Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...Bucs Rally For 4-2 Win

OK, nothin' going on in the first. The Bucs didn't expect to do much against Felix Hernandez, and Seattle hasn't really solved Jeanmar Gomez, either. In the second, Pittsburgh made some noise when Pedro and Garrett Jones led off with back-to-back knocks, but the Bucs went down quietly after them. A leadoff walk of Kendrys Morales by Gomez was erased on a Raul Ibanez 5-6-3 DP. Good timing; Justin Smoak singled next, but was left at first.

The Pirates were retired routinely in the third. The Mariners picked up a couple more singles on a blooper and grounder, but a K of Kyle Seager ended that threat. Finally, a number on the scoreboard in the fourth. Jones drew a one out, 3-2 walk and an out later, The Kid launched a sinker that didn't over the fence to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead. Bucco mitts gave back one of those runs. Ibanez struck out swinging at a slider, but reached when Russell Martin couldn't corral the ball. Smoak banged a DP ball to first; Gaby went to second and Jordy Mercer whiffed on the catch, putting Ms on the corners, and a sac fly made it 2-1. It was the second time this year during a shift that Pedro and the SS hesitated covering second, the drawback to moving the 3B up the middle against lefties.

The Bucs wasted a one out ground rule double by Starling Marte in the fifth; Seattle went down in order. The Pirates left Walker on first in the sixth after his two-down knock, and Justin Wilson took the bump for Pittsburgh. Gomez went five, giving up an unearned run on three hits and two walks with five K after 81 pitches. Ibanez tied the game with one gone when he drilled a full count heater into the seats in right center. Michael Saunders beat out an infield knock with two down, but stayed at first.

Mercer singled with an out in the seventh. That rally ended quickly enough when Marte started a strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP when he missed an 0-2 curve, King Felix's 11th K. Vin Mazzaro took the mound for the Pirates and worked a clean frame.

After 108 pitches, Hernandez was finally done as Tom Wilhelmsen toed the rubber in the eighth. He got a pair of flies to the LF track, and with Jones up, lefty Charlie Furbush grabbed the ball for Seattle and tossed three sliders to sit Jones down. Morales ripped a fastball to center for a two bagger with one down in Seattle's half, and Ibanez was intentionally walked. Vin whiffed Smoak on a slider in the dirt and retired Saunders on a fly to left, so it remained knotted going into the ninth.

Pedro singled to open the frame and Walker bunted him to second. Seattle waved in Yoervis Medina. Gaby rolled a grounder to third, freezing El Toro at second. He intentionally walked LH Travis Snider to work on Mercer. It backfired as Mercer singled to center to plate Pedro, and Bucs ended up at second and third on the throw home. Medina got Marte to wave at a two-strike hook in the dirt, but the Bucs added a run as the wild pitch got away, allowing Marte to reach and Snider to score. The Pirates had the lead at 4-2.

Clint Hurdle said Jason Grilli was down today, though he hasn't worked since Sunday, so we're assuming it's for a mental health break. But Mark Melancon isn't a bad Plan B, and he took the hill. With an out, Mike Zunino poked a cutter away softly into right for a single. Endy Chavez went down swinging through a cutter. On an 0-2 pitch, MM put a cutter on Nick Franklin's hands, and he took it to right to put Mariners on the corners. No sweat; Kyle Seager bounced the next pitch to Gaby, and the Bucs had the icing on their 7-2 road trip. Mazzaro got his fourth win, and MM his second save.

Good pitching and just enough hitting (1-for-9 with RISP and 13 K). Hey, it's worked so far.

The Bucs are off tomorrow, then face Milwaukee for a three game weekend set at PNC Park.

  •  The Kid, Pedro and Jordy each had a pair of hits. The 3M at the top of the order - Marte, Martin and McCutch - went 1-for-14.
  • The Pirates are now 48-30, and their six game winning streak is the longest of the year. They went 5-0 on a combo West Coast/interleague swing. With a Card loss tonight, they'll be tied for first in the NL Central (don't hold your breath; StL is playing Houston). Cincy has fallen on hard times; the Bucs are 3-1/2 games up on them after today.
  • The Pirates are 6-1 against the AL West, with a big caveat - they still have to meet Oakland and Texas six times.
  • Pedro has a 10 game hitting streak.
  • Altoona OF Gregory Polanco and WV 2B Dilson Herrera were chosen to play in the MLB Futures Game.
  • Jameson Taillon (3-5, 2.93), Casey Sadler (7-4, 3.06) and Jarek Cunningham (.236/14/26) of the Altoona Curve were selected to the mid-season Eastern League All-Star Game.

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