Thursday, June 14, 2012

Birds Broom Bucs 12-6

Tommy Hunter, the O's AAA swingman, started off the game by getting the first trio of Buccos in a two-strike hole; two struck out swinging.

Erik Bedard ran the count full to Brian Roberts, who drilled a 3-2 cutter down the middle up the middle. After a long fly out, Chris Davis drew a nine-pitch walk. Adam Jones popped a change up into center for the second out, but Matt Wieters roped a first pitch fastball into left to put the Birds up 1-0. Mark Reynolds took an 0-2 curve, a little low but over the dish, and banged a double to right to bring home another run. Steve Pearce whacked another curve into right that dropped for a double, and Baltimore, with three straight two out knocks - two the opposite way - threatened to run away and hide with a 4-0 lead. Steve Tolleson grounded out to end the frame; Bedard is already at 36! pitches.

Garrett Jones was jammed on a slider and started the second by popping out foul to third. Hunter came in on Casey McGehee's hands, and got him to pop foul to first. Pedro K'ed swinging; the Bucs have hit one fair ball in two innings. Bedard got the O's 1-2-3 in their half.

The Bucs went ground out, pop out, fly out in the third. Davis opened for the Os by rifling a double to the wall in center. Jones was plunked on an 0-2 pitch. Bedard got ahead of Wieters 0-2 also, then tried to sneak a fastball up past him. It wasn't elevated enough, and Wieters bounced it over the left center wall for a ground rule double. Reynolds stopped the bleeding, lining a 3-2 curve to Alvarez, and Pearce popped out. Tolleson walked on four pitches to load the bases. Andino left the sacks juiced by rolling a curve to short to leave the score at 5-0.

The Pirates were retired in order again in the fourth; that's a dozen in a row. Hunter is going right after them with no fear; he's thrown 35 pitches, and only eight have been balls. Bedard is sucking it up for the team; he's back on the mound for the fourth even at 71 pitches. With an out, Hardy fought off a 3-2 fastball and blooped it into right for a knock. Davis pulled a cutter away to right, putting runners on the corners.

That was it for Bedard; Doug Slaten got the call. It took the Canadian 85 pitches to get ten outs. Slaten got a pair of grounders, but Weiters' scooted through the left side to bring home another pair of Oriole tallies. Reynolds took a two strike change the opposite way for a double. Steve Pearce got a 2-2 fastball on the inside half of the plate and knocked it out of the yard, and it was 10-0. there a mercy rule in MLB?

The Bucco balls found some eyes in the fifth. Jones dropped a pop single into left, and McGehee rolled a single into the grass. Pedro hit another short fly to left for the first out. Teams have been working JT inside, and the Birds are no exception; Hunter K'ed him check swinging on a 3-2 heater, inside corner on the knees. But Rod Barajas came to the rescue by knocking a first pitch heater over the left field wall to make it 10-3.

Chris Resop took the bump for Pittsburgh, and retired the Orioles routinely in the fifth. After a Walker line out to open the sixth, Cutch singled up the middle. Jones caught a two strike slider that hung and hopped it over the center field wall for a ground rule double. McGehee grounded out with the infield back, bringing home Cutch. Pedro got ahead 2-0 and rolled a cutter down the pipe into left to plate Jones and make it 10-5. Hunter pounded Tabata inside again, and got him to bounce out to short.

After an out, Jones lasered a double to right on a first pitch heater. Wieters followed by driving a curve deep to center for another double, scoring Jones. Reynolds singled to center, the ball glancing off Cutch's mitt, to put runners on the corners. Resop kept them there, but the Os got a run back to make it 11-5.

Still, not enough runs for Buck Showalter to keep Hunter in, even though he had tossed just 76 pitches. He waved in Darren O'Day from the pen to start the seventh. The soft tosser put the Bucs to bed in order. Resop was soaking up his third frame. With two away, Hardy doubled past third and was wild pitched to third on a change up that got away. CR got Davis on a 4-3, the way all three outs went down this frame.

Once upon a time Bucco Dana Eveland took the hill. With an out, Cutch banged a single to left and stole second as Jones K'ed. McGehee drew a walk on a 3-2 fastball that was up. Pedro took a 3-2 heater down Broadway to fairly deep center, but it was a loud out to end the Buc's chances to make the score respectable.

Resop did yeoman's work eating three innings, and now it was Jared Hughes' turn. After getting a pair of routine outs and up 1-2 on Reynolds, he left a slider over the heart of the plate and it got bombed over the wall in left. Pearce walked on five pitches. Nick Johnson bounced out, and it was the ninth.

JT finally clocked one of those inside fastballs he's been fed all night and doubled to center. Clint Barmes singled to left with one away to put runners on the corners. Presley rolled over on a slider away, grounding the ball to first and scoring Tabata. That was it; Walker flew out to right center and the Bucs were swept 12-6.

We wouldn't bury the Bucs yet. They gave up 27 runs, but against St. Louis during a May 1-3 series, they gave up 25 and rebounded nicely. There does have to be some concern with the Pirates obstinence in sticking with Lincoln and Correia at the back end, though. We'll see how it works out in Cleveland, when James McDonald and AJ Burnett take the hill.

Tonight was a matter of finishing off an inning. The Birds scored 10 of their 12 runs with two outs, and had several key hits while in the hole. The big difference is that when Baltimore got pitches to hit, they did often enough to crank out eight doubles and two long balls. Pittsburgh didn't, even though they scored six times. They had ducks on the pond and pitches to square up on, and largely couldn't. When both sides throw out the back end of their rotations, the better bats will win, and that's what happened here.

 James McDonald faces Justin Masterson at Cleveland on Friday. Both teams were just broomed; somebody has to break that streak tomorrow.

  • Pedro's single in the sixth ended a ten game RBI dry spell.
  • Well, that went from rumor to fact in a hurry. During the pre-game media meet, Neal Huntington said that Charlie Morton had Tommy John surgery today, performed by Doc James Andrews in Florida. The estimated recovery time is 12-15 months. Morton still has two years of team control remaining as 2013 will be his second arbitration season.
  • Steve Pearce's homer was was his first since May 25th, 2011, as a Bucco. His five RBI tonight are a new career high - and they all came on two out knocks. 
  • The FO knows the sticks aren't cutting it, but they're not having much luck in the market. According to ESPN's Buster Olney "The Pirates are poking around and checking on available hitting, but so far, they aren't finding many sellers."
  • Gerrit Cole scattered three hits and struck out seven batters in five scoreless innings for Bradenton. His heater touched 101 and slider topped out at 92 as he earned his sixth win. He should be moving along to Altoona soon, maybe right after the upcoming Florida State League All-Star game.
  • For media fans, Lacee Collins is no longer working the field for Root Sports; no details available yet. She's not listed on the Root website anymore, so we guess she's moved on.

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