Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bucs Rock 'n' Roll Against Brewers 7-1

The Bucs gave Francisco Liriano lots of help in the first. He lost Norichika Aoki on five pitches, but Russell Martin erased him trying to steal with a strike to second on a pitch in the dirt. Jean Segura followed with a lined knock, and Ryan Braun crushed a ball to center. Cutch crashed into the wall, in the middle of the early evening sun field, and made the grab. But it wasn't enough; Segura swiped second without a throw as Martin lost the handle, and Jon Lucroy singled up the middle to make it 1-0.

The Bucs went down, with just a two out single by Cutch spanked through a shift to spoil Hiram Burgos opening frame. Liriano regained his mojo in the second, striking out the side. The Pirates made some noise with a Martin double with one away toward the Notch and a two out beaning of Clint Barmes, who took one off the shoulder. But the Cisco Kid rolled out softly to short to end the inning.

Burgos started the third with a soft flare to right; two outs later Braun drew a full count free pass, but Lucroy bounced out weakly to ice the inning. With an out, Travis Snider dinked an infield hit barely past the mound, and Cutch followed with a shot to center, right at Carlos Gomez; McCutchen can't buy a break against the Brewers. Garrett Jones rolled on softly to Weeks after Snider swiped second, and the Bucs have left four aboard after two.

Yuniesky Betancourt singled with an out in the fourth; he never got past first. With two down in the Bucco half, Pedro drew a walk, and the Bucs, using the Lucroy=McKenry formula, sent him; he stole second, his third big league swipe. Burgos decided to work on Barmes rather than around him with Liriano on deck, and paid when the SS banged one off the foot of the wall in left. Braun misread the play; either he thought the ball had more carry or he was at the fence, but he stopped short and allowed it to land for a double to knot the score.

With two down in the fifth, Liiriano worked Segura and Braun away; both spanked two strike pitches the opposite way to put Brewers on the corners. He came back inside on Lucroy and got a fly to left to end the frame. The Bucs caught a break when Marte's bunt was fielded by Betancourt, but Gonzalez dropped the throw; it was ruled a hit, though we're not sure why. Burgos went to first three times; the next pitch was a heater down the middle and Snider one hopped the ball out of the yard and rolled it into the river to make it 3-1. The Bucs had runners on the corners with two down following Jones and Martin knocks, but Pedro rolled out weakly up the first base line. Pittsburgh is 1-for-6 with RISP and has stranded seven runners so far tonight.

Liriano got into a jam in the sixth. He walked Betancourt with one away, and Barmes dropped a chopper to short. Alex Gonzalez flew out to fairly deep center, with Betancourt tagging. That was the Cisco kid's last batter; he went 5-2/3, giving up a run on six hits with three walks and seven K. Justin Wilson took the ball to face Aramis Ramirez, and got him to fly out just short of the track in center to keep the margin at two. Brandon Inge also checked in during the two-fer, going to third for Pedro, so Hurdle wants Wilson around for another frame.

Alfredo Figaro took the bump for the Brew Crew, and the game began to unravel for Milwaukee. Barmes reached on a Segura throwing error, but Aoki in turn robbed Inge, snagging a liner off the grass top. That would be the last out for awhile. Marte doubled Barmes to third as Aoki fielded the ball cleanly off the wall. Snider dropped a lob into center to plate a run while Cutch, Jones and The Kid all rifled one-base RBI liners around the yard to make it 7-1 and bring on Mike Fiers. He closed the gate, but the horses were long gone.

Wilson did his part in the seventh, getting three ground outs, and Fiers retired Pittsburgh in order. Bryan Morris came in and did just what you're not supposed to; he walked Lucroy on four pitches. But he cleaned up well, following with a K and a 6-4-3 DP to end the eighth for the Brewers. Francisco Rodriguez joined the parade, and tossed a clean frame. Jose Contreras took his turn in the ninth, and struck out a pair to close the night's festivities.

Lookin' good tonight, and with the Astros and Cubs coming to town, Pittsburgh could be set up for a big home stand.

Houston's Jordan Lyles will tackle Jeanmar Gomez tomorrow night.

  • The top four in the Buc lineup - Marte, Snider, Cutch and Jones - went 9-for-20 with five runs and five RBI. Snider hit his first homer and stole his first base of the year tonight.
  • Clint Barmes has a seven game hitting streak, his longest since his Rox days. In his last 14 games before tonight he's hitting .372 with 2 HR; that's one way to keep Jordy Mercer on the bench.
  • The Bucs have played four four-game series. They've lost the first and taken the next three all four times. The teams were Atlanta, Philly, New York and now Milwaukee.
  • Pittsburgh has taken four of the last five from the Brewers and claimed their first home series win against them since 2009. They're now 24-17, 2-1/2 games behind the Cards at the quarter pole.

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