Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bullpen, Cutch Walk Off Enough To Grind Out 4-3 Win In Twelve

Well, the Brewer beat went on; with one away, Jean Segura got ahead of Jeff Locke 3-1 and lined a heater over the left field wall and into the second level. The inning ended with JT bouncing off the wall in right to take extra bases away from Aramis Ramirez, leaving Milwaukee up 1-0. The Bucs answered.

Starling Marte singled on a liner to left that dropped just short of Ryan Braun and JT followed by slicing a liner to right. With runners at first and second, Cutch continued just missing against the Brewers when his drive to center was hauled in at the bullpen fence; it moved Marte to third. Kyle Lohse went full on Garrett Jones, working him down and away looking for the roller to second. He got it, but it on a 3-2 pitch with JT in motion, and Rickie Weeks' only play was to first, tying the game. Pedro drove one the other way that Braun cradled on the track. So a couple of loud outs and a run, making it 1-1 after one.

Locke had a strong second frame, giving up only a leg hit to Weeks; the lefty has four K in the opening two innings. With an out, Clint Barmes took an 0-2 slider on the black up the middle and was moved to second by Locke. Lohse dodged another bullet when Marte rifled a rope to left that Braun, going back, was just able to reach up and bring down. Lotta squared up balls so far with not much to show for them.

The Brewers went down in order in the third. JT opened with a double down the LF line, but stayed put as Cutch and Jones hit into routine outs. Neil Walker hit a slicing liner to left, but pretty much at Braun who tracked the ball for the final out.

Braun opened the fourth by doubling past Pedro, who tried to backhand the ball. An out later, CarGo doubled to right on a ball that JT didn't get a very good break on to put the Brewers up 2-1. Martin drew a one out walk and was stranded at second in the Buc half. The Pirates have left a runner at second every inning so far.

The Bucs continued to play tight against the Brewers. With an out Aoki hit a ball that looked like it was headed to Barmes, but instead it smacked off Locke's calf for an infield hit. The docs came out, and Locke didn't even toss a ball or two to show he was OK. With Segura up, he promptly threw tback-to-back wild pitches to put Aoki at third. With the infield in, Segura rolled one sharply to Walker; he dropped it to allow Aoki to score, although he did get the batter. Braun singled, but was caught stealing on a generous call at second.

JT took a one-out walk, and exchanged places with Cutch an out later on an odd play. On a hit and run, Cutch popped just into the outfield grass; Tabata retreated; Weeks dropped the ball, but recovered to force out JT; it looked like an infield fly to us. Made no diff; Jones popped foul to Ramirez to end the frame. The Pirates have stranded six and are 0-for-8 with RISP after five.

With an out in the sixth, CarGo softly lined a 3-2 change to center, but there was no further damage. That frame was it for Locke, who finished at 97 pitches. He went six, giving up three runs on seven hits with a walk and six K. With one down for Pittsburgh, Walker drew a walk and Martin doubled to left center; a combination of The Kid holding up to make sure the ball wasn't caught and CarGo cutting it off before it hit the wall held Walker at third.

Barmes banged one up the middle; not only did Segura pick it cleanly in the centerfield grass but retired Barmes on a bang-bang call at first. It made the score 3-2, and Lohse walked Gaby to put Bucs on the corners. That brought in Burke Badenhop, who retired Marte on a routine fly to right.

Bryan Morris took the bump for Pittsburgh. Mo did the job, surrendering just a one out, 3-2 walk. Brandon Kintzler came in and got JT 6-3; Cutch's luck continued on the bad side as his drive to right was corralled at the 375' mark by Aoki. The wind has been blowing in from the river today and has cost Cutch twice. Mike Gonzalez got the call against Jones and got him swinging at a hook away.

Mark Melancon was loose in the pen, but Morris stayed in. Braun led off by banging a one hop double to the right center wall, but Mo retired the next three Brewers routinely. Ron Roenicke opted to bring in John Axford rather than leave lefty Gonzo on the hill, even though Walker and Pedro were due to lead off. He walked The Kid, then got Pedro to wave at a full count hook.

Russell Martin lined a shot into the left field corner; Rick Sofield waved him around and it worked; Segura's relay was in time, but airmailed to the wall, allowing Martin to get to third. With the infield in, Barmes needed a fly; instead he bounced a one hopper to Ramirez to freeze Martin. Travis Snider pinch hit, and he too waved at 3-2 hook; patience is obviously not a Pirate virtue tonight.

With the game tied in the ninth, Jason Grilli, who had been loosening with Vin Mazzaro, took the bump. He used 13 pitches to strike out the side. Alfredo Figaro took the ball. With an out, JT lined a double off the Trib sign in right center and Cutch was intentionally walked. Jones got ahead 2-0 and banged a ball up the middle - right into the heart of a Brewer shift and an easy DP. If you're wondering, the Pirates are 0-for-13 with RISP now.

Mark Melancon came on in the tenth to face the top of the order as Hurdle is using his whole staff (finally). Aoki slapped a single to left, followed by a pair of force outs. A-Ram hit another grounder, this one up the middle for a knock. MM got his fourth ball hit the dirt off CarGo for the force to end the frame. Figaro gave up a knock to Walker, who traded spots with Pedro after a force out. El Toro got into second on a short passed by by a fingertip, but was stranded as Martin bounced out and Barmes popped to center; no one wants to be a hero tonight, it seems.

Vin Mazzaro climbed the mound, and a couple of pitches into his outing, the ump crew was reduced by one. Plate arbiter Fieldin Culbreth caught a foul shot to the collarbone and was taken to the locker room for x-rays. After a ten minute or so delay, Bill Welke settled behind the dish and Vin notched a pair of routine outs. He was ahead of Martin Maldonado 0-2, then served him four straight off the plate. No prob; Alex Gonzalez flew out to left center. Closer Jim Henderson took the ball for the Brew Crew. The Bucs went down in order, with Braun taking away extra bases from leadoff hitter John McDonald by laying out to spear his liner to left. Yah, that kind of night.  Oh, and Inge went to shortstop; Old McDonald apparently hurt his back running out his out.

Aoki led off the twelfth off Mazzaro with a Baltiore chop single; an out later he was erased on a 6-4-3 rolled into by Braun. Mike Fiers climbed the mound, but wasn't there long. Cutch drilled a 2-2 fastball to center, and this time it settled gently over the railing instead of in front for the walk-off homer.

Well, they finished 0-for-15 with RISP, but kept grinding away behind six innings of four-hit, five K relief work, and it was enough to take home the win. Nothin' is ever easy against the Brewers.

Wandy Rodriguez and Yovani Gallardo get it on tomorrow night.
  • Jose Tabata had three more hits; his average is up to .294.
  • Clint Barmes owns a six game hitting streak after tonight.
  • Jeff Locke's streak of four starts with three hits or less was broken by the Brew Crew in the fourth inning; it was the longest by a Pirate pitcher since 1921.
  • Root Sports showed a graphic re: Locke's release point for his curve; it's further away from his body now than it was before his recent strong streak. The result is instead of missing the plate away, he's now poundng it in the strike zone.
  • BTW, another indicator of how well the Brewers run: they lead the MLB in infield hits with 52 going into tonight; the Angels are second with 43.
  • Gerrit Cole's line at Indy tonight - six inngs, four runs (three earned) on five hits with a walk and five K after tossing 95 pitches.

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