Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brewers Run Wild In 6-0 Win

What is it with the Brewers? AJ started the game by plunking Norichika Aoki with a soft slider, and he quickly stole second, beating a weak throw by Rod Barajas on a pitch down and away. After a Ricky Weeks whiff, Aoki went to third on a wild pitch. Ryan Braun joined him on the basepaths, drawing a 3-2 walk on a hitter that was high and tight, and he stole second. Aramis Ramirez got ahead 3-0, but ended up popping out to Garrett Jones at first and Jonathan Lucroy went down fishing. It took 27 pitches, but AJ escaped. Yovani Gallardo whiffed Starling Marte, but lost JT. Cutch cleaned it up for him, though, bouncing into a 4-6-3 DP to finish a scoreless first frame.

Travis Ishikawa opened the second hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count, with AJ working him hard inside the whole at bat. Carlos Gomez took a slurve to left center for a knock, putting Brewers at first and second. Jean Segura looked at five fastballs and trotted to first; AJ and the plate aren't on talking terms yet. Gallardo K'ed, bringing up the top of the order. Aoki took a first pitch curve to left to plate Ishikawa. AJ pumped three heaters past Weeks, and Braun banged the next pitch to short. It's 1-0 Milwaukee, and could be a whole lot worse, though Burnett is already at 51 pitches.

With two down in the Bucco half, Pedro watched a slider sail by to work a 3-2 free pass and Clint Barmes banged the next pitch into center for a knock. Gallado walked Barajas, too, to bring up AJ. He put the ball in play, grounding out to Weeks; he might have even made it close if he hustled down the line.

AJ would have got the first batter for a change if Pedro's throw to first would have been on line. But it wasn't, and A-Ram was aboard. But he got Lucroy to roll one to short, and the 6-4-3 DP cleared the sacks. Another grounder ended the Brew Crew third and took Burnett's pitch count to a more manageable 60. The Bucs went down in order without getting a ball past the infield.

The bottom of the Brewer order went down quietly in the fourth. So did the middle of the Pirate lineup. Aoki opened the fifth with a single. After two tosses to first, Weeks rolled the first pitch to short for a 6-4-3 DP. Good thing; Braun knocked a 3-2 hook into center for a knock, and it took him two pitches to swipe second. A-Ram left him there, flying out to right. The bottom of the Pittsburgh order went down 1-2-3.

Lucroy began the sixth knocking a change up into center, the fifth leadoff guy to reach in six innings. With one away, Gomez dropped a bunt up the first base line to get aboard; he caught a break veering far out of the baseline to avoid the tag, as the replay showed. Segura smashed a heater to center, bringing home Lucroy with Gomez hitting the brakes at second.  Gallardo swung away, and bopped into the Brewers third 6-4-3 DP. Gallardo was on cruise control; the top of the Bucco lineup went down without a peep for 13 put away in a row.

Tony Watson came on in the seventh. AJ went six, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks with four whiffs, tossing 94 offerings. With one down, Weeks battled and banged a single to left. Chad Qualls came on to match up with Braun; Weeks swiped second on the first pitch. Braun got a 3-2 heater a little down and in and whacked it to center to bring in Weeks. It took Braun two pitches to take second. A Ram belted a fly to deep center; Cutch ran it down, and Braun tagged to third. Lucroy was served a slider down the middle and bounced it through the left side to make it 4-0. He stole second on the second pitch; they don't even wait to catch their breath. Ishikawa couldn't cash him in, flying out to Marte, who made a nice grab to stop the bleeding.

With one away in the seventh, The Kid ended Gallardi's streak at 14 outs by banging a single to center.  Pedro beat out an infield grounder; Walker was safe too when the neighborhood play wasn't called for the force try, earning Segura an error. Jeff Clement grabbed a stick for Barmes. He got a fastball down Broadway on a 3-2 pitch, but was late and flew out to left. Gaby Sanchez stepped in the box for Hot Rod and walked on five pitches to juice the sacks. The Fort was sent in for Qualls to face Jim Henderson (Gallardo was at 106 pitches) and Jordy Mercer ran for Sanchez. All that went for naught for Pittsburgh; McKenry popped out on a 3-2 pitch.

Bryan Morris took the hill in the eighth. Gomez welcomed him with a single. After two pitches, he was on second; that's 7-for-7 tonight. Segura singled him home and went to second on the throw to the plate. Nyjer Morgan bounced out, moving the runner to third. Marte ran down a hit bid by Aoki, but the runner came home on the tag. Weeks walked on five pitches and didn't steal second - he reached there on a wild pitch. Braun grounded out, but the Fat Lady is tuning up at 6-0. Kameron Loe took over for Henderson, and pitched a clean frame against the top of the order; they're 0-for-11 tonight.

Rick Vandenhurk worked the ninth. After an out, Lucroy singled. With two down, he hit Gomez with a 3-2 pitch, but came back to K Segura, who swung at a couple of pitches that almost hit him. Jose Veras came on to close out. The Kid spoiled his party by singling with an out. A pop and a whiff later, it was in the books.

The Bucs did some good stuff. The Kid had a couple of hits, Clint Barmes started three DPs and AJ hung tough. But the bullpen melted down yet again, those stolen bases, and the curious decision by Clint Hurdle to bat for Clint bBrmes. He's done that a lot lately; maybe he should check his data bank, the one that shows he's hitting .273 in August and September. And for Jeff Clement yet, who's banging the ball at a .118 clip.

Tomorrow night could be the last gasp for Pittsburgh. Marco Estrada goes against Kyle McPherson, making his first MLB start. No pressure.

  • The Pirates haven't won the opening game in nine straight series and dropped the lid lifter in the last 13-of-15 sets.
  • The last time the Bucs beat a team that wasn't the Cubs or Astros was August 29th against the Cards.
  • The seven stolen bases against the Bucs were one short of matching the team record.
  • The Brew Crew had 13 hits; all were singles. Of course, if you count the stolen bases, there were a lot of de facto doubles. 

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