Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bucs Batter G-Men Behind Pedro, Cole 8-2

The TV guys built up Gerrit Cole like the second coming of Cy Young; nothing like a little pressure to start your MLB career. But he did fine. A three pitch K of Gregor Blanco was followed by a slap single to right by Marco Scutaro. Buster Posey flew out to short center on a two strike change up, followed by a Hunter Pence hopper up the middle that Clint Barmes knocked down but had no play. No diff; Brandon Belt popped to short. Lotta fastballs in the 95-99 range, ahead in every count and he pitched to contact, just as advertised.

Starling Marte led of with a walk and stole second. Travis Snider whiffed and Cutch bounced one to third; inexplicably, Marte was on the move and was tagged out, almost running into Joaquin Arias. Then Cutch stole second, but Garrett Jones drive to right center was corralled just short of the bullpen track in left center.

In the second, Cole worked out of his first jam. Andres Torres went the other way with a heater away. After a fly to right, Arias hit a routine grounder through the shortstop hole; Barmes had shuffled toward the middle when Arias made a bluff toward second. A bunt moved them up, and Blanco caught a 97 MPH pitch in the ribs to load the bases. Cole got ahead of Cutaro 0-2, and his offspeed pitch away was lofted gently to right to end the frame.

Russell Martin opened with a lined single; Pedro and The Kid followed with jam job knocks to load the bases. Barmes ran the count full, then fouled out, with 1B Brandon Belt reaching a couple of rows into the stands to make the grab, Cole, who was looking for his first hit since HS - he was 0-for-6 in the minors, which use a DH, as did college - also ran the count to 3-2, and he fought off a heater that he dropped into right, giving an awkward Z from first after two Bucs plated. Marte bounced out to third, with Walker, off on contact, nailed at the plate and Snider bounced to second. But so far, young Gerrit is doing it all as the Bucs are up 2-0.

Cole tossed a clean third. The Bucs stranded Cutch, who had a leadoff double, and Pedro, who was brushed in the upper arm with two down. In three innings, the Pirates are 2-for-11 with RISP and have left five aboard. Let's hope that lack of production doesn't bite them later in the game. The Giants went down 1-2-3 in the fourth; ditto the Bucs. Gerrit retired the G-Men in order in the fifth; that's 10 in a row on just 58 pitches.

Cutch walked with an out, and came home when Jones' rope to right short hopped past Pence and rolled to the wall. An out later, Pedro drilled one of SS Crawford's mitt - he was shaded to center in a shift, and the ball was hit the opposite way - and it was 4-0. Lincecum was done. Jose Mijares barely survived his bout with Walker, who flew out to the wall in left center.

*Yawn* Another three up, three down for Cole, helped by a ball off him (or maybe the rubber), grabbed by Walker who did a 180 and hopped a throw to Jones, who made the pick. Cole must have taken some serious BP today; he hit a ball on the nose, though it was run down in center. Marte did pretty much the same thing, except his liner was to left and landed three rows deep to give the Bucs a 5-0 lead.

The pad helped. Torres and Crawford looped liners to open the seventh. An out later, Tony Abreu turned on an inside heater - 98 MPH - and doubled to right to make it 5-1. That was Cole's swan song. He went 6-1/3, giving up a run on seven hits with two K on 81 pitches. Tony Watson came on. A grounder scored a run, then he hit Scutero in the hand. That ended his night; with Buster Posey up, Hurdle waved in righty Vin Mazzro, who got Posey to bounce into a force to end the frame with the score 5-2.

The Bucs first out against George Kontos was at third; the last two were swinging strikeouts on chases. But they still added three more runs. Cutch singled on a liner that popped out of CF Juan Perez's glove, Jones walked, and Martin hit a bad hop single up the middle that glanced off 2B Abreu's mitt, scoring McCutchen but losing Jones at third on a play that wasn't close. Pedro quickly made the fans forget about that by launching a drive deep into the right center seats to make it 8-2 Pirates.

Bryan Morris worked the eighth cleanly with a pair of strikeouts. Marte struck out - outside of his homer on a 3-1 heater, he's been chasing everything today - but not before the benches were warned by ump Wally Bell following a pitch behind Starling (he didn't swing). Snider singled, and after coming inside twice on Cutch, Kontos smacked him in the butt with a two seamer, getting himself and his manager bounced without an argument. Ramon Ramirez came on. Gaby ripped a one hopper to second; it bounced off Abreu, but he grabbed it in midair and started a 4-6-3 DP.

Morris had his streak of hitless innings end at 10-1/3 in the ninth, but added two more whiffs and tucked the Giants away handily to earn Gerrit Cole his first MLB win. Cole kept his velocity through the game, hitting 97 in the seventh. he got a couple of pitches up, but pounded the strike zone - 59 of his 81 pitches were strikes - and was ahead in the count all night. When he was in trouble, he kept his cool. Can't ask for much more out of a kid.

A couple of lefties that have been around the block, Francisico Liriano and Barry Zito, take the hill tomorrow.

  • Starling Marte's home run was his first since May 5th. The Bucs 12 hits were their most since May 16th. Pedro led the charge, going 3-for-3 plus HBP, scoring twice and driving in three runs.
  • Work quick and throw strikes -  four Pirate pitchers tossed 119 pitches; 87 were strikes.
  • Tonight's attendance was 30,614; the Pirates had estimated a crowd of 22,000 for tonight before they announced Cole was pitching.
  • The Bucs started four home grown first rounders today - Gerrit Cole, Pedro, The Kid and Cutch.
  • Yer current Pirate rotation: Cole, The Cisco Kid, Charlie Morton, AJ and Jeff Locke. Wandy, Jeanmar Gomez, J-Mac and Phil Irwin, who got an April start, are on the DL; Jonathan Sanchez is history. Ten starters, btw, is how many the Bucs used all of last season.
  • Before the game, Clint Hurdle said he would quit using pitch counts for his starters; he wants seven innings regardless of how many tosses. We'll see if that's reality or just a challenge.
  • Pablo Sandoval was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a foot injury, so no Kung Fu panda this series.

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