Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bucs Bite Snakes 6-5

Man, if J-Mac could just get out of the first inning. The problem he had in the spring continued on last night when the Bucco righty gave up a quick four spot to the D-Backs after the first bell, but then found his focus and put up enough zeroes to allow the suddenly awake Pirate bats to bang out a 6-5 victory.

Pittsburgh actually scored first. Starling Marte started the game off with a knock (and it that seems familiar, that's because it is; he's on a four-game leadoff streak) and stole second. Cutch flew out foul to right, advancing Marte 90', and he touched home on Garrett Jones infield single. The Bucs could have had another but for a bad bounce. Russell Martin's two-out double hopped the fence, and Jones had to stop at third, where he was stranded. The early 1-0 edge wouldn't be a very long-lasting margin.

McDonald sandwiched a pair of four-pitch walks around a strikeout, and Miggy Montero brought them both home with a laser shot double to center. An line out later, Jason Kubel took a fastball yard to left to make it 4-1. The Bucs tried to answer, but instead shot themselves in the foot the next frame.

Travis Snider led off with a double and Clint Barmes walked. But J-Mac couldn't move them over, bunting into a force at third against the wheel play; there seems to be a lot of that D going around. Arizona tried to take the sting off by throwing the ball away looking for two to put Bucs on the corners, but Marte banged into a 4-6-3 DP to end it. The game went along fairly quietly until the fourth inning when the Bucs broke out.

Pedro's liner to right was misplayed by Kubel, allowing him to reach.Snider walked, and an out later, J-Mac rolled one up the middle (all the D-Backs were scattered, as they were running a wheel play) to load the bases. Martes doubled home a pair and Neil Walker singled in two more.

The three consecutive hits were all on 0-2 counts; McCarthy apparently doesn't believe in wasting any tosses. The Kid moved to second on a ground out and scored on Jones' knock to right (also on an 0-2 pitch). After that, the Bucs were done, running through the raindrops to hang on for the win.

In the fifth, Gerardo Parra doubled and an out later Aaron Hill was bopped by a pitch. J-Mac dodged that bullet by getting a 3-6-3 twin killing of Montero's bat, turned improbably by Jones. In the sixth, McDonald walked the first batter, bringing on Tony Watson. J-Mac did his job, though - he allowed just one hit and the walk after a miserable first frame to keep his team hangin' around. Watson walked the first guy he faced, but then got Eric Chavez to roll into a 6-4-3 DP.

In the seventh, Alfredo Marte led off with a two-bagger and went to third on a ground out. The call went out to Jared Hughes, who walked the next pair of Snakes. Montero crushed a shot to center, but Cutch tracked it down, limiting the damage to a sac fly, making it 6-5.

That was the end of the drama. Mark Melancon worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Jason Grilli picked up his third save, giving up a soft, two-out single to Martin Prado before ending the show. We assume that he'll be hors d' combat today; there was some question whether Hurdle would even use him yesterday after working the last two days. But Grilled Cheese only used up nine pitches, so it worked out just dandy.

Good formula at work in Phoenix. Put up a big inning and get the bullpen to stymie the Snakes. Hopefully the Bucs can get wring one more win out of it this afternoon when Jonathan Sanchez takes the hill.

  • Pittsburgh pitchers gave up more walks/beans (8) than hits (6). The team collected 11 hits in the game; that's the same number they had during the entire LA series.
  • Neil Walker ended an 0-for-21 streak; Russell Martin doubled his way out of an 0-for-17 line. But Pedro Alvarez (0-for-21) and Clint Barmes (0-for-13) are still in a funk.
  • Travis Snider went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
  • LHP Andy Oliver worked another scoreless outing for Indy, and Duke Welker picked up the win as the Tribe won 3-2 over Toledo. Jordy Mercer homered in the contest.
  • Andrew Lambo hit for the first cycle in the history of  the Altoona Curve last night as part of a 14-6 romp over Akron.
  • Gerrit Cole takes the hill tonight for Indy.

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