Monday, May 21, 2012

Bucs Rally From 4-0 Hole To Win 5-4

Erik Bedard and Johan Santana met in the battle of lefties, both pitching well and neither getting much offensive help from their club. Bedard got the Bucs off on the right foot, with his only opening inning blemish a walk to David Wright. The Bucs were treated much the same by Santana, with Cutch lining a two-out single to center, his first career knock off the southpaw.

Vinnie Rottino singled with an out in the second. Ronnie Cedeno got his first at-bat against his old mates and smacked a 3-2 fastball down the middle off the wall in right center for a run producing two bagger. Josh Harrison, making the start in right, may have had a shot at it but took a crooked route to the ball. Mike Nickeas, hitting .188, drew a five pitch walk when Bedard didn't get a couple of calls on hooks that crossed his knee, and Santana bunted the pair up.

The wild streak continued as Torres drew a four pitch free pass. It cost, as Justin Turner blooped a first pitch curve into left over Clint Barmes, plating a pair and sending Torres to third when no one covered the bag. Wright got ahead 2-0, and a couple of pitches later dropped a soft liner into center to make it 4-0. before the frame ended, Bedard was already up to 51 pitches. The Pirates went down in order, with the soft tossing Santana picking up a pair of whiffs.

Cedeno dropped a pop in front of Harrison on a two out, 3-2 pitch for the only Met damage in the third. With one away, Bedard bounced one into left. Two pitches later, JT tapped back to the mound to trigger a 1-6-3 DP. The Mets went down cleanly in the fourth.

Harrison led off the Pirate half with a double to dead center. Cutch followed with a first pitch two bagger to left, and the Bucs were on the board. Pedro got ahead 2-1, was served a hanging slider, and ripped it into right for Pittsburgh's third straight double, making it 4-2.

We have no idea why, but Neil Walker made the first out when he popped up a bunt try. Casey McGehee got aboard on a throwing error by Wright, with Alvarez holding. Barmes walked on five pitches, his second free pass of the season, to juice the sacks. Control your enthusiasm; McKenry bounced into a 6-4-3 DP to end the frame.

Bedard retired the first two Mets before Lucas Duda dinked a cutter 6" outside along the left side for an infield knock. He left him there, but is done after 97 pitches. He went five, giving up four runs on six hits with three walks and four whiffs. And hey, Gorkys Hernandez stepped up to bat for him, making his first MLB at-bat. He fit right in, swinging at and missing balls four and five to K. Two bouncers followed to end the frame. After five, it was 4-2 Mets.

Chris Resop climbed the hill for Pittsburgh in the sixth. He K'ed the pesky Cedeno looking on three pitches with a heater that was up but got the call to open a 1-2-3 inning. With two away for Pittsburgh, The Kid doubled into left off Wright's glove, but McGehee whiffed to end the inning. Resop's walked Justin Turner with one out in the seventh, followed by a Wright knock to left. That brought in Tony Watson to face the lefty Ike Davis. He K'ed him and polished off the frame.

Barmes opened the Bucco half with a knock, and McKenry followed with a blast into the left center field seats over the 383 mark, his third of the season, to knot the score. Yamiaco Navarro whiffed, but JT drew a four pitch walk, and that ended Santana's night as he gave way to Bobby Parnell. Harrison reached on an error by Wright. Parnell got a huge out, getting Cutch to chase high heat for the strikeout. Lefty Tim Byrdak took the ball from him to match up with El Toro. He fed him a diet of sliders and got him swinging, too.

Jared Hughes climbed the mound for Pittsburgh. Kirk Nieuwenhuis greeted him with a single to left on a two strike mistake pitch served over the heart of the plate. Cedeno missed on a pair of bunt tries and grounded out sharply to Alvarez, who made a nice diving stab to keep the ball from going into the corner. A wild pitch moved him to third. Hughes struck out Nickeas. Lefty Mike Baxter grabbed a stick and was intentionally walked. Working Torres down and away, Hughes got a grounder to second to end the frame still tied.

Jon Rauch was called out for the bottom half. Nieuwenhuis dropped Walker's routine fly into left center after playing "who's got it" with LF Baxter, and The Kid made it to third on the miscue. McGehee got a high fastball, but grounded it to third to freeze the runner. No prob; Barmes took the first pitch to medium right, and The Kid slid home to beat the rap with the lead run.

It was Hanny time. McLouth took over in left, with JT sliding to right. As it ended up, Hanny didn't need any OFs; two grounders and a K put the Mets away. Hanny notched save #10, closing out Jared Hughes' MLB first win.

Hey, it's nice to see a team give the Bucs a game for a change. And all the Buc runs prior to Walker's were the result of extra base hits, so that's encouraging too. Never underestimate the pen, either. They put together another four innings of zeroes.

RA Dickey takes on James McDonald tomorrow night.
  • The Pirates have gone seven consecutive games without making an error, the longest active streak in MLB. It's probably a good thing that mental errors aren't kept in the book. 
  • Jeff Karstens worked three shutout innings of rehab work at Altoona, giving up two hits with a K while tossing 37 pitches. He threw a short side afterwards to reach his goal of 45 pitches.

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