Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bucs Grind Out 3-1 Win With Two-Out Lightning

It's one of those wins you just can't explain. The Reds had runners all over the place in the early going, but couldn't come up with a knock while stranding a dozen. The Bucs had seven hits, but three of them were with two outs and drove in runs. The result? The Pirates claimed their fourth win in five games, a 3-1 win over Cincinnati.

Jeff Locke worked from behind a lot tonight, but dodged bullets like he was dressed in Kevlar. He went five innings giving up four hits with four walks and a barely brushed batter with nary a whiff to his credit. But the only run he gave up was on a third inning blast to left center by Zack Cozart on a fastball that was up and over the dish.

As in his first start, Locke made a concentrated effort to keep the ball down and work inside, and did for the most part. But he tossed 87 pitches, and 42 of them were off the plate. The lefty did get 10 groundouts and a big DP, and that's what kept him in the game.

The Bucs tied it in the fourth off Johnny Cueto. With two outs, Cutch worked an eight pitch walk and came home when Garrett Jones doubled to left center. Shin-Soo Choo slid to stop the ball, and by the time he regained his footing, it was too late to catch Cutch.

In the fifth, Locke left the bases jammed in an odd inning; the balls hit weakly found holes while the liners were at 'em balls, so it evened out. It was his last frame, and also Cueto's, but for a different reason. He K'ed Pedro, but hurt his right tricep while pulling the string on a changeup, and left the game a pitch later.

Alfredo Simon took the hill and gave up an infield single to Travis Snider and a soft looper into center by Clint Barmes. An out later, Starling Marte ripped a single to center to give the Bucs the lead.

Justin Wilson worked the sixth and two outs into the seventh. The lefty's control was off (he walked a pair), and he left the bases loaded in the sixth and gave Jared Hughes a bit of a mess to clean up in the seventh. The Reds got the first two runners aboard, and after a strikeout, Jay Bruce came within a couple of feet of sending a first-pitch fastball into the seats. That brought on Hughes with Reds on the corners, and he sat down Xavier Paul via a tapper to first.

Pittsburgh added an insurance run in their half when JT doubled to the wall in right center with two away, scoring Pedro who had opened the frame with a walk. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli did the honors at the end. MM tossed a perfect eighth, while Grilled Cheese gave up a two-out walk to Joey Votto before closing the game out.

The Buc gloves were sharp tonight too, especially Pedro's. He made a leaping grab of a Votto liner to save a double and a run or two. All in all, he was tested nine times during the game, and passed with flying colors.

Mat Latos will face Phil Irwin in the Sunday afternoon finale.

  • Jason Grilli notched his fifth save of the year tonight; he had five in his career before this campaign. So far, he's saved every Pirate W; might be time for a laugher or two. Tomorrow would be a good time to start as Grilli will be down after working five of the past six contests.
  • With Jose Reyes down, a couple of sources think the Jays may consider dealing for John McDonald, among other names being bandied about.
  • The injury front: Rob Bietempfel of the Tribune Review tweets that "LHP Francisco Liriano (broken arm) and RHP Jose Contreras (elbow) will make rehab outings Monday for High-A Bradenton."
  • The Bucs drew an announced crowd of 25,118, small for a fireworks night even on a chilly evening.
  • Brandon Phillips left the team due to a family emergency, so he's not out of the lineup because of some Dusty Baker brainstorm. The Reds aren't sure if he'll be back for tomorrow's day game. 
  • Indy won 5-0; Brandon Inge homered off Matt Capps, who is pitching for Columbus now.
  • Stolmy Pimentel continues to impress at Altoona, going 6-1/3 shutout innings tonight. He gave up five hits and three walks, but worked out of trouble with seven K. The Curve lost 3-1 in ten frames.

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