Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chris Johnson Bombs Blast Bucs 10-4

Been awhile since anybody scored of Jeff Karstens at home; Arizona put a stop to that. Stephen Drew led off with a single, went to third on a couple of infield outs and came home when Paul Goldschmidt rocketed a liner off JK's hip for an infield single and RBI.

The Bucs jumped Patrick Corbin in a hurry. Starling Marte lined one into center and sped to third on a single to right by Travis Snider. Cutch dinged one into center; Geraldo Parra botched the catch, but recovered in time to force Snider, who had to hold on the fly, as Marte scored to tie the game. (It would be credited as a sac fly). Gaby Sanchez went down swinging on three 90-ish heaters. Neil Walker squared up on a liner to center, but Parra made the catch this time and it was 1-1 after a frame.

JK worked Miguel Montero tight, falling behind 3-1. He came in with a heater on the inside half, and Miggy drove it deep to center for an opening two-bagger. A bouncer to second moved him up a station. Karstens got a big whiff, catching Parra looking at a hook, and Corbin rolled out to first to end the frame without a nick. Corbin put the Bucs away in order in the second.

Drew opened the third by sending a hung 2-2 curve over the Clemente Wall; JK can't seem to start an inning off with an out. With one away, Jason Kubel sent a knock to right. He ran the count full to Goldschmidt and gave him a heater down the middle and up in the zone. He took it to right for a double off Snider's glove at the wall, putting Snakes at second and third. JK again got a big K, whiffing Justin Upton who was up there hacking. Montero flew out, and Karstens dodged another bullet, though he's at 65 pitches after three.

After K'ing the first two batters, Corbin spun a change up to Snider who ripped it to right for a ground rule double. Another change up had the same bad results for Corbin. Cutch banged it into left, scoring Snider and taking second on the throw home. The D-Back lefty stuck to heaters for Sanchez, and he ripped one right at 2B Aaron Hill to end the frame, now knotted at two.

Karstens finally retired the leadoff hitter in the fourth, getting Chris Johnson to chase a slow curve down and away. It was a moral victory, but that's all - Parra knocked a first-pitch change into left for a knock. Corbin laid down a two-strike bunt to move Parra up 90'. Drew regained the lead for the D-Backs when he reached out and knocked a change up away through Karstens' five hole into center for his third hit and second RBI, scoring Parra and giving 'Zona a 3-2 edge. Corbin iced the Pirates, picking up a pair of strikeouts.

JK tossed a clean fifth. Clint Barmes took two heaters for strikes, then pulled a fastball that almost hit him to left for a two bagger. Karstens cost his own cause when he struck out. Corbin tried to work Marte in and out, but lost him on five pitches. Snider rolled out to second, moving the runners up a sack and setting up Cutch for an intentional walk. Sanchez, so far a ground ball machine in a Pirate uni, bounced to short to end the threat.

The Snakes beat three balls into the ground in the sixth, giving Karstens seven straight outs after a brutal start. Walker started by taking a pair of strikes, then fished for a curve in the dirt. The Fort got ahead of Corbin 3-0, took a fastball, then knocked the second into left for a double. He stayed away from Pedro, and walked him on a 3-2 change up. Barmes whacked a 2-1 fastball pretty well, but it ended up a loud out to center, moving The Fort to third. Josh Harrison grabbed a stick for JK and flew out on the first pitch.

Karstens went six, giving up three runs on eight hits with four K, tossing 100 pitches. He regained his down-in-the-zone mojo in the latter innings, but was lucky to escape with a quality start, spending four innings up and over the plate. Tony Watson came on in the seventh after an eight day layoff to face Chris Young, who was pinch hitting for Corbin. Young went down fishing for a low 3-2 heater. Watson was ahead of Drew 0-2, but lost him five pitches later. Watson threw to first as often as he did home afterward, but it worked out OK as Hill flew out, Kubel bounced to second and Drew stayed anchored.

