Monday, March 11, 2013

Bucs Rally In Ninth For 4-3 Win Over O's

Well, Jeff Locke had a chance to show his stuff; what he mostly showed was that he was pretty poised with runners around him. The lefty went 3-1/3 frames and gave up a pair of runs, but considering he was touched up for eight hits and walked a guy, that's not too bad. A pick-off and three K's helped keep the Orioles from running away early, and that was enough as Pittsburgh put up a pair in the ninth to cage the Birds 4-3.

The first wasn't too rough; Locke surrendered a single to Lew Ford and caught him leaning to end the frame. The second saw him give up three straight two-out singles, the last plating the game's first run. In the third, he gave up a long ball to Ford and a two-down double to Steve Pierce, but left him cooling his heels at second. He's keeping his fastball up, and the Orioles are making him pay.

In the fourth, Baltimore led off with a walk and a double to put runners at second and third with nobody away. Locke got an infield bouncer to freeze the runners, and then handed the ball to Phil Irwin, who kept them on ice with a pair of strikeouts.

The Bucs didn't have an answer for Jake Arrieta, who held the Pirates to two hits with five K in his four inning stint. The O's added a third run in the fifth off Irwin when Conor Jackson led off with a knock, stole second, and came in on Danny Valencia's ground ball single to left. But that would be all they got off the young righty; Irwin went 3-2/3 IP giving up a run on three hits with seven punchouts, showing a sweet hook this afternoon.

That got the Bucs to the seventh, down 3-0. They got one back against Zach Britton, who was expected to start, when Alex Presley got bopped with two down and came all the way around on Josh Harrison's two-bag rip to center.

After Bryan Morris pitched a smooth three up, three ground out frame, Danny Schlereth made it a little more interesting in the eighth when Brad Hawpe went yard convincingly to right with two down to cut the lead to one. Kris Johnson took the bump for Pittsburgh and walked the first hitter, but a K and DP ball to second kept the game close.

Charm City called on Adam Russell to close the game. Red hot Jared Goedert led off with a single, but was forced at second by Clint Robinson on a broken bat bouncer. Jordy Mercer got in to run for the big first sacker, and landed on third following a Presley roller into right. Mercer came home and Presley was sent to third when Harrison banged  a hit-and-run into right. With the infield in, Carlos Paulino came up with the clutch soft grounder to second that scored The King, and the Bucs had a nice win, even for a spring game.

And hey, they can even celebrate - the team is off Tuesday.

  • David Schoenfield of The Sweet Spot writes whoa...way too early to mention Jameson Taillon and Josh Beckett in the same breath.
  • Charlie Morton is right on schedule; he threw his first live BP today since his surgery last season. 
  • Marc Hulet of Fangraphs has his Top 100 Prospects. The Bucco five are Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Alen Hanson, Luis Heredia and Gregory Polanco.
  • The Pirates announced that their game against Washington on May 4th is the Fox national game, and the starting time has been moved from a 7:05 to 4:05. The bad news - the scheduled fireworks night is cancelled.

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