Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cubs Clubbed 10-4

It wasn't an auspicious start for Erik Bedard, as he walked leadoff hitter David DeJesus on five pitches. But he followed with a pair of groundouts, the second a 4-6-3 DP with a nice feed by Neil Walker and pivot by Josh Harrison to end the frame quietly.

JT got the Bucs off to a good opening when he rolled a slider away up the middle for a knock. Harrison laid down a bunt; Matt Garza threw it away to put Buccos at second and third. Cutch bounced out to third on a 3-2 pitch, and JT, breaking on contact, was nailed at home. It didn't hurt; Pedro got ahead 3-1 and crushed a changeup over the Clemente Wall to put Pittsburgh ahead 3-0. It was the first three-run blast by a Buc this season. After Neil Walker hacked into a strikeout, Garrett Jones doubled the other way to the bullpen. He was stranded when Matt Hague pulled a slider down and away to short.

The usually free-swinging Alphoso Soriano led off the second with a walk. Bedard finished the rest of the inning in order, never allowing a runner to reach second. JT stayed hot, spanking a two-out triple to left center, but Harrison K'ed, bunting a one-strike pitch foul and then swinging through a high heater.

After two K's in the third, DeJesus dinked a two-strike curve and legged out a single. Starlin Castro flied out to end the frame; Bedard is starting to find the strike zone after going deep in the count during the early slogging. The Pirates went down without a peep in their half.

Joe Mather opened with a single to left, the third leadoff hitter to reach for the Cubs in four frames. Bedard cleaned up nicely again, getting Soriano to bounce into a 6-4-3 twin killing. Even though plate ump Jerry Layne is squeezing the bottom of the strike zone for both pitchers (and did so even when the game was out of hand), they're still getting their outs on the dirt.

With one away, Hague lined a knock up the middle for the Bucs. But other than that, Garza is in rhythm. He struck out the side and now has six K in four frames.

With an out, Bedard lost Darwin Barney, missing inside on a 3-2 heater. Koyie Hill rolled out softly to Neil Walker as Barney became the first Cub to hit second base safely. Garza bounced out, and the Bucs had the top of the order due up in the fifth. With two away, Garza tried to sneak a fastball on the inside half past Cutch, but instead watched it disappear into the left field seats to put Pittsburgh up 4-0. Good thing five frames are in; radar shows a fair sized green, yellow and red blob cruising just north of the City.

The top of the Cubby order stepped up against Bedard. DeJesus walked on a 3-2 pitch to start the sixth inning. Bedard got away with leaving a couple of pitches up, as Castro and Mather flew out deep before Soriano bounced out to end the frame.

The Kid decided to look at a couple of pitches during this at-bat, and drew a four pitch walk. Garza grooved an 0-2 changeup to Jones, thigh high on the outside half, and he planted it deep over the Clemente Wall to put the Pirates up 6-0. That brought Rafael Dolis out of the pen and on the mound. He walked Hague on four pitches. It took Mike McKenry five pitches to get the same result.

Dale Sveum saw enough. He tapped his arm and brought in Mike Bowden. Bedard bunted the guys up 90'. Gorkys Hernandez batted for JT, whose left leg cramped up. Gorkys made his first MLB hit count, lining a single into center to score a pair, his first two big league RBI. Harrison walked on a 3-2 pitch. Cutch beat out an infield knock to load the sacks. Pedro lifted a fly to fairly deep center to bring Hernandez home. Walker, who opened the frame, sliced a single the opposite way to score Harrison, and the Bucs had their first ten-spot of the year.

Chris Resop came on for Pittsburgh. Bedard had thrown 90 pitches, giving up two hits with four walks and three K over six frames. Resop got three fly outs. Blake Parker climbed the hill for Chicago. McKenry singled with an out and was erased on a Yamaico Navarro DP ball as both benches were emptied.

Chicago got back-to-back singles by Hill and Blake Lalli to open the eighth. Tony Campana bounced out to first, bringing home the first Chi-Town score. Castro quickly brought home a couple more with a blast into center to make it 10-3. Randy Wells took the bump for the Cubs, and he put the Pirates away on a half dozen pitches. Juan Cruz worked the ninth.

Jeff Baker greeted him with a double. An out later, Barney also whacked a two-bagger to make it 10-4. He got the next pair, and the Bucs wrapped up their first broom job of the year.

The Pirates just beat the storm clouds, but they provided thunder and lightning a'plenty today on their own, with three long flies plating six runs. And if the bullpen was due for a bad day, this was a good one to choose. Let's hope lack of drama and adrenaline was the cause.

The Reds come to town tomorrow night, with Bronson Arroyo facing James McDonald.

  • The last time the Pirates scored 10 runs before today was July 3rd, 2011, in Washington against the Nats.
  • This was the Bucs' first series sweep, and first at PNC Park since 2010. For Chicago, it's their twelfth straight loss. Lotta work ahead for Theo Epstein.
  • There were 27,486 in attendance today for a total of 95,532 during the three game Cub series.
  • Michael Waterloo of Ohio Valley Athletics has a piece on the rock-steady upbringing of Pedro Alvarez by his parents in Washington Heights with an emphasis on education.
  • Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror has an article on when to expect the promotions of Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon to AA. The brass say it's a matter of "fastball command and (pitch) sequencing."
  • In his Sunday radio talk show, GM Neal Huntington kept his draft cards close to his vest, saying the FO had interest in both position players and pitchers in the first round, and would take the highest ranked player on their board. He added that the flap over Drew Sutton's one-day stay was much ado over nothing. The Bucs were thinking of calling up Jordy Mercer, and Sutton would have replaced him at Indy.
  • Fan fav Freddy Sanchez, now with the Giants, may have run his last lap. He got an epidural for lower back pain, and is still recovering from shoulder capsule surgery.
  • Old Bucco reliever Jesse Chavez was called up by Toronto, who had the day before refused his request to play in Japan.

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