Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bucs Snatch Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory 9-7

OK, even during what's turning into a depressing season, this one was a real bummer. The Bucs fell behind 4-0, rallied to take a 7-4 lead going into the eighth, and then Chad Qualls, Chris Resop and Chris Leroux teamed up to surrender up seven hits and five runs in two frames while Hanny never left the pen, an implosion that led to a 9-7 whipping.

Wandy wasn't wonderful today. He gave up a three spot in the opening frame on a Ryan Braun bouncer and a two-run bomb by Aramis Ramirez. Rodriguez was lucky to escape that lightly; he left the bases loaded.

Another tally was added during the third when A-Ram scored on a sac fly. Starling Marte fired a strike home as Hot Rod blocked the plate and tagged Ramirez as he jogged by, but lost the call. Replays showed that A-Ram never touched the dish, but that's the way it's gone for Pittsburgh.

The Bucs bounced back when Cutch launched his 30th into the batter's eye greenery with Marte and Travis Snider aboard in the third, and Jones just missed drilling back-to-back blasts on a drive that curved just foul. The Pirates tied it in the fourth, but it may have been the inning that ultimately lost the game.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Alex Presley hit into a RBI fielder's choice, and went to second on a wild pitch to put Pirates at second and third with an out. Marte, with the infield back and basically needing a routine roller to drive in a run, whiffed. A grounder by Snider killed the golden goose, and the Bucs left a couple of guys in scoring position with one out, a too common team theme, though they did tie the game.The inning begged for a crooked number on the scoreboard.

They took the lead in the sixth when Clint Barmes went yard, lining a drive just inside the left field foul pole. The Pirates added two more on a Marte seeing-eye knock and Snider sac fly to go up 7-4. Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli kept the Brew Crew off the board. Grilli came on an inning early to face Ricky Weeks, Braun and Ramirez, leaving the bottom of the Brew Crew order to whoever Clint Hurdle pulled out of his hat for the eighth, leaving the ninth to Hanny.

Nice plan on paper, but the execution didn't cut it. Qualls got an out while giving up three hits, and left with the score 7-6 and Norichika Aoki at second after a two-run double that was just beyond Snider's leaping effort. Resop came in and gave up a Weeks triple and A-Ram single to hand Milwaukee an 8-7 lead. Leroux was touched for a single, bunt, single to allow an insurance run for the Brewers in the ninth. John Axford struck out the side to close out the game, allowing a runner to reach on an error.

Oh, it was probably inevitable that Milwaukee exploded. Prior to the eighth, they were 0-for-10 with RISP (they finished 4-for-18), and were 4-for-4 in the stolen base department. And you can't blame Clint Hurdle for having guys like Qualls and Hisanori Takahashi as his options. At any rate, it should be a quiet plane ride to Houston judging by the post-game locker room. The Bucs are below .500 for the first time since May 28th, and that 20th year of losing ball is staring them hard in the eye.

Jeff Locke takes on Edgar Gonzalez tomorrow night.

  • Andrew McCutchen is the first Bucco to hit 30 homers in a season since Jason Bay banged 35 in his All-Star 2006 campaign. McCutch's 92 RBI are also a personal high.
  • Lies, dang lies, and stats: Chad Qualls gave up hits to three of the four batters he face, and was credited with a hold.
  • 14,697 showed up for the game; after the eighth, just the 97 were left in the stands, more or less.

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