Friday, July 6, 2012

Bedard Bombed; G-Men Hang On For 6-5 Win

It was 94 out when Erik Bedard stepped on the mound. He walked Justin Christian on five pitches, not exactly the start he wanted after a string of short outings punctuated by control issues. But it picked up quickly enough; Ryan Theriot banged a 1-2 heater back to the mound to begin a 1-6-3 DP. Melky Cabrera pounded a curve to second, and it was a neat, 12 pitch inning for the lefty.

Josh Harrison took Barry Zito's first four pitches to set the count at 2-2, and then lined an inside heater into left for a knock. Drew Sutton worked the count to 2-2 and golfed a change into left to put runners at first and second. Cutch drove another change into left, and it was 1-0 Buccos. Casey McGehee, the cleanup hitter, tried to bunt the first pitch, fell behind 0-2 and rolled a jam job to third for an around the horn DP. It was a good job by Zito, who pounded him inside so he couldn't go to the right side. Neil Walker drew a 3-2 walk to put Buccos on the corners for Pedro, the only lefty in the lineup.  Zito won the battle, getting El Toro looking on a 2-2 fastball.

Bedard retired the middle of the order routinely in the second, and in the early going is doing a good job of catching the corners. The bottom of the Bucco lineup went down quietly, too.

Hector Sanchez opened the third by belting a heater to the Notch, but Hernandez was there for the grab,  making it look easy after a long run. The next two balls were hit in the dirt for another clean inning. The top of the order came up for a second run at Zito. Harrison opened with a four pitch walk; he hasn't fished for a pitch in two at bats now, possibly a personal best. Sutton worked the count to 3-1 and got a heater down the middle, but he didn't get enough of it and flew out to the track in right center. Cutch was ahead 2-1 and bnelted a curve to the Notch; he ended up on third and the Bucs were up 2-0. Zito again worked McGehee tight, and struck him out swinging on three pitches. The Kid picked him up when he roped a change to left center for a two bagger, just a hair short of clearing the fence. After three, it's 3-0 Pittsburgh.

Christian started the fourth by drawing a 3-2 walk; he has Bedard's number so far. Theriot was behind 0-2 when Bedard tossed a mistake pitch, throwing a heater above the belt instead of across the letters, and it was roped into right center for a double, with the ball spinning away from Cutch. Walker's relay home was late and skipped by Barajas, allowing Theriot to trot into at third. It quickly became tied when Melky Cabrera planted a curve into the left field stands.

Posey walked on four pitches, and Pablo Sandoval legged out an infield knock to the SS hole. Pagan lifted a 2-2 curve to the track in center for the first out, with Posey tagging to third. A change over the heart of the plate was drilled through the hole into left by Sanchez, and the G-Men were up 4-3. Joaquin Arias fell behind 0-2, worked the count full, and grounded to Harrison, who badly booted the ball on a tough chance, allowing a run to score. Zito bunted the runners up for Christian, who started the whole thing off. He wouldn't face Bedard, who threw 34 pitches this frame; Chris Resop took the ball. He got the ground out, but SF is now up 5-3.

Eric Bedard's line: 3-2/3 IP, five runs (four earned) on four hits, three walks and a K after 74 pitches. Well, at least he's taking the pressure off KC as the pitcher most likely to be replaced by one of Indy's young guns. Some web discussion has him perhaps headed for the DL; he hasn't been the same since his back injury in May, and certainly has a history with the DL.

Hot Rod led of the Bucco half by walking on a 3-2 change. Gorkys went down looking on three pitches; he's had trouble with balls down and in, and that's where Zito worked him to get him in the hole. Resop bunted Barajas over. Harrison again showed a good eye (maybe he should bat leadoff more often), and lined a 2-1 hook into left to put runners on the corners. Sutton, swinging at the first pitch, hit a shallow fly to right to end the fourth inning.

Resop rolled over the Giants 2-3-4 guys in the fifth, picking up K's of Cabrera and Posey. The heart of the Pirate order came up this frame. Cutch lined out to right. McGehee got a 3-2 fastball up in the zone and took it into the seats in right center to make it a 5-4 game. Walker and Alvarez went down routinely, and it's a one run game after five.

