Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bucs Battle Back For 5-3 Win

Looked like the Pirates had something going in the first against Doc Halladay. Starling Marte walked and stole a couple of sacks. Unfortunately for him, Travis Snider, Cutch and Garrett Jones all went down looking. The strike zone is a little large today, and the boys better adapt.

Jimmy Rollin started the first with a knock, but challenged Cutch's arm trying to stretch and lost. Good thing, too, as Chase Utley crushed a fastball into the second level in right field to make it 1-0 Phils. The second and third innings went fairly quietly, and the Bucs had a little two out magic in them during the fourth.

With two away, Jones walked on four straight pitches and Neil Walker was plunked with a 2-2 curve. Pedro dropped a flare into center to end an 0-for-24 with RISP streak in Philly for the Bucs and knot the score. Russell Martin went down looking on a 3-2 pitch; it was probably a little up, but hey - with Dan Iassogna behind the dish, you best be a free swinger tonight.

It didn't last long; Wandy got ahead of Ryan Howard 0-2, and the fourth straight curve he tossed him hung. Howard blasted it deep into the night, and the Phils were back up 2-1. That was followed by a walk and an error to put runners at first and second with an out, and a passed ball moved them up a base.

Ben Revere worked the count full before Wandy got him to pop out, and then intentionally walked Humberto Quintero to get to Halladay. That did the job, as Doc went down swinging on four pitches. Rodriguez is at 77 pitches, and it looks like another long night for the pen.

John McDonald, who was robbed by Chase Utley his first time up, watched another hit taken away when his liner, hooking away from Domonic Brown, was speared on a lunging catch in the fifth. Philly set up shop in their half. Rollins hammered a heater up the third base line for a double, then Utley bunted for a base hit to put runners on the corners.

And he danced out of it via an unlikely DP - Pedro went to second for the force on a Michael Young grounder, and instead of going to first, The Kid fired a strike home to nail Rollins on a delayed break. Howard lined a bullet to Jones, and the score stayed 2-1.

The Bucs went down in order in the sixth, but a long at-bat by Cutch got Doc's pitch count up to 95. Wandy was rolling when a two out infield single by Revere and Quintero's hard grounder through the left side spoiled the frame; both balls were ankle high, two-strike waste pitches. Kevin Frandsen hit for Halladay and singled up the middle to make it 3-1. That brought on Vin Mazzaro. Rollins rolled the first pitch to second, and the frame was done.

Doc went six, giving up a run on a hit with two walks and eight K. Wandy, who spent a lot of time up in the zone tonight, went 5-2/3 giving up three runs on nine hits with two walks and five whiffs, tossing 105 pitches.

Lefty Antonio Bastardo climbed the hill in the seventh. With an out, Pedro turned a 1-2 slider away around and banged it over the right field fence to get the Bucs back within a run. With two outs, Clint Hurdle decided to burn Gaby as a pinch hitter for Old McDonald, probably liking the lefty-righty match, but the plan fizzled as he bounced out to end the frame. The good news is that it kept Mazzaro in the game, and he worked a 1-2-3 inning.

Mike Adams took the ball for Philadelphia in the eighth. JT, hitting for Mazzaro, watched a 3-2 slider dip down and away and drew a leadoff walk. Hurdle had Marte try to bunt him over; two fouls put him in a 1-2 hole, but he banged a low change hard to third that Young could only knock down to put runners on first and second. Snider ripped a slider that ran in on him to right to score Tabata (who had almost gotten picked off at second) and send Marte to third. Cutch walked on a 3-2 slider to juice the sacks with no outs.

That brought in lefty Jeremy Horst, and Hurdle countered with Brandon Inge to bat for Jones, after he had already used Sanchez. Inge came through, lining a RBI knock to left to give the Bucs the lead at 4-3. But the Pirates couldn't make them pay more dearly. The Kid bounced into a 3-2-3 DP and Pedro tapped out. Still, they did have the lead, though not much cushion, for Mark Melacon, with JT now in right and Inge at first.

With one out, MM left a cutter down the middle on a 1-2 pitch and Brown spanked it to right for a knock. Revere smacked the next pitch to Clint Barmes, and the 6-4-3 cleaned up the basepaths and took the game into the ninth.

With an out, Barmes lined a single to left off Horst. JT bounced out to the right side, moving him up a sack. Marte hit a parachute to right. It ticked off Utley's glove by the RF line and he ended up with a bloop triple, giving Pittsburgh an insurance score. McKenry batted for MM, the last position player that hadn't got in, and flew out. Jason Grilli took the bump.

Lance Nix took one deep to right, but not deep enough to elude JT. Pinch hitter Ezequiel Carrera got plunked by a fastball; not a great start for the Shark Tank's Great White. But he got Rollins to hit a foul pop behind the dish and blew a heater past Utley to garner his ninth save while Vin Mazzaro picked up his first Bucco win.

James McDonald and Cliff Lee take the bump tomorrow afternoon.

  • Mark Melancon has now pitched in 13 of 21 games. It was Jason Grilli's 11th outing, and Jared Hughes and Tony Watson have 10 appearances each. That's a lotta work early in the year.
  • This was Brandon Inge's first MLB game at first.
  • Pedro's on another one of his streaks - he hit his fourth homer tonight, and they've all come since April 18th. It was his first with two strikes and his first off a lefty in 2013.
  • OF Rob Grossman, who was traded to the 'Stros in the Wandy Rodriguez deal, made his MLB debut today. He went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a pair of K.

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