Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...

The Buc bats were more than enough today against Cliff Lee, just a few hours after they took a W from Roy Halladay, which was the day after they faced down Cole Hamels. The Pirates did it the old fashioned way, by chasing the aces and getting to the Phillie bullpen, and the result was a 6-4 win.

J-Mac pitched OK; if he could avoid walking leadoff hitters, it would have have been a very nice performance. But he couldn't. The enigmatic righty went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, but two inning-opening walks and a wild pickoff led to a pair of Phillie runs.

The first run scored when he walked Chase Utley in the fourth, and then tossed a throw to first away (he would pick off Lee an inning later).  With two down, Domonic Brown dinked one into center that died just short of a diving Cutch to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. The edge lasted until the sixth, when Gaby Sanchez launched a fastball over the fence in left center to tie it. But the bottom of the frame would be J-Mac's undoing.

After he walked Kevin Frandsen on a 3-2 fastball that missed, back-to-back knocks by Utley and Ryan Howard plated a run and brought out Clint Hurdle. He called on Justin Wilson, who got Laynce Nix to roll one to third. Utley was off on contact and was dead at home.

But Wilson wild-pitched the runners up 90' (on an 0-2 pitch!) and gave up a knuckling liner to Brown. Cutch had to take a knee to bring it in, giving Howard a chance to tag and thud home. The Phils were up 3-1, but the Bucs of late have been rolling to a Cardiac Kid beat.

Lee had Starling Marte at first via the walk with two out in the seventh. Cutch singled through the left side to move Marte to second, and Gaby dropped a soft serve into left center to make it 3-2. Lee was at 114 pitches, but convinced Charlie Manuel to let him finish the frame. He did, but not before Mike McKenry lobbed a dying quail into center to tie the game. Wilson tossed a clean seventh.

Clint Barmes was plunked in the back by a Phillippe Aumont sinker with one out in the eighth. With Barmes on the move, Travis Snider rolled a ball through the vacated shortstop hole, putting runners at first and second. Marte punched another knock through the left side to load the bases.

Up strode Garrett Jones, hitting for Brandon Inge. GI got ahead 3-1 and bombed a sinker over John Mayberry and off the RF wall for for a two-run double. Chad Durbin took the ball and Gaby hit a liner to medium right that Mayberry corralled, but it brought Marte home, sliding in backdoor just under the tag, thanks to plus speed and a throw that was a bit off the mark to make it 6-3.

Tony Watson climbed the hill and gave up a leadoff double to Frandsen, who scored two groundouts later. The Bucs left a runner at third in the ninth against Raul Valdes. Watson stayed on, even after giving up another opening double, this one to Brown.  But he cleaned up after himself, and the Bucs took home a 6-4 win.

For Wilson, it was win #2 and Watson earned his first MLB save. They did it without the backend boys, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli, who took the day off and are now ready to rumble with the Cards, which are next in the Bucco sights. Jonathan Sanchez faces undefeated Lance Lynn in the lidlifter.

  • The Bucs banged out 14 hits and left 13 runners aboard, but for the second game had four hits with RISP. Four Pirates had two knocks - Marte, Sanchez, Pedro and J-Mac, who is mashing away at a .375 clip.
  • Cutch snapped out of his career-worse 0-for-17 slide today.
  • The Pirates have won three straight, seven of their last nine and 12 of their last 16. They're 13-9 overall, and 1/2 game out of first going into tonight. Even more amazingly, they're now 5-5 on the road.
  • As Tom Singer of notes "This was the 18th time Hamels-Halladay-Lee succeeded each other in the Phils rotation - and first time the Phillies have lost all three."
  • Little early to be thinking of contracts, but by MLB Trade Rumor's Tim Dierkes' calculations, The Fort will be super two arb eligible next season.
  • Francisco Liriano will get the start tonight for Indy; his pitch limit is up to 80.

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