Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Buc Beat Themselves; Slide Continues 5-3

Well, good enough start. Alex Presley battled to run the count full in the first, then smacked a sinker that stayed up over the right field fence for his ninth long ball and a quick 1-0 lead off Mike Leake. GI Jones doubled an out later, but was stranded when Pedro lined out to center.

The advantage lasted one KC toss when Brandon Phillips lined the first pitch Correia threw 388' into the seats in left field for his 17th homer of the season, and it was tied just that quickly. It could have been worse; KC stranded a pair.

The game, for all intents and purposes, would be decided in the second. Dioner Navarro walked to lead off the second on five pitches, all fastballs. After an out, Mike Leake squared to bunt, then pulled  back and chopped a grounder past Pedro Alvarez to put runners at first and second.

Phillips hit a ball off a diving Clint Barmes' mitt, dying in short left for a double and scoring Navarro.With runners on second and third, Correia skipped a slider past Michael McKenry. Leake scored from third. The Fort's throw to the plate caught him sliding home and deflected away toward the dugout, and Phillips came around, too. The Reds led 4-1.

Barmes' led off the fifth with a double up the third base line. Correia popped out trying to move him up, and the failure to get that bunt down cost the Bucs at least a run. Brock Holt singled hard to right field. Instead of a run, it sent Barmes to third. Even worse, Joey Votto cut off Jay Bruce's throw from short right and fired behind Holt to pick him off after a wide turn. Presley tapped back to the box to kill the inning.

It went pretty quietly until the seventh. KC, as he does so often after a rough start, blanked the Reds during his last four innings. he went six, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts tossing 94 pitches. 

The Bucs had a chance to blow it up in the seventh. JT worked a walk and The Fort singled to open the frame. But pinch hitter Jeff Clement went after a first pitch sinker and banged into a 4-6-3 DP.  Gaby Sanchez ran the count full and mashed a belt-high heater 404' over the wall in left in the seventh inning to salvage a couple of runs, scoring Jose Tabata and cutting the Reds' lead to 4-3. Comeback time? Nah.

After working a scoreless seventh, Kyle McPherson fed Scott Rolen a first pitch heater in the eighth, and the third baseman crushed it to left to ice the game. Logan Odrusek, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton finished up for Leake by putting up a pair of zeroes.
With 11 hits and three walks, the Bucs still only stranded five. Beside Holt's miscue, the Bucs grounded into three DPs during the night. The Pirates just don't have enough clutch at-bats to finish innings and make  enough mistakes in the field and the bases to keep the opponents alive and shoot themselves in the foot. It's been a brutal combination that's led to a boatload of close loses that were a play or two from wins. There's a reason that the first rule in any sport is to not beat yourself.
AJ Burnett and Homer Bailey get it on tomorrow.

  • The Pirates’ five-game losing streak is their longest since April 10th-14th.
  • The Pirate attendance has been noticeably down in September, but they're not alone. Cincinnati hasn't drawn 20,000 fans to Great American for either Bucco game.
  • Jared Hughes and Brandon Phillips have kissed and made up after the Reds' second baseman tweeted out charges of racism following the beanball brouhaha last night. Hughes was thought to have called him "boy." Cutch got the pair together, and now they respect each other again.  Awwww...
  • Relievers Chris Resop, Jared Hughes and Chris Leroux were not available for duty tonight. The Reds didn't have Aroldis Chapman. They decided to shut him down for a few days because of a dead arm, which showed last night when his velocity was down 5 MPH from the previous Pirate trip to Cincinnati.
  • The rotation for the Cubs series, beginning Friday: James McDonald, Jeff Locke, Wandy Rodriguez and Kevin Correia. AJ Burnett goes versus Cincy tomorrow.
  • The Hanshin Tigers are looking at offering Jeff Clement a contract next year, according to a Japanese report retweeted by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.

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