The Bucs kept their new-found blasting caps firing against Twinkies starter Scott Diamond. Josh Harrison took a 1-1 changeup over the wall in left with one away for his second dinger of the year. It was knocked over the fence by LF'er Josh Willingham, bouncing off the tip of his mitt and hopping over the padding as he fought the early evening sun.
Cutch followed by taking a 2-0 fastball into left for a single. Casey McGehee smacked a 2-1 heater into left to put runners at first and second with one away. Walker also got ahead 2-0, but his fastball was bounced weakly to short or the second out, with both runners advancing. Diamond tossed Pedro six straight curves, losing him on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Dewey was behind the dish, and saved Diamond's bacon by blocking three hooks bounced in the dirt. Those saves proved big, as Rod Barajas bounced out to end the frame and strand three ducks. Every Bucco hitter was ahead in the count, which was the good news; all but Harrison beat the ball into the dirt, which is the bad.
With two away in the second, Ryan Doumit dropped a jam job single into right for Minnesota's only noise of the inning. In the early going, KC is doing a pretty good job of avoiding the middle of the dish, working the edges. For Pittsburgh, even Clint Barmes showed some discipline, whacking a 3-2 heater into left off SS Brian Dozier's glove to open the frame, and was bunted to second by KC. JT flew out to short center and Harrison K'ed swinging at a curve in the dirt. The Pirates have stranded four in two innings, three in scoring position.
Jamey Carroll opened the third by spoiling a handful of pitches, finally bouncing one up the middle before being sacrificed to second by Diamond. It was Denard Span's turn to foul off a couple of two strike offerings, running the count full before grounding out and moving Carroll to the hot corner. KC had another grounder left in him, though, and escaped still holding on to his 1-0 lead. The heart of the Buc lineup went down in order, with McGehee's fly to the wall in right the only hard-hit ball.
With the heart of the Twins attack up, KC got a pair of outs, one a nice comeback against Justin Morneau, who was up 3-0 and eventually went down swinging. Trevor Plouffe lined a first pitch fastball into center, but Dewey flew out deep to the opposite field on a slider away to end the frame. Pedro rolled over on a 2-0 heater, bouncing out to first. Barajas flew out to right, but Barmes turned the order over when he rolled an 0-2 curve along the left side for an infield knock before Correia's ground out to third. Still 1-0 after four.
Dozier led off with an 11 pitch at-bat, fouling off seven KC pitches before bouncing out to third. It took just seven more offerings to put Minnesota away, putting his pitch count at 84. With one away, Harrison had a pesky at-bat, fouling off five pitches before banging a curve into left and then stealing second. Diamond tried to stay away from Cutch, and walked him on five pitches. Mistake; the duo pulled off a double steal. Swinging at a 2-2 hook, McGehee sent a ball plenty deep enough to center to plate Harrison and move McCutch to third. Walker caught a sinker on the nose, but lined out to left short of the track where Willingham hauled it in. After five, it was 2-0 Pirates.
With an out in the sixth, Ben Revere drew a five pitch walk and stole second. KC hung a two strike slider to Willingham, who lined it into center to put runners on the corners. That was it for Corriea, who went 5-1/3 innings, giving up no runs on four hits and a walk with 2 K on 97 pitches. Tony Watson took the bump. He got Morneau on a short fly to center for the second out, but walked Plouffe on four pitches to jam the sacks.
Watson got ahead of Dewey, batting from the right side, 0-2 and finished him off on a foul tip K on three sinkers.
Pedro led off with a single to right. After a Barajas fly out, Barmes drilled a hanging curve to the right field gap, sending El Toro, who was running on the pitch, home to make it 3-0. Matt Hague grabbed a bat for Watson, and Alex Burnett climbed the hill for the Twins. A wild pitch on a wayward curve moved Barmes to third, and the Hit Collector's roller to short brought him home. After six, it was 4-0 Pittsburgh, with Juan Cruz hurling.
Dozier blooped a 1-2 slider away into center to open the seventh. Carroll hit into a 5-4 force. Chris Parmelee stepped in for Burnett and watched three strikes sail past him. Cruz fell behind Span 2-0, gave him a fastball right down the middle and watched it disappear into the far corner of the Clemente stands to make it 4-2.
Jeff Manship took the ball for the Twinkies. Harrison started off with a leg single to short. On a 3-2 pitch, Manship tried to get a fastball in on Cutch's hands; McCutch turned on it and knocked it into the left field seats just inside the foul pole to make it 6-2. After McGehee whiffed fishing for a curve, Walker drew a four pitch free pass. That was that; lefty Brian Duensing got the call to face Pedro, who took a slider away the opposite way for a double to put Bucs at second and third. Barajas lifted a 2-0 sinker to left to bring home The Kid. It was 7-2 after seven.
It was Chris Resop's turn to serve some pitches in the eighth. With two down and a 2-0 count, Plouffe got a fastball and knocked it into right. Dewey bounced out, and there were three outs to go. Resop got to bat, and walked on five pitches against Duensing. JT took a ball deep to right center, but it was run down on the track for the first out. Harrison took one to the wall in right center with the same result. Cutch finally found some grass, doubling to center on a 3-2 sinker and chasing a not-too-fleet Resop to third. McGehee bounced out on the first pitch; hopefully Chris can catch his breath and finish off the Twins.
With an out, a walk and pop single into no man's land kept the Twins batting. Resop nailed the next pair, and the Bucs sent 19,936 fans home happy.
It's a good start, beating up a team they should beat up. And it was a challenge for the pitchers tonight. Plate ump Rob Drake took away the bottom quarter of the strike zone, and both staffs adjusted by working the black in-and-out rather than up-and-down.
Franciso Loriano takes on Erik Bedard tomorrow night.
- Tongiht was Kevin Correia's first win at PNC Park since June 22nd, 2011 against Baltimore.
- The Pirates have Maz and Bill Virdon serving as coaches during the homestand, and may take them on a roadtrip or two as to help out. For Maz, it's the first time in the dugout since 1984, when he coached under Bill Virdon in Montreal
- Pittsburgh strung together its first five-game home winning streak since September, 2010, the longest of the Clint Hurdle era.
- Jeff Karstens went 7 innings, giving up a run on 6 hits and a walk with 5K while tossing 78 pitches in his rehab start at Altoona. He may be ready now.
- Indy rehab action: Daniel McCutchen went an inning with 2K and Chris Leroux pitched 2/3 of an inning with two hits and a walk.
- Jamison Taillon, who has been in a slump of late, showed his stuff for Bradenton tonight, going 7 scoreless innings, giving up a hit with 3 walks and 5K on 78 pitches.
- The Bucs officially announced the signings of fifth round RHP Adrian Sampson ($250K/$252K slot), ninth round SS D.J. Crumlich ($5K/$129K slot), and 11th round SS Chris Diaz ($100K/$100K slot). Crumlich is a college senior and has no leverage; he was drafted in the top ten to help fatten the cap pool money available to the Pirates. They have $609,400 to play with according to Baseball America, with first round RHP Mark Appel, fourth round OF Brandon Thomas and eighth round 3B Kevin Ross yet to ink a deal.