Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bat Bucs Missing In 3-1 Loss

Well, not the greatest start for K-Mac; Norichika Aoki, the first batter he faced as a Pirate starter, took him deep the opposite way on the second pitch, a heater down the middle. Two outs later, Aramis Ramirez reached on an infield single and Jonathan Lucroy got on thanks to a Pedro boot, but McPherson whiffed Taylor Green to finish the frame. It wasn't a pretty start, but he got through it down just a run. Marco Estrada got the first two Buccos before Cutch singled to left and swiped second. He was left there as Garrett Jones lifted a fly the opposite way.

Carlos Gomez opened the second with a knock to center, and stole second on the second pitch; twos are wild. Jean Segura bounced out to short, freezing Gomez. He wanted third, but couldn't have it - The Fort gunned him down trying to steal it on a bang-bang play. Estrada K'ed and it was the Bucs turn. After Pedro whiffed on a not very patient at bat, Mike McKenry doubled on an 0-2 pitch, the ball barely eluding Gomez's mitt after a nice defensive try. Travis Snider whiffed looking; the Bucs so far tonight are letting a lot of 90 MPH heaters right there sail past them. Clint Barmes swung through a 3-2 heater, and it was still 1-0 after two.

Aoki battled K-Mac for eight pitches before lining out on a nice running grab by Snider in the third. Ricky Weeks singled past Barmes on a bad hop. But it cleaned up nicely; Ryan Braun lined softly to Barmes, who barely caught Weeks off first for a DP. McPherson bounced out for the Bucs, followed by a Brock Holt walk. He didn't last long. Marte spanked one to third to start an around-the-horn DP to cap the third.

K-Mac lost A-Ram on seven pitches to start the fourth, and Lucroy singled him to second. Green flied out on a 2-0 pitch; McPherson may want to try to get ahead of a batter. No diff now; Gomez hit the first pitch to third, and Pedro stepped on the bag and tossed to first for the DP. With two outs for Pittsburgh, one a long fly to deep center by Jones, Pedro singled. The Fort popped up and the 1-0 score held up after four frames.

Segura opened the fifth with a first pitch double and was balked to third. Estrada helped his own cause by singling to right to plate Segura, so the 8-9 hitters did their job against the Pirate rookie. He got Aoki to foul out to left field, and Clint Hurdle waved Chris Resop in. K-Mac went 4-1/3, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk with two whiffs, tossing 71 pitches before the quick hook; he was on a short pitch count leash after working out of the pen the past three weeks.

Weeks greeted Resop with a knock, and Braun knocked a single to right to juice the sacks. A-Ram battled Resop, spoiling a handful of pitches, but Chris won when he got a comebacker to start the Bucs third DP of the game, going 1-2-3. The bottom of the Buc order went down 1-2-3 too.

Jeff Karstens took over the hurling duties and pitched a clean sixth, surviving a shot to center by Lucroy that landed in Cutch's glove. The top of the Buc order was up and down just as quickly.

Segura opened the Brewer seventh with a triple that got under Cutch's shoestring stab. Segura had a double and triple all year coming into tonight; he's just doubled that output in his last pair of at bats. He came in when Holt booted Estrada's roller on a tough play. Aoki kept it rolling with a single. But there's one thing the Bucs have done well tonight, and they did it again when Weeks grounded into a 6-4-3 DP. Braun whiffed, but it was 3-0. The middle of the Pirate lineup couldn't get a ball out of the infield in their swings, and that made 10 Pirates down consecutively..

JK tossed a clean eighth. Jim Henderson came on, and Snider welcomed him with a single. JT grabbed a stick and waved it, going down swinging. Jeff Clement watched two strikes down the middle and swung and missed the third. Henderson has tossed seven pitches, six of them meatballs, and the Buc pinch hitters couldn't even foul one. The Kid drew a walk, stepping in for Holt, and Jordy Mercer ran for him. But the dish stayed clean as Marte went down swinging on three pitches, all right there. Well, at least he fouled one off.

Chris Leroux climbed the hill and put the Brew Crew away without sweating. John Axford came out looking for the save. Cutch had some fight left; he knocked a 1-2 pitch the opposite way over the wall. Jones got ahead 3-0, worked the count full, and popped out. Pedro singled the opposite way to keep the Bucs alive and bring the tying run to the plate. The Fort went down looking, something that can't happen in that situation. Pedro jogged into second on defensive interference, and died there as Snider bounced out.

Well, mathematically they're still in the wildcard race. But the club is at .500 now (74-74) for the first time since June 2nd when they were 26-26. They visit Houston and the Mets after tomorrow's game, then entertain Cincinnati and Atlanta to close the season. 82 wins will be a real challenge now.

Mike Fiers takes on Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow afternoon.

  • Cutch's homer was his 29th, breaking the Pirate CF record of 28 previously held by Brian Giles.
  • The Pirates had gone 23 innings without a run before scoring in the ninth. The have just 14 hits in the last three games, covering 27 innings.
  • Tonight's attendance was 15,337.
  • The Bucs were mathematically eliminated from the Central Division title tonight.

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