Brad Lincoln started the second against Brandon Phillips by feeding him a heater, and he drove it over the wall in right-center for his sixth homer. They added big time in the fourth.
Joey Votto dropped a soft single into center and Phillips followed by grounding a ball into right on a nicely executed hit-and-run. After a K, Bad Brad walked Todd Frazier on four pitches. Ryan Ludwick hit the first pitch he saw, a fastball, to the wall in left-center field to empty the sacks. Ryan Hanigan poked a bloop into right and it was 5-0. Coming in the next inning, Doug Slaten put up three goose eggs for the Bucs, giving up just a hit, and Jared Hughes closed out the ninth.
Two of the four runners the Pirates had aboard in the first seven innings were lost on the basepaths, and the other pair never made it past first. Cutch walked in the fourth and was picked off; he and Clint Hurdle argued for a balk call. In the sixth, Josh Harrison took one for the team, but was caught stealing on a nifty tag by Phillips. Why he was stealing with the score 5-0 is an entirely different subject.
In the eighth, the Buc bats woke up. Barajas led off with a double to right field after being robbed by Drew Stubbs in the fifth, followed a single from pinch-hitter Pedro. Cueto got a Harrison lineout and whiffed Alex Presley, who looked at three straight strikes after getting ahead 2-0 and seemed to be cruising. Neil Walker ruined the party with a single to plate Barajas. For Cueto, it was pitch #118; Dusty Baker lets his guys work. But that was enough for Cueto.
In came Logan Ondrusek to face Cutch. He threw one fastball past him and came back with another. Shame on him; McCutch dropped over the wall in right center to make the game 5-4. Sean Marshall came in to get the last out against another pinch hitter, JT.
If the Bucs thought they were back in it, they forgot to tell Aroldis Chapman. He hasn't allowed an earned run this season and tossed a perfect ninth inning last night to earn his sixth save, using just nine pitches. He struck out Rod Barajas with a 101-mile per hour fastball to end the game, his second K job of the frame.
We kinda pin this loss on the FO. Lincoln hasn't thrown more than 22 pitches since May 14th, his only other start, and it was a stretch to think he could suddenly give them five innings and 75 pitches. But Karstens should be back for his next start, so that bump is past for the time being and Bad Brad can focus on his utility man bullpen role.
Kevin Correia and Mike Leake get it on tonight in the deciding match of the series.
- Pedro Alvarez bopped a pinch-hit single to break an 0-for-18 streak.
- Andrew McCutchen joined Ryan Braun and Hanley Ramirez as the only players to reach 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases so far this season.