Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pedro's Bomb Leads Bucs To 6-5 Win

Jeff Locke worked on the outside half a little more than we're use to seeing to open the game, but it worked just fine as the Phils went down in order. John Lannan took the hill for Philly, and watched his second pitch get laid down by Starling Marte for a bunt hit. Jordy Mercer got ahead of a change up and rolled it to third for a 5-4 force out. Cutch walked as Lannan tried to pound him inside, but Gaby went down swinging through a hook and Russel Martin at a changeup to leave them stranded.

With an out in the second, Delmon Young turned on a change and drilled it into left for a knock. Two routine outs later, he remained there. Pedro started it off for the Bucs with a rope to right and JT followed with a bouncer through the left side to put Bucs at first and second. Neil Walker rolled over on a fastball away, but it worked out as his soft tapper went for an infield single. It took Locke four pitches to sit down. Marte swung at a first pitch fastball and sent it to short for a 6-4-3 DP, and the Bucs have done everything but score in the opening two frames.

After an out, Locke lost his mound opponent on four pitches in the third. He's been leaving his fastball up; Michael Young lined out and Chase Utley smacked one to center for a double. The Bucs dodged the bullet when Cutch hit Walker and his strike of a relay chopped down Lannan at the plate, with a big-time block of the dish by Martin. Cutch lined a single to center with one away in the Pirate half, and Gaby walked. Cutch stole third, but Martin went down swinging again at another change. Pedro K'ed fishing for a slider in the dirt, and it was another close but no cigar inning for the Bucs.

Domonic Brown singled to right off Gaby's glove with one away in the fourth, and Young followed with a ball through the right side to put Phils on first and second. He caught John Mayberry looking at a fastball on the inside corner, but Ben Revere blooped a jam shot into left to score the game's first run. Carlos Ruiz was walked intentionally to load the bases for Lannan. Locke fed him  fastballs and after a little battle got him to pop out to third. Locke walked with two down after falling behind 0-2, and Marte bounced out to end the frame as the Pirates stranded their seventh runner of the night.

Chase Utley walked with one down in the fifth, but Locke K'ed Jimmy Rollins and got Brown on a bouncer. He hasn't had his best stuff today, especially with fastball command, but he's still getting his share of balls hit in the dirt and keeping the game tight. With an out, Cutch beat out an infield knock on the left side, and Gaby followed with a liner off Young's mitt. Russell Martin saw enough of Lannan's change; he spanked one up the middle to plate Cutch. Pedro, being force fed to lefties, made it pay off when he drove a fastball down the middle over the RC wall into the fifth or sixth row of seats, and the Bucs suddenly had a 4-1 lead. An out later, Walker singled and holy moly, so did Locke. Marte tried to keep the party going, but his fly to left was hauled in at the track.

Young opened by singling through the left side. Locke got ahead of Mayberry 0-2, ran the count full, then fed him a heater down the middle that Marte had to gather at the wall. An out later, Ruiz banged an elevated heater into left. Kevin Frandsen hit for Lannan, and that was it for Locke. He went 5-2/3, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits, three walks and a pair of K after 99 pitches. Justin Wilson came on, and Frandsen poked a 3-2 fastball up and on the outer half through the right side to bring in Young. Michael Young bounced one to Jordy; he booted it and it was 4-3. Utley spoiled several offerings, but Wilson won the war, striking him out on a foul tip.

Phillippe Aumont took the bump for Philadelphia. After Mercer bounced out to third, Cutch ripped a triple to center. Gaby didn't get a chance to bring him in; he was plunked by a pitch.  Martin had the green light on a 3-0 pitch and lined a double to left, scoring Cutch. LH Jake Diekman took the ball to face El Toro. He uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Gaby and moving Martin to third. Pedro whiffed on a 3-2 pitch and JT went down swinging, but the lead is back to three at 6-3.

Jeanmar Gomez took over in the seventh to face the middle of the Philadelphia lineup. With one gone, Brown softly dropped a ball into center for a single, and a wild pitch moved him up 90'. Young rolled over on a pitch down and away, bouncing out and moving Brown to third. Ryan Howard grabbed a stick. Jeanmar gave Martin a workout, throwing four of the first five balls in the dirt (Howard fished for one), but struck him out eventually. Gomez was fortunate; he left a couple of sinkers up under the letters, but Howard swung through them. Diekman didn't need any luck; he struck out the side and K'ed all five Bucs that he faced.

Mark Melancon climbed the hill for the eighth and pitched a clean frame. Joe Savery took his turn. He walked Cutch with an out. No diff; he was caught on a strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP with Gaby batting; apparently both guys thought it was ball four, though it looked like it caught all plate to us.

Jason Grilli came on looking for his 28th save. With two outs, Rollins hit a two strike dink double into short left field. Grilli tried to get Brown on an 0-2 slider on the hands, but it stayed over the inside half of the plate and Brown put it into the seats to make it 6-5. That bomb made it close, but Grilli closed it out by blowing a fastball past Delmon Young to preserve Locke's eighth win.

Hey, they can't all be classics. The point is to score one more than the other guy by hook or crook, and that's what the Bucs did tonight. Gerrit Cole takes on Cole Hamels tomorrow afternoon with the series in the balance.

  • Pedro Alvarez is the second Pirate third basemen with at least 20 HR in multiple seasons. The other was Bobby Bonilla in 1988 and 1989.
  • Cutch reached all five times tonight - a triple, two singles, and two walks with two runs scored and a stolen base. It's been a long time comin', but he's now hitting .300. Pedro, Russell Martin and The Kid had a pair of knocks each and went 6-for-12 combined.
  • Locke went 24 innings at home until the two-out knock in the fourth tonight, the longest for a Pirate since Jerry Reuss in 1975. The last Pirate lefty to win at least eight straight decisions was John Candelaria in 1983, who won 11 in a row.
  • The Pirate bullpen's scoreless streak ended at 27-1/3 IP after Domonic Brown's two out, 0-2 homer off Jason Grilli.
  • Tonight's crowd was 33,197. "People will come..."
  • James McDonald was told that he has no structural damage to his shoulder, just normal wear and tear. He's supposed to rest it for two weeks and then begin his throwing routine.
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America tweeted that the Pirates agreed to terms with 16-year-old Dominican SS Adrian Valerio for $400,000. He's a good defensive player and a switch hitter with gap, but not home run, power. John Dreker of Pirates Prospects reported that the Pirates also agreed to terms with Dominican OF Edinson Lantigua, signing the 16-year-old to a reported $275,000 bonus. Lantigua is a line drive hitter who shows occasional power. Defensively, he has a strong arm and they project him to be able to play center field.

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