Friday, June 1, 2012

Bucs Beat The Miller Blues 8-2

The first inning featured good small ball, bad small ball. Jose Tabata drew a leadoff walk against the Brewers Randy Wolf and stole second. But when Josh Harrison bunted (why?) back to the mound, JT still tried to sneak into third, and it was a no go - he was tossed out. Harrison made it somewhat moot by stealing second; the Bucs should be running tonight, as C George Kottaras is playing with an achy hammy. The Bucs added a Cutch walk, but went scoreless.

The Brew Crew hit the ball hard off Kevin Correia, but only one mattered; Nyjer Morgan hit his first homer of the year to right. Can't Pittsburgh get any of its old players out, especially one who was amidst a MLB record 138 at-bat streak without a RBI? It was 1-0 out of the gate.

Pittsburgh stranded another pair in the second. Rod Barajas singled with an out and KC added a soft knock with two away, but JT bounced out to quell the fire. Matt Hague booted an opening grounder by Kottaras in the Milwaukee half, but atoned an out later by starting a 3-6-3 DP.

In the third, the Bucs put it together. Harrison and Cutch hit back-to-back triples to start the frame. An out later, Neil Walker and Hague had consecutive knocks, and a third in a row by Barajas made it 3-0. Jordy Mercer walked to juice the sacks. KC hit into a fielders choice, with the lead runner being forced at home. But JT was clutch this time, lining a double into center that Morgan badly misjudged - the ball was hit right at him, but he came in, then backpedaled as it ticked off his mitt - to clear the bases and give the Pirates a 6-1 lead.

Corey Hart had a two-out knock in the Milwaukee third, and KC fell behind Morgan 3-0, but came back to get him on a fly out to Cutch after a nine-pitch battle.

The Bucs went down in order in the fourth, the first clean inning of the game. With two away, Kottaras swung at ball four, but it worked out for him as he rolled a soft infield single to the left side, beating the Bucco shift. KC froze Brooks Conrad with a curve to whiff him looking and put the frame to bed.

The Bucs were retired in order again in the fifth, but not before Hague and Mercer forced Ryan Braun and Morgan to make long runs to haul in their drives. Cody Ransom walked on a 3-2 pitch with one away. With his bench down a man tonight (Ricky Weeks is ill), Ron Roenicke let Wolf bat. He rolled an 0-2 pitch to short to end the inning on a 6-4-3 DP.

JT drew a one out walk on a 3-2 pitch, and attracted several throws over by Wolf. Apparently he didn't learn much from them; Wolf caught him breaking early to second and he was an easy 1-3-6 pickoff. Harrison K'ed to end the inning. Hart led of the Brewer half with a dinger, his eleventh, to make the score 6-2.

With an out, Braun rolled one to the hole at short; Mercer made a sweet rangy play, spinning and throwing in one motion, but didn't get the call at first, though replay showed his throw did barely beat the runner. JT made a nice running catch of an A-Ram liner that he read well. Braun stole second, getting his foot in ahead of Barajas' strong toss. Kotaras then walked on five pitches.

Clint Hurdle tapped the left arm to beckon Doug Slaten. He got Conrad to tap to Pedro and into a forceout on the first pitch. It's 6-2 after six. KC went 5-2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with a pair of whiffs after 90 pitches.

Juan Perez, who had been with Pittsburgh five years back, climbed the mound for the Brewers in the seventh. After two outs, he lost Walker on a 3-2 pitch and gave up a dink hit to Hague, who lobbed a ball just past the mound and reached first when everyone chased the cowhide and no one covered the bag. Barajas hit a can of corn to center, and it was Milwaukee's turn.

Carlos Gomez singled on a soft liner to center off Slaten, and Ransom flew out to left. Hurdle came on and made a two-fer, bringing in Casey McGehee to play first and Jared Hughes for the bump. Hughes bounced back from a tough day at the office against Cincy last series, getting Ed Maysonet on a chopper to third and fanning Hart, who swung at a pair of sliders a foot off the dish.

Sidearm slinger Tim Dillard took the ball for the Brew Crew in the eighth. With two away, he gave a up a two-sack gapper to right center to JT, and then walked Harrison. Why - and how - do you walk him to get to McCutchen? Cutch made him pay when he placed a soft, broken bat liner into the left field corner to plate the pair. Dillard escaped without more damage when a slicing, smoked rope by Alvarez was stabbed by a diving Ransom.

Brad Lincoln came on for the Pirates. He was greeted by a Nyjmo double. After a pop out, he lost Aramis Ramirez on a 3-2 heater just outside the black after falling behind 3-0. He also put Kottaras up 3-0 in the count, but two pitches later got him on a fly to left. Conrad came up against Tony Watson, and he went down swinging at a 3-2 heater.

Dillard stayed on for the ninth. Walker lined a knock to open, and Gorkys Hernandez, a defensive sub, legged out a swinging bunt to third. But the next trio of Pirates went down quietly. Juan Cruz came to on to keep the barn door shut and knock a little rust off his arm after his trip home (he hasn't worked since Sunday), and retired the Brewers in order with a pair of whiffs.

Good start to a series in a place that's been hard to pick up a W. We're not so sure that using six pitchers in an 8-2 game is ideal, but hey, it worked. Erik Bedard will try to keep the good times rollin' tomorrow night against Shaun Marcum.

  • Matt Hague has a seven game hit streak since being called up last Friday.
  • Ryan Braun left the game with hip strain; he was already battling a strained Achilles.
  • The Pirates have now won 6-of-7. They're three games behind the division leading Reds and just 1/2 game away from the second place Cards. 
  • Randy Linville of Pirates Prospects tested the theory that the Buc bats have been victimized by superior pitching. It didn't hold water to his analysis. The ERA of opposing hurlers Pittsburgh has faced against everyone but the Pirates is 3.74; against the Pirates only it's 2.94.
  • Johan Santana tossed the first NY Met no hitter ever, beating the Cards 8-0.


WilliamJPellas said...

Nice to see Santana get the no-no. He had a very serious shoulder injury and evidently has made it all the way back. Unbelievable that Tom Terrific never did the deed while he was a Met, but of course he has the all time record for most one-hitters, if I recall correctly. Dunno 'bout you, Ron, but if I had to pick one pitcher in his prime to win a game, and my life depended on that game, my choice would be Seaver. I think he's the best pitcher of my lifetime.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, it is a little surprising with all the arms the Mets have had, especially Tom Terrific. But I'm a little older (OK, prob a lot) than you, Will - I'd be torn between Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson for my game seven starter.

WilliamJPellas said...

Hard to go wrong with Sandy Koufax at his peak, that's for sure. Gibson, though? Really, really good, and definitely high up on the "pure competitive mean-ness" scale, but I'd take Tom Terrific over him any day of the week!

Ron Ieraci said...

Attitude, Will, attitude. Tom Terrific was 3-3/2.79 in the post season; Gibby was 7-2/1.89 in World Series play (pre-playoffs). Koufax was only 4-3 in the Series, but with a 0.95 ERA.

Anonymous said...

Definitely Gibson over Seaver.
Koufax and Seaver were both masters, but Gibson was fierce.
All things being equal, I'd still take Dock Ellis.

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - that HOF trio were all fierce when they got the ball, but Gibby is my guy. heck, they even lowered the mound because of him; think what those extra few inches of bump top would do for all the 6'4"+ pitchers in the league today.

As for Dock, he was consistent in big time games. He had a 4.06 regular season ERA and 4.08 in post season. He didn't perform up to the other guys' playoff standards, but he did match them in the fierce factor.