Takashi Saito climbed the hill in the seventh to face the top of the order. He fed Marte a 3-2 heater down the middle, and the rook deposited it over the CF fence into the batter's eye ivy 434' away to tie the game. Snider knocked a fastball down and on the black into center for a knock. Saito got ahead of McCutch 0-2, jammed him at the knees with a heater and watched the ball fly into left for a double, putting Bucs at second and third. Garrett Jones stepped in for Gaby and was intentionally walked.

That juiced the sacks and gave the pen time to heat up; Matt Zagurski was handed the ball by Kirk Gibson. Walker hit a heater to left just deep enough to score Snider and give the Bucs a 4-3 lead. The wheels turned; Brad Ziegler toed the rubber for The Fort. No heroics this inning; he banged a 1-2 pitch to short to start an inning-killing 6-4-3 DP. But still, it was a good one; the Bucs are up one now.

Jason Grilli took to the bump to face the Snake's 4-5-6 guys. He came inside with a heater, and Goldschmidt banged it to left for a double; Pittsburgh can't get that guy out. Then the Snakes got a break; Grilli jammed Upton, and he got enough to drop a soft bloop into center to put D-Backs on the corners. Ahead of Montero 0-2, Miggy singled to right on a pitch away to checkmate the game again. It got worse; Chris Johnson got a heater thigh high on the inside half and went yard with it; now the Snakes were up by three. Grilled Cheese didn't have his usual velocity tonight, didn't switch up to the slider, and it cost. Chris Resop took over.

Not a good start; Pedro made a bad toss on Parra's grounder to put him on first. Ryan Wheeler hit for Zeigler. He beat out an infield knock, but the Bucs got a break when Parra tried to sneak into third, where he was caught. Resop took care of the rest. David Hernandez came on to work the eighth and tucked the Bucs away.

Jared Hughes trotted in from the pen for the ninth. With two outs, he lost Upton on four pitches and he swiped second. Montero got a heater away and took it to left for a ground rule double to make it 8-4. Hughes fell behind Johnson 2-0 and gave him a heater just about the same spot where Grilli did, maybe a bit lower, but with the same results, a bomb to center. No matter what uni he has on, Chris Johnson owns the Bucs, and it's a 10-4 game, good buddy. JJ Putz tied the ribbon, pitching a clean ninth with two whiffs.

Hey, things like this will happen. Both sides had big offensive chances. After a slow start, the D-Backs eventually took advantage of theirs, going 7-for-14 with RISP while the Bucs went 1-for-8. The top of the Buc order had seven hits and two walks; the other six lineup spots had two hits and two walks. Gaby Sanchez might do better hit out of the six hole instead of clean up.

But it may be a sign of future fissures in the pen, especially in the late innings. We're not too concerned with Jason Grilli, whose peripherals are fine and in line. But the seventh inning guys, Jared Hughes and Juan Cruz (when and if he returns), are both due for some serious regression as the season winds down, as is Hanny. Losing Lincoln was a cost of doing business, but the Bucs may need a fresh arm or two during the dog days to keep the bullpen strong to the wire.

As we noted in the last post, the FO is lining up their organizational guys with short-term slots if they're needed for the stretch. Maybe someone will fall in their laps off waivers, but given their record, that's asking for a lot this time around.

Ian Kennedy and Kevin Correia match up tomorrow.

  • This was the first time this year that Jason Grilli has given up multiple runs in an inning.
  • Patrick Corbin can join the club - his seven strikeouts against the Bucs tonight is his personal MLB game high.
  • State College's RHP Clay Holmes went 5 zippo innings tonight, giving up a hit, two walks and fanning three.
  • Well, so much for the Kip Wells comeback. He cleared waivers and was sent to AAA Tucson by the SD Padres. Guess we'll have to cancel the weekend reunion, although Ohlie should be due to work on Sunday.
  • LHP Garrett Olson, who pitched well if briefly for the Pirates last year, was called up by the Mets today to replace the injured Tim Byrdik.

No comments: