Friday, June 28, 2013

It's Not The Start, But The Finish That Counts...Bucs 10, Brewers 3

Ugh. Not exactly the second coming of Stephen Strasberg for Gerrit Cole in the first. A walk, a pair of singles and a hit batter made it 1-0; a very timely DP made it two, and a very untimely single made it three. The Pirates went down 1-2-3 to young Mr. Johnny Hellweg, making his MLB debut. Sheesh, welcome home.

Cole found his feet in the second, pitching a clean frame thanks to a caught stealing and a sliding grab by Cutch; great defense will help calm down any pitcher's nerves. Hellweg was about to be given a rude introduction to the show after a rosy opening frame.

Garrett Jones and Pedro singled. Neil Walker's double to center cut the lead to 3-2, and all three hits were roped, though Pedro's was pretty much at Jean Segura, who couldn't handle it. Travis Snider walked, and they both moved up a station on Jordy Mercer's grounder to the right side. It was that close to being an infield hit, Jordy losing a bang-bang call and Clint Hurdle the ensuing argument. A walk to Cole was followed a Starling Marte knock to knot the score. Then, thank you again, Mr. Segura - he botched Russell Martin's DP ball, and two runners scooted home to put the Bucs up 5-3.

Cutch hit a Baltimore chop that got past Segura to plate another. Jones hit one on the nose, but right at RF Norichika Aoki. No prob; Pedro went the other way, rolling a ball through the left side against the shift, for another RBI single. Tom Gorzelanny got the call to quench the fire, and he did, but the Pirates had thrown Milwaukee into the hole they had dug the inning before and were up 7-3.

The Brew Crew went down in order, and the Bucs had some two out lightning to call down. Cole dropped a bloop into right, and Marte doubled him home, one hopping the Xfinity sign. Milwaukee got a single in the fourth; the Bucs went down quietly. In the fifth, a walk and single with one away set up the Brewers; a 4-6-3 by A-Ram sat them back down. Mercer got a two-out knock for the Bucs, but their lightning bolts were exhausted, and it remained 8-3 after five frames.

Milwaukee threatened again in the sixth with a lead off double and a two out walk, but Cole got pinch hitter Caleb Gindl to tap out to second. Burke Badenhop took the ball, and was greeted by a triple off Marte's bat; the kid can fly. An out later, Cutch doubled over third to send him home and make it 9-3. 

The wheels spun; Ryan Reid took the bump, Gaby Sanchez came on to play first, Jones went to RF and Snider took a seat (it was later announced he had a bruised foot). Cole went 6 IP, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks with three K after tossing 94 pitches. Not a great outing, but certainly acceptable considering the start. He kept his composure, and that's an intangible that's high on the checklist. It was 1-2-3 for Reid in the seventh, and ditto for Badenhop. 

Reid kept it simple; if he fell behind, he just pumped four seamers over the dish (except for free swinging Ricky Weeks). It worked; he gave up a single but the Brewers didn't light the board in the eighth. Mike Gonzalez toed the rubber for the Brewers. Marte hit one to the track, and an out later Cutch hammered a hung 3-2 slider over the wall in left center just to the left of the bullpen to make the score 10-3.

With two down in the ninth, Segura beat out an infield single, but Reid got Carlos Gomez to bounce into a force. Gerrit Cole got his fourth win and Ryan Reid notched his first big league save. Sometimes it's like a 2013 version of Angels In the Outfield.

Francisco Liriano takes on Donovan Hand tomorrow night.

  • If you're counting, that's seven in a row for the Buccos. That's their longest string of victories since winning ten straight in 2004.
  • The last Pirates pitcher to start his MLB career with wins in his first four starts as Gerrit Cole has done was Nick Maddox in 1907.
  • Pedro now has an 11 game hitting streak, tying his career high.
  • Starling Marte is tied for the league lead with eight triples. Just watching him and Cutch dizzify the basepaths is worth the price of admission. Marte was a homer short of the cycle tonight; Cutch a triple shy.
  • The seven runs scored in the second inning was the most in a frame by the Pirates since they put up a fourth inning nine-spot against San Diego in August of last year. 
  • Rain, rain...who cares? There were 36,875 at PNC Park tonight, the fifth sellout of the season and fourth in a row. 

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