Saturday, May 25, 2013

Buc Bombs, Locke Beat Up Brew Crew 5-2

Well, that didn't take too long. With two down in the first, Cutch launched his seventh homer, a screamer down the LF line, off Mike Fiers and the Bucs had a quick 1-0 lead for Jeff Locke. He left a fastball in and a little up to Ryan Braun with two down, and he took it the opposite way for a double. Locke got A-Ram to bounce out to short to end the frame. The Brewers have been patient in the opening frame; all four went to two strikes, but each drew at least two balls as Locke tossed 22 pitches.

With an out in the second, Neil Walker dug out a hook and roped it into right for a single. Pedro got ahead 3-0, fouled off a fastball down the middle and then ripped another, this one on the inside half, over the right field fence just inside the foul pole to make it 3-0.

After Jonathan Lucroy lined out, Gomez fell behind 0-2, but watched the next four miss the mark, getting the call on the 2-2 pitch on the black, to earn a walk. Weeks followed with a single the opposite way. Locke caught Alex Gonzalez looking and Fiers swinging. But the Brew Crew is making him work. Except for Weeks, who singled on a first pitch heater, every batter has taken at least four pitches and two strikes, and Locke is at 44 pitches.

Marte opened the third by banging a 3-2 change to third; Ramirez booted it. He stole second and went to third on a bad throw. Travis Snider couldn't bring him in, K'ing on a fastball pretty much down the middle. Fiers went soft on Cutch, throwing nothing but off speed stuff, and whiffed him on a foul tip of a changeup that was shin high. Garrett Jones took a ball to the wall in center, but it was hauled in and so the Bucs refused to take advantage of a Brewer gift. Locke went through the top of the order on ten pitches to calm his pitch count.

Like Estrada yesterday, Fiers started with fastballs and then worked in a heavy dose of changeups; he got Russell Martin swinging at one. It's easy to see why; after falling behind 2-0 to The Kid, he came in with a heater and Walker went yard with it into the second deck in right center to make it 4-0. Fiers went back to the soft stuff with Pedro and got a comebacker. Clint Barmes turned the order over with an infield knock to the right side before Locke bounced out. After K'ing Ramirez, Locke lost Lucroy on five pitches. Gomez popped a short fly to right and Weeks went down looking to leave him stranded.

Tom Gorzelanny took over in the fifth for the Brew Crew. Gorzo got Marte fishing for a change away, then lost Snider on a full count walk. he worked out of that by getting Cutch to bang a change to short for a 6-4-3 DP. With one down, pinch hitter Yuniesky Betancourt rolled a curve through the right side. Locke pounded Norichika Aoki inside with heat, then caught him looking at a fastball away. Jeran Segura hit a liner to right that Snider ran down, and Milwaukee was finished in the fifth. At 88 pitches, maybe Locke is, too.

Burke Badenhop took the ball, and was greeted by a Jones' single; Martin followed with another. Walker bounced into a 3-6 force to put runners on the corners; a short wild pitch moved The Kid to second. Pedro was walked to juice the sacks. Good move; Barmes banged the first pitch to short for a 6-4-3 DP to end the frame, blowing another chance to run away and hide. Saved the pinch hitting choice, Locke was sent back out for the sixth to face the middle of the order. Braun grounded out, followed by a Ramirez walk. That was cleaned up by an around the horn DP, courtesy of Lucroy, to end the frame.

The Bucs went down in order in the seventh, and Justin Wilson climbed the hill. Locke went six scoreless, giving up three hits, three walks and seven K while tossing 100 pitches. Gomez yanked Wilson's second delivery into the left field stands to make it 4-1, but the lefty recovered nicely, getting the next three Brewers routinely.

John Axford toed the rubber, and gave up a lead off knock to Cutch up the middle; the Brewers weren't in their shift, and it cost them. But not for long; he was caught stealing in a bang-bang call that Cutch disagreed with. Jones then walked, but Axford finished the inning routinely. Mark Melancon got the ball for Pittsburgh and put away the top of the order quickly and quietly.

Alfredo Figaro's first pitch was crushed 459' by Pedro, who drove it between the second and third tiers in right center, sitting down Jason Grilli in the bullpen and starting up Tony Watson. Figaro got through the rest of the frame, with two outs hauled in on the track. Watson had the same sort of frame, giving up a homer to Gomez and getting two long outs from Ramirez and Weeks. It was plenty good enough as the Bucs took a 5-2 win.

Locke may have had his best outing; the first couple of innings that he labored through had as much to do with plate ump Jeff Kellogg's tight strike zone as command. The Bucs left a couple of chances go by the boards, but the pitching was strong enough to carry the day when six home runs were drilled.

Wandy Rodriguez takes on Yovani Gallardo in tomorrow's rubber match.

  • In six of his last seven starts, Jeff Locke has given up three hits or less and has tossed 14 straight shut out innings. Today was the first time this year he hit the 100 pitch mark; his career high is 104.
  • Cutch homered in three straight at-bats of Fiers. He's the first Bucco to do that since Barry Bonds did the trick against Jamie Moyer.
  • It wasn't a very high bar to leap, but Neil Walker is now tied with George Grantham for the second most career HR by a Pirates second baseman with 40. He still has a ways to go to catch Maz at 138 bombs. 
  • Pedro's two-bomb day was his seventh career multi-HR game, with three against Milwaukee. For the Brewers, Carlos Gomez has eight homers this year; four are against Pittsburgh.
  • The Bucs are now 24-9 after losing the first game of a series; too bad they can't grind that opener out.
  • John McDonald will begin his rehab tomorrow at Indy, joining Chase d'Arnaud.
  • Gerrit Cole allowed two runs in the first inning at Indy but cleaned up nicely by tossing five no-hit frames afterward. His line was six innings with two runs on three hits, three walks and four K.
  • No comments: