Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marquis Mows Down Pirates 5-0

Well, the first inning blahs even carry over to AJ Burnett. With two down, Chase Headley got a fastball, Chase Headley hit a fastball, Chase Headley belted his third straight homer (on five pitches) off the Bucs. The Friars followed with a single and beaned batter, but they were stranded, leaving it at 1-0.

More Headley in the third; even though AJ got him out on a grounder to second, he brought home Everth Cabrera, who had led off with a triple, with the second run. The Padres tacked on another in the fourth without him when Cameron Maybin singled home Will Venable, who was aboard after a two-base boot by 1B Garrett Jones.

Through five, AJ had ten Ks - and a pitch count of 85. Why no Bucco mentions? Because with five frames gone, they're hitless against Jason Marquis and his sinker. The only Pirate runner was Pedro, beneficiary of a second inning, two out walk.

Venable added another point to the San Diego side when he led off the sixth with a long ball to center. With two down, Marquis and Alexi Amarista singled followed by a Cabrera walk. Oh, and that brings Headley to the dish. He didn't get a grand slam, but he did get a four pitch walk to force home another run. That's eight RBI in the last five at-bats; maybe the Pirates should have traded for him after all.

AJ hadn't given up a walk all game, but just lost back-to-back guys after giving up his second hit to the pitcher. Yep, time for the hook, and out trotted Jared Hughes. Burnett went 5-2/3, giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks with ten K, tossing 104 pitches. Guess he is human, hey? Hughes fought Carlos Quentin during an eight pitch battle, eventually getting him to fly out on a full count.

The no-no drama ended in the seventh when Travis Snider legged out a weak roller past the mound to the right side for an infield hit. That was it for excitement, except for Gaby Sanchez coming in to play first after the inning, with Garrett Jones going to right and Snider taking a seat. Hughes pitched nicely; he went 2-1/3 frames giving up just a bloop single.

Pedro started off the eighth with a legit single to right. The Fort grabbed a stick and bounced to second for a 4-6-3 DP; another rally monkey bites the dust. Jason Grilli took the bump in the ninth, and as usual faced the middle of the order. He opened by throwing a 3-2 heater past Headley and followed with a pair of routine outs. His gas was back to 94, and that's near his usual velocity.

The Bucs grounded out three times in the ninth, and Jason Marquis had a two hit, complete game, 5-0 shut out. It wasn't a poor plate discipline game; the Bucs saw a lot of strikes, but just couldn't square up on the sinker.

The silver lining is that if AJ was going to have a clunker, he picked a good time to do it. The Pirates got two runners as far as second all night, and you can't win with a zero on the board. Marquis' sinker had them pounding the ball into the dirt; only four outs were recorded in the air. A big plus was that Hughes and Grilli both looked strong, and that's good news for a fragile bullpen.

At least Styx will provide the fans with some hits for the post-game jam. The question is will they close with "The Grand Illusion" or "The Best Of Times?"

Erik Bedard will try to follow up his last strong outing against Ross Ohlendorf tomorrow afternoon.

  • Travis Snider wasn't removed as part of a switch or defensive move. He felt tightness in his right hamstring and came out as a precaution.
  • Tonight was the Padres' sixth straight win. It's also their 11th victory in a row at PNC Park.
  • This was AJ's third consecutive start following a two game losing streak. Might wanna work a little on those guys starting ahead of him.
  • Tonight's crowd of 39,485 is the 13th sellout of the season and the third largest crowd in PNC Park history.
  • The Padres are only MLB team without a no-hitter and their franchise dates back to 1969. The Pirates haven't been no-hit since 1971 when Bob Gibson of the Cards shut them down 11-0.
  • Huston Street was placed on the 15 day DL with a calf injury he got while recording the third out last night. 
  • Indy RHP Chris Leroux went seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk, while K'ing four in a 4-0 win.
  • C Jacob Stallings of the State College Spikes was added to the New York-Penn League All-Star roster today.

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