Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cutch Happens; Bucs Walk Off With 2-1 Win

What on paper looked like hitter's delight turned out to be another pitcher's duel at PNC. Kyle McPherson and Mike Leake went six innings each, twirling four-hit shutout ball, taking over from the classic shootout yesterday between Homer Bailey and AJ Burnett.

K-Mac K'ed five, and after giving up back-to-back ground ball singles to open the game was impressive, at one point retiring nine in a row. Leake was only in one jam, working out of a bases loaded, two out situation in the second on a nifty stop by Joey Votto on an Alex Presley ball aimed toward the second base hole.

In the seventh, Jared Hughes put the Reds down without a run. The Bucs took the lead when Alex Presley doubled to The Notch off Jose Arredondo to plate Chase d'Arnaud, who was running for Clint Barmes.  The lead brought on an armada of changes - Jason Grilli took the hill while Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer and Jose Tabata took the field. It wasn't quite enough.

Ryan Ludwick opened the eighth with a double, turning on a heater and lining it to left. His pinch runner, Dennis Phipps, was on third with two down when Scott Rolen blooped a 3-2 heater into short left to tie the game. The Bucs threatened to regain the lead in their half off Logan Ondrusek. Gaby Sanchez lined out short of the wall in left and Pedro blasted one to the track in right center to open the inning. The two loud outs were followed by a pair of walks and an infield single to load the bases for Marte, who popped a slider to first base to end the frame.

Hanny came on in the ninth, and with his usual flair for the dramatic, walked two Reds but escaped unscathed. Jonathan Broxton came on for Cincinnati. He got J-Hay on a liner to center, then worked the count to 2-2 against Cutch, pitching him away. He fired a heater over the outside half again, and McCutch took it over the wall in right center for his third career walk-off homer and a 2-1 Bucco win.

It was sweet vindication for Cutch, who was mired in an 0-for-16 streak despite spanking a couple of balls prior to his game winning blast. It broke a seven game losing streak for the club at PNC and could give them a chance to end a frustrating year with a couple of wins to build on against teams headed for the post season.

Johnny Cueto goes for his twentieth win in the rubber match tomorrow afternoon against Wandy Rodriguez.

  • Both teams snapped 15-inning scoreless streaks during the game.
  • The Pirates had lost 9 of their last 10 one-run decisions before tonight.
  • Tonight's 77th win is the most by a Pirate team since 1999. 
  • 38,623 fans were at PNC Park tonight for the Bucs 17th sellout of the season. The crowd put the year's attendance at over 2,000,000 for the first time since the yard's opening season.

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