Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bucs Take Series With 5-4 Win

Typical inning for the Bucs against Yovani Gallardo to open; a couple of K's, a pop to center and a Cutch broken bat roller into right. Wandy got three fly outs to start the day. After a pop and roller to start the second, the bottom of the Buc order generated a run. The Fort walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Jordy Mercer rolled a hung curve into the left center gap for a triple and a 1-0 Pirate lead. The Brew Crew tried to answer with a leadoff double by A-Ram, but Rodriguez worked out of it.

In the third, the Bucs finally got it together against Gallardo. Marte opened with a double, and The Kid was plunked in the foot. A roller to third by Cutch put runners on the corners, and a medium fly to left by Garrett Jones brought in a run, aided by a soft lob toward home by Ryan Braun that was cut. Gaby walked, and Pedro, who was 0-for-16 against Gallardo, lined a chalk-kicker up the right field line that brought home a pair and put Pittsburgh up 4-0.

The Brewers again tried to respond. With one down, Gallardo singled. Norichika Aoki hit a soft grounder to Pedro, his toss for the force went to Garrett Jones in right to put Brewers at first and second. Wandy came back to get a routine grounder and whiffed Braun looking, and Milwaukee was finished in the third.

The Bucs got a two-out single and stolen base from Starling in the fourth, but Walker went down looking on a 3-2 changeup that came back over the outside black. With one away for the Brew Crew, Jonathan Lucroy dropped a flare into right center for a knock. Carlos Gomez hit one to short, and a nice feed by Mercer, a better turn by Walker and a dig out of the dirt by Gaby added up to a sweet 6-4-3 DP.

Donovan Hand made his MLB bow in the fifth; he gave up a knock to Cutch, but picked up a couple of K. The Brewers, thanks to a misplayed ball, finally put up some runs. With two outs and Rickie Weeks on first via a leadoff single, it unraveled. Aoki singled up the middle, then Jean Segura hit a 3-2 pitch to Walker. The Kid inexplicably broke away from the ball, dove back to grab it, but the throw was too late to get the runner. Wandy fell behind Braun 2-0, gave him an inside heater, and he drilled it up the line for a bases clearing double to make it 4-3. A-Ram K'ed on Rodriguez's 35th pitch of the inning.

The Bucs built the pad back to a pair. The Fort led off with a double and Mercer followed with a bloop to center. Brandon Inge K'ed swinging at a 3-2 pitch, with Mercer going into second. Marte reached out and hit a medium fly to center; Gomez's throw was off line and cut, almost catching Mercer behind the play at third, which could have cost the Bucs as McKenry was still chugging home and may not have beat an out call to the plate. But it's all academic, and 5-3 Buccos in the sixth. Wandy went five, giving up three runs on seven hits with four K; Vin Mazzaro took the hill and put away the Brewers on six pitches.

Mike Gonzalez was next for Milwaukee in the seventh, and he retired the Bucs in order. With one gone, Martin Maldonado fisted a pop single to right; and out later, Segura sent a soft liner into right to put runners on the corners. Braun banged Mazzaro's first pitch up the middle, but Segura had taken off for second, and Walker, on the move to cover, gobbled up the bouncer to end the frame.

Brandon Kintzler took the bump and gave up back-to-back knocks to McKenry and Mercer to open the eighth; then the Bucs self destructed. Clint Barmes pinch hit; he tried to bunt into the teeth of a wheel play and popped out instead. Marte hit a slow roller to second; Mercer ran into the tag and turned a force play into a 4-3 DP. Now it's up to the Back End Boys as Mark Melancon toed the rubber.

He gave up a run on a freak triple; Jeff Bianchi hooked one inside first and it caught the box seats that jut out and died, giving him at least an extra sack. That base made diff as MM hung a breaking ball to Gomez, who sent it to the track in center for a sac fly to make it 5-4.

Francisco Rodriguez worked the ninth. He K'ed Walker, walked Travis Snider, and got away with a couple of mistakes, Cutch flying out to the track in left center and Gaby getting underneath a fastball, skying out to left. Jason Grilli climbed the mound. Two pops and a fly later, the alpha shark had his twentieth save and Wandy notched his sixth win.

It was a typical Miller Park game with odd bounces, strange plays and lots of runners, except for one thing: Pittsburgh won. And it should be a holiday barnburner tomorrow afternoon when Francisco Liriano takes on Justin Verlander in the Motor City.
  • Jordy Mercer had three hits; Starling Marte, Cutch and The Fort had a pair of knocks. 
  • Pedro's double was only his second of the year, to go with ten homers, in 165 plate appearances.
  • Rodriguez has now won four straight starts for the first time since July 2-12, 2009, as an Astro.
  • Milwaukee has lost 12 straight games to lefties; the last one they beat was Wandy on April 29th.

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