Resop put the Giants away in order in the sixth; it's taken him 22 pitches to throw 2-1/3 frames and punch out three batters. Brad Penny came in for the Giants; Zito was finished after 91 pitches. Hernandez got aboard with one out on a throwing error by SS Arias. Jordy Mercer grabbed a stick; on the first pitch, Gorkys stole second. Mercer was late on a fastball up and flew out to right. Harrison was 2-for-2 with a walk, but was pinch hit for by Garrett Jones. Jones swung at the first pitch down and away, tapping back to the mound.  Mercer stayed in at short and Jones was burned for the night.

Juan Cruz took the bump. He fell behind Arias 2-0, gave him a fastball and it was lined into right for a leadoff double. Greg Blanco pinch hit, and after fouling off a bunt try, lined out to McGehee. Christian singled hard to right to put runners at first and third. All three balls have been lasers so far. Ahead of Theriot 1-2, Cruz left a cutter up and he hit it far enough into center to plate Arias after the catch. In fact, all his pitches to Theriot in that spot were up and over the dish, not what you'd expect with a runner on third. Barajas prevented further damage by tossing out Christian stealing. Going into the stretch, it was 6-4 Giants.

With one away, Cutch lined the first pitch into left. The Giants continued to work McGehee in, and he hit a roller to third, moving Cutch to second. Javier Lopez came in to turn The Kid around, and Walker went down swinging at a curve in the dirt to end the frame. Jared Hughes climbed the mound in the eighth. Cabrera singled to left; Posey grounded to short, and Mercer started a 6-4-3 DP. Sandoval lofted a change into left, and the Bucs have six outs left to come up with a couple of runs.

They got one back in a hurry off ex-Bucco Lopez. Pedro fell behind 1-2, got a hanging curve and knocked it out of the yard in right center - and way out, at that: 457' off a lefty. George Kontos took the ball after that blast. Hot Rod grounded out softly. Hernandez got ahead 3-0, the count worked its way to 3-2, and he struck out swinging at ball four, a slider down and away. Mercer bounced out to short, and it's 6-5 going into the ninth.

With one out, Sanchez lined a double into the left field corner on the first pitch. Arias grounded out weakly to short, and Sanchez had to hold second. Good thing; Hughes had a changeup get away for a wild pitch, moving him to third. Blanco bounced out to first, and it's the last go-around for Pittsburgh to score. Sergio Romo got the closing call for SF.

Eric Fryer led off with Mike McKenry and Clint Barmes on the bench and flew out to center. Sutton got a first pitch heater down the middle and lined it right at first baseman Brandon Belt for the second out; bad luck or good positioning, take your pick. Cutch bounced a slider to third, and Pittsburgh went down 6-5.

One bad inning, with the usual ingredients; hard drives, soft hits, walks and sloppy fielding. It was enough to do in the Bucs. Go get 'em tomorrow, when there's a real duel in store between Ryan Vogelsong and James McDonald.

  • Tonight's crowd was 37,565, the eight sellout of the season. 
  • Pedro's dinger was the first home run that Javier Lopez has allowed as a Giant. It was also the longest blast of the year by a Bucco.
  • RHP Chris Leroux and LHP Doug Slaten have cleared waivers and have been outrighted to Indy. Funny thing; the Pirates seem to have forgotten to mention Leroux was waived.
  • James Santelli of Pittsburgh Sports Report has a piece on how to improve bullpens: not by changing pitchers, but changing their roles depending on the game situation.
  • The day in history: In 2002, the Astros Daryle Ward became the first and so far only player in the history of PNC Park to hit the Allegheny River on the fly, 447' away.
  • Random thought: A point to keep in mind as we approach trade season is that only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season can earn compensation. That means that if you trade for an elite (formerly Type A) rental player during his walk year and he hits the market, the team that traded for him doesn't get a sandwich pick any more. That should devalue some of the big names, or at least keep them from going to teams that need to factor the value of the compensatory picks into the deal.

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