Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Inning Blues Do In Bucs 4-2

Andrew Werner had a good start to his major league career - in his first frame, he got a pair of grounders to third and K'ed the league's leading hitter, Cutch, swinging. Guess the Bucs decided to come out swinging; they weren't looking at many pitches; he tossed nine.

And they should; J-Mick walked leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera on five pitches in what looks to be a pretty tight strike zone tonight. Cabrera stole second despite getting lots of attention and oversliding the base with the tag on. Then Will Venable walked after a pesky, nine pitch at bat. Hey, guess what - Chase Headley walked too. Carlos Quentin took a ball, then banged a heater of the wall in left center to bring home a pair. Mark Kotsay lifted a sac fly to center; at least there was an out now. Make that two; Quentin was caught trying to steal third. Logan Forsythe's grounder made three, but it was 3-0 Friars; we're beginning to hate first innings. And it took 30 pitches to get through it.

Garrett Jones continued his one man attack, leading off with a two bagger. Gaby Sanchez bounced out on the first pitch - it was down the middle - moving GI to third. Pedro took a walk to put Pirates at the corners. The Fort rolled the first pitch to short for a 6-4-3 DP, and pffft went another rally. When you're hot...with one out, Jeff Baker smacked one to The Kid; he muffed it. But young Mr. Werner decided to swing away, and rolled the first pitch to Pedro, who began an around the horn DP.

The Bucs went down in order in the third; Werner, who replaced Ross Ohlendorf in the rotation, has been tossing balls down the middle, and the Pirates can't do anything with them. Cabrera led off with a bunt single. With an out, he stole second, his 24th straight swipe without being nabbed, and Headley drew another walk. Quentin and Kotsay went down routinely to end the frame.

With an out in the fourth, Cutch legged out an infield knock and GI walked on five pitches. An out later, Pedro singled to right. Cutch came in, but Jones was nailed easily trying to go to third - now where is it that you never make the first or last out at again? But at any rate, it's 3-1 now. J-Mick opened by losing Forsythe, and Cameron Maybin singled him to second. McDonald punched out Baker and Werner, who fouled off two bunt tries and then looked at strike three. Cabrera bounced out to second to end the fourth without any added damage.

The Fort opened with a long fly out to left, extending his cold streak to 0-for-20. After a Barmes fly, J-Mick drew a five pitch walk. Didn't help; JT grounded out to short for the third time. Venable opened with a double, the fourth leadoff batter to reach in five innings. An out later, Quentin singled him home, and it was 4-1.

Three Bucs up, three weak Buc groundouts in the sixth. Werner has found a bit of a groove; he's been keeping the ball away from the middle of the plate since the fourth.  Jared Hughes came on for Pittsburgh. McDonald went five, giving up four runs on five hits and five walks with two whiffs, tossing 92 pitches. It definitely was not a step forward for the righty. After an out, Hughes walked Baker; his sinker isn't going to get many low strike calls tonight. Werner muffed another bunt as Baker was forced out at second, and Cabrera grounded out.

Gaby did good on a first pitch this time; he knocked a change up yard to open the seventh, and Pedro followed with a 3-2 walk. That was it for Werner; Brad Brach took the bump. McKenry flew out and Barmes went down swinging. Hurdle sent up Travis Snider, who lined out to left to end the frame. Chris Resop toed the rubber in the SD seventh and tossed a clean frame.

The Bucs sent up the top of the order in the eighth against Luke Gregerson, and he put them away handily. Jason Grilli tossed  1-2-3 frame, helped by a sweet catch of a foul by Tabata who was a step from crashing into the wall. Tom Layne, who the Padres called up from AA yesterday, came on to close with Huston Street hurt and Dale Thayer used up. With an out, Sanchez tried to knock a second ball out of Petco, but his fly was hauled in short of the fence in left; it's the third ball he's squared up on tonight. Pedro went down looking, and San Diego broomed the Bucs 4-2.

The starter and closer (first win, first save) were AA San Antonio Mission pitchers earlier this month, yet the Pirates are afraid to call their players up *sigh*. After a bad 4-7 home stand, the Bucs fell flat after their 19-inning win at St. Louis to finish the road trip 2-4. Tomorrow is an off day, and hopefully it will charge their batteries, with 28 straight NL Central games on tap.

  •  The Pirates will re-evaluate Starling Marte Friday to see if he can begin light physical activity. He's out with an oblique strain.
  • SD pitcher Andrew Werner is quite a story. He attended Indianapolis University, went undrafted, and pitched for the Evansville Otters of the indy Frontier League before being signed by SD after a tryout. The 25 year old had four starts at AAA before getting the call for today's game.

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