Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bucs Fall Behind, Rally, Lose 9-7

OK, too much stuff for a play-by-play; a few bullets will suffice:

  • The Bucs fell behind 4-0 in the first by committing three errors and giving up three unearned runs as a result. Clint Barmes and Pedro couldn't play catch during a rundown, a Gaby toss behind the runner in second was airmailed into left center, and Jordy Mercer booted a grounder. Ouch.
  • The Pirates had two runners on in each of the first four innings; they scored once on an AJ RBI. But in the sixth, a Josh Harrison homer made it 4-3 after AJ worked out of a bases-loaded, no out jam with a pair of whiffs. He had another STFD moment when he quite visibly reacted on the hill after the bullpen got up that inning; Clint had a nice, one-sided chat with him between innings regarding that demonstration.
  • Remarkably, it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth, with the Nat's Steve Lombardozzi playing like the reincarnation of Billy Maz by starting a pair of web gem DPs to bail the Nats out. Vin Mazzaro gave up an RBI double to Lombardozzi that frame, and with two out and two out, Adam LaRoche's triple that a charging Travis Snider couldn't corral, letting it roll to the wall brought in a pair to make it 7-3.
  • Washington struck out the Bucco side in the ninth. But in between, a Mercer double and Russ Martin single made it 7-5, and a two out, two strike knock by Harrison tied it.
  • Clint Hurdle, who said Mark the Shark was on ice tonight - giving him a shakedown cruise in the comfortable win Tuesday doesn't seem quite so bright an idea today - brought in Bryan Morris, who gave up a two run, two out long ball to Bryce Harper, his first MLB walk-off homer, and the rally went for naught as the Nationals outlasted the Bucs 9-7. In the end, Washington made the plays and hit the ball when it counted a lot better than Pittsburgh, which treated opportunity like a hobo on the corner.
  • The umpiring was comical, both behind the dish and on the field. Both managers were tossed.
  • You might say seven runs is a nice offensive output; we would respond that a 3-for-18 performance with RISP says otherwise. The middle of the order - Cutch, Martin, and Pedro -  left 12 runners on. Jordy Mercer, just ahead of them in the two hole, and Gaby, behind them in the six spot, each had three hits, with Mercer extending his hitting streak to 10 games and lifting his BA to .276.
  • Oh, and we're waiting for the Buc bullpen to step up with Jason Grilli gone. Back-to-back games surrendering ninth inning two-run homers isn't all that reassuring. It's early; we'll see how it comes out in the wash.
  • It's off to Miami for three games. Jeff Locke opens against Henderson Alvarez.

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