Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Let's Play Two: Bucs Sweep 6-0

Brandon Cumpton picked up where the first game pitching left off, with an easy first. He gave up just a ground ball single to Matt Holliday, a little roller through second; though he goes opposite way all day against Pittsburgh, the infield plays him like a pull hitter. It was Tyler Lyons' turn. Starling Marte missed bunting his way on by a fraction, then Jordy Mercer doubled off the wall in center. A Cutch tapper moved him to third. Pedro made the young lefty look good, watching a hanging off speed down the middle go by, then swinging at two pitches in different zip codes.

With one down in the second, Matt Adams drew a walk. David Freese hit a one-hopper to Gaby, who fired to second; Mercer dropped the ball, lowering his mitt a second too soon for the turn. No prob; it only cost Cumpton four pitches; a pop and a strikeout against the 8-9 batters. The Bucs drew first blood on a gift. JT reached when his chopper to third went off Freese's mitt as he was caught between hops. He went to third on a Josh Harrison single, and Josh stole second on a delay. JT came in when Yadier Molina turned his glove the wrong way on a hook for a passed ball, and the Bucs were up 1-0.

The Cards knocked on the door again in the third. With an out, Jon Jay lined a single to center. An out later, Allen Craig hit a hard one hopper to Pedro; the ball came up a bit and clanked off the end of his mitt. Again, no prob; Cumpton got Yadier Molina on a fly to Cutch. The Pirates went down quietly.

The Redbirds went three up, three down in the fourth. The Bucs did barely better, getting a one out single through the left side by JT. Rob Johnson was in to catch for the Cards; no idea what happened to Molina, (he strained his knee). Lyons opened the fifth with an infield knock, a chopper that got past the mound. But the top of the order went down routinely; Cumpton has shown more consistent velocity and movement today than in his previous starts.

The Bucs put up a big number in their half, with a huge St. Looey assist. Marte tripled off the center field wall to open and scored on Mercer's flare to center. Then Cutch lined a shot to left; Holliday leapt at the wall, the ball hit the pocket of his glove, and bounced off into the second row for a homer, putting the Bucs up 4-0. We'll see how Cumpton handles the lead; the sixth inning has been his kryptonite during his brief MLB career. It wasn't tonight; he tucked away the Cards and picked up a couple of whiffs along the way.

Harrison opened with a triple. But Lyons dodged that bullet by not dodging a couple of Buc bullets. Cumpton hit a knee high screamer back to the box, and Lyons snowconed it, then Marte drilled another right up the middle that the pitcher knocked down and had fall in front of him, catching Harrison in a rundown. Mercer cut him a break and bounced out to third. Cumpton cruised through another uneventful frame in the seventh, the longest outing of his short career.

Keith Butler took the ball for St. Louis, and the Bucs added on. Cutch lined a single to left and scored on Gaby's double off the bullpen gate. Pedro drilled a shot off the first baseman, which deflected right to the second baseman for the unusual 3-4-1 out, moving Sanchez up. And then Sanchez the younger came through with a sac fly, and it was 6-0 with six outs to go.

Cumpton wouldn't be around to get them. He went seven shutout frames, giving up three hits, a walk and K'ing five on 87 pitches, easily his most impressive outing. Jeanmar Gomez came in for the eighth, and was a walk away from a clean frame. Presley, in for JT, led off with a triple, the third inning-opening three bagger for the Bucs. For the second time, the Pirates couldn't bring the run in; one sac fly per game must be the limit.

Gomez tossed a 1-2-3 frame to ice Brandon Cumpton's first MLB win, and it's now the first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hard to believe, but this is kinda the same old Bucs. They scored six times, but were 1-for-14 with RISP. But hey, the runs are what count, and they got enough of them tonight to take two. Jeff Locke and Adam Wainwitght go in the fourth contest tomorrow night.

  • The Pirates have the best record in baseball at at 64-42, and are 22 games over .500 for the first time this year.
  • This is the first time the Pirates have taken five straight from St. Louis since 1997.
  • With nine triples, Starling Marte is tied for the NL lead in three-baggers.
  • Tonight's attendance: 33,681.
  • The Pirates got their first doubleheader sweep since 9/30/2009 at Chicago. Their last sweep at PNC Park was 8/28/07 vs Reds. It's also the first doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals since 6/26/78 at TRS.

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