Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bucco Sunday Sweep, Beat Twins & O's

The Bucs split the team up today to take on Baltimore and Minnesota, and it was a good Sunday - they beat the Birds 5-2 and the Twinkies 7-4, both on the road. There is joy in Mudville.

A walk and an error set up the Pirates against the Orioles. In the second, Neil Walker led off with a free pass and an out later, Brad Hawpe got aboard on a boot. Matt Hague doubled and Clint Barmes singled to plate a pair. After a whiff, two-out knocks by Alex Presley and Jose Tabata brought in two more runs against Miguel Gonzalez.

The Birds answered with two scores of their own in the third when Manny Machado walked and Ryan Flaherty homered off of Gerrit Cole. The Bucs added an eighth inning tally when Brett Carroll doubled and touched the dish on Matt Curry's infield single.

It was all about the pitching. The Bucs only managed one knock outside the big second frame, but it was enough to support some strong work from the hill.

Cole went four frames, giving up the two runs on two hits and a walk with a pair of whiffs. The last five innings were picked up by Mark Melancon, Kyle Waldrop, Hunter Strickland, Justin Wilson and Ryan Reid, who stuck out the side in the ninth. The only runners allowed were by Wilson, who surrendered a pair of walks.
The Twins match was a little different animal. Jonathan Sanchez gave up two runs in his two frames, one via Josh Willingham's homer in the first and the other on a walk to Darin Mastroianni, who stole second and scored on a single in the second. Gaby Sanchez homered in the second for Pittsburgh, and the Bucs broke out for a three-spot in the third.

Tony Sanchez homered to open the inning, and Jordy Mercer walked. An out later, Cutch took Liam Hendriks deep for a 4-2 lead. It lasted until the fifth, when the Twins tallied a pair against Stolmy Pimentel. A double, a couple of hard-hit singles and a walk brought home a run and loaded the bases with one out; a passed ball by Tony Sanchez allowed the second point to score, tying the game at fours.

The Pirates put the game away in the seventh when the bomb squad scored three times off Alex Burnett. Tony Sanchez started off with a walk. Andy Vasquez pinch-ran. Jordy Mercer laid down a bunt that Burnett fumbled, leaving both runners safe. Starling Marte sacrificed them up ninety feet.

Andrew Lambo knocked them both home with a single to center, Mel Rojas collected a knock, and Jeff Larish singled home Lambo to make it 7-4, the final.

After Sanchez and Pimentel, the pitching was tough. Roman Colon, Mike Zagurski and Vic Black pitched perfect frames, while Brooks Brown put up a goose egg although he surrendered a hit and a walk.

Tomorrow afternoon, Jeff Locke starts against the Orioles at McKechnie Field.
  • Jameson Taillon worked against the US today for Canada. He went four frames, tossing 52 pitches (65 is the limit) with a line of two runs (one earned) on four hits, one BB and three K. He hit 95-96 on the gun. The game was 2-2 when he left, with the winner advancing and the loser done in the WBC.
  • All the pitchers in camp confusing you? There may be more. Bill Shaikin of the LA Times writes that "The Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates have expressed interest in the Dodgers' extra starters."
  • This day in Bucco history: In 1992, Pittsburgh traded LHP Neal Heaton to the Kansas City Royals for OF Kirk Gibson. Heaton was released the following season, while Gibson hit just .196 for the Bucs, though he did have three decent seasons for Detroit afterward, hitting .273 with 45 HR over that span before hanging up the spikes in 1996. And in 2003, OF Reggie Sanders signed a one-year, $1M contract with Pittsburgh. He hit .285 with 31 HR and 87 RBI for the Bucs. He left the following year, signing a two year, $6M deal with St. Louis as a free agent.

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