lincoln and Jared Hughes kept the Tigers at bay the remainder of the game, retiring all five Detroit hitters they faced.

In the eighth, the Bucs had two on and two out against Octavio Dotel to set up Pedro, but he went down swinging on four hooks from lefty Phil Coke. Pittsburgh added a run in the ninth off Joaquin Benoit on a Josh Harrison double, short wild pitch and Barajas sac fly. The Pirates lost the game and the series to Motown.

Kinda sad to keep seeing the Bucs on the top of the headline board, first for being one-hit Friday and today for going down 17 times. It doesn't appear to bother the FO too much, though.

The Pirates come home to face the Mets tomorrow night, with Johan Santana going against Erik Bedard.

  • Cutch, Pedro Alvarez and Nate McLouth went down on strikes three times apiece while Garrett Jones, Neil Walker and Josh Harrison fanned twice. JT was the only Pirate not to K.
  • Rod Barajas now has a seven game hitting streak.
  • Max Scherzer's 15K were the most rung up against the Bucs in one start since the Giant's Tim Lincecum did it on July 27th, 2009. In all, 17 whiffs were recorded against Pittsburgh, equaling the season high set against the Reds a couple of weeks ago.
  • Today was Pittsburgh's first loss this season in 14 games when leading after six innings. 
  • Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette tweeted that "The Pirates have faced either the opposing team's opening day starter or the starter with the lowest ERA in every series this season."
  • Daniel Cabrera & Jo-Jo Reyes are MLB vets putting up nice numbers at Indy. If there's no room  for them in Pittsburgh, GM Neal Huntington told Tom Singer of that "The trade value there is limited; those guys typically don't bring you a lot in return. You don't want to hold somebody hostage, so the right thing to do is try to place them elsewhere." In other words, they are more likely to be released to seek opportunity elsewhere than get dealt.

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