Friday, June 29, 2012

Bucs Bomb Birds 14-5

Good start for the Bucs. Adam Wainwright was showing off his curve; he got Drew Sutton looking at one. He was ahead of JT 1-2, but Tabata took a sinker away and grounded it into right, stumblied out of the box and more or less staggered to first. Wainright got ahead of Cutch, too, but went to the hook once too often; McCutch lined one to left, freezing Matt Holiday and ending up with a double to put runners at second and third.

Here's where baseball is a funny game. Garrett Jones hit the first pitch on the screws, but the bullet was right at first baseman Allen Craig, so instead of a two-run knock, it was a loud out. The next hitter, Neil Walker, was jammed with a high and tight heater, but fought it off and dropped it just beyond a diving Carlos Beltran, ticking his mitt, and it was a 2-0 early edge for Kevin Correia.

KC had a nice start. After two were down, Holiday hit a grounder weakly off the end of the bat, but the hopper found its way up the middle. Cleanup man Carlos Beltran followed, and he also tapped a pitch softly, but this one took a couple of hops into Jones' mitt to end the frame.

In the second, Wainwright mixed in a few more sliders, and the third pitch did the trick. He struck out the side, being nicked only by a KC grounder up the middle with two away.  The Cards halved the lead in their half. Allen Craig was served an 0-2 curve that caught the plate and drove it into left center for a double. Two soft grounders brought him home. David Descalso drew a nine pitch walk to turn the order over, as Wainwright bounced out to end the inning.

JT led off the third with an infield hit that Raphael Furcal had to eat, but Wainwright put away the next trio of Buccaneers routinely. KC's control deserted him in the third, and St, Louis took advantage.

Furcal drew a five pitch walk. Jon Jay was up 3-0 and two pitches later rolled one past first, where Jones was holding, to put Cards on the corners. After an out, Beltran took a heater away through the shortstop hole to plate Furcal. Falling behind Craig 2-0, KC came in with a pair of sliders. Craig missed the first one, but belted the next over the left center field fence, and it was 5-2.

Both the Pirates and Cards went down quietly in the fourth, with the only action a two-out, two-strike ground single through the hole to right by Clint Barmes.

With two away in the fifth, the Bucs made a new game of it. Cutch hit a two hopper past the mound to leg out a knock. Jones went the opposite way on a changeup, rolling it off the webbing of David Freese's glove to put Bucco on the corners. The Kid walked on five pitches to bring up Pedro. He was jammed a bit on a cutter, but muscled it enough to drop a soft liner up the right field line. The ball bounced to the wall and cleared the sacks after Beltran had problems corralling it to make it 5-5.

Correia survived his half. Holiday singled with an out and went to third on a Beltran chopper that was the second out. Craig pounded a fastball deep to the right center gap, but Cutch ran it down, kissing the padding as he made the grab.

The Bucs kept bombing. After taking first pitch strikes in his prior two at bats, Barmes unloaded on a cutter, knocking it over the 375' mark to give the Bucs the lead. Pinch hitter Alex Presley battled, then he took the seventh pitch, a sinker, and knocked it out of the yard in right center. That was it for Wainwright. Eduardo Sanchez climbed the mound. He got two quick outs before Cutch roped his third hit of the night off him. Jones got a 2-1 heater and bombed it into the right field stands up the line, and it was 9-5. Walker kept the music playing with a knock, but Sanchez escaped when an Alvarez laser was beamed right at Descalso.

Correia went five innings, giving up five runs on six hits with two walks and three K, throwing 90 pitches. Brad Lincoln took the ball in the sixth. He put up a zero, with Freese the only runner, singling when he lined an inside heater back up the middle in a nice bit of batting. Fernando Salas came on for St. Louis and put Pittsburgh down in order for the first time tonight in the seventh. Bad Brad kept the Birds chirping in their nest, K'ing a pair.

And it looked like Lincoln was gonna soak up some more innings as he led off the eighth. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan are off tonight after working two in a row, so Bad Brad may end up being the bridge, set up and closer all in one. Lincoln opened the frame by lining an 0-2 slider the opposite way for a knock, and Salas then lost JT and Cutch. Mike Metheny called on Sam Freeman, a lefty. Casey McGehee took the bat from Jones, and after falling behind 0-2, took a couple of balls, hit a couple of fouls, and then lined a knock into center for another run. With an out, Pedro dew a five pitch walk to plate another, and it was 11-5 with six outs to go.

Make that three; Lincoln mowed down the Red Birds, punching out another pair. The Bucs weren't done when Marc Rzepczynski took over. He gave up a knock to Presley, a walk to JT, and a three run blast to Cutch. Bad Brad was sent to the showers after his three frames, giving up a hit with four K, and Chris Resop climbed the bump and put the Cards down without a runner.

Hey, guess what? The Pirates have finally put together a positive run differential with +3.  Maybe the FO did have some idea of what they were doing when they put this club together. And Brad Lincoln is looking more and more like the closer of the future; his mound presence even has an edge to it when he's coming out of the pen. It's been a great first half ride; let's see how the dog days pan out.

Jeff Karstens takes on Lance Lynne tomorrow afternoon. With temps supposed to be in triple digits (it was 90 at 10:15 PM in St. Louis), the Cards are rumored to have requested to change the game time to the evening, so that may come into play if true though providing a logistical nightmare.

  • Cutch was 4-for-5 with a walk, double, homer, 3 RBI and 4 runs to go with a wall-crashing catch. He's hitting .344 with 15 bombs, 51 RBI and 46 runs. Sure glad the FO tied him up for awhile. 
  • Tonight was the first time the Pirates have hit three bombs in an inning since July 22nd, 2009 vs. Milwaukee. It was the first time during a road game since July 21st, 2008 against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
  • 14 runs is the most scored in a game by the Bucs since Aug. 31st, 2010, against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
  • The Pirates had their season high of hits with 19, eclipsing the mark they set two days ago against Philadelphia. The last time they pounded out that many knocks was in July, 2010, versus Houston.
  • Alex Presley's homer was his first pinch hit dinger, and the Pirates' first since August of last year when Brandon Wood banged one.
  • Carlos Beltran collected his 2,000th hit off KC in the third inning.

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