Friday, July 19, 2013

Shaky Glovework, Brandon Phillips Lead Reds To 5-3 Win

Mike Leake started off as usual; two quick outs, a walk to Cutch, another out. Francisco Liriano didn't quite have that luck. With an out, he worked the count full to Chris Heisey, who smacked a slider to left center that kept carrying and slipped out of the yard for a GABP long ball to make it 1-0. Joey Votto followed with a hit up the middle, but a force and K cleaned up the frame.

The Bucs got a Garrett Jones double in the second sandwiched between a couple of strikeouts. Clint Barmes was intentionally walked, and Frankie bounced out to short to end the frame. The Cisco Kid walked a pair of Reds with a whiff in between, but escaped unscathed as Leake bounced into a 6-4-3 DP. The Pirates went down in order in the third; Cincinnati worked another walk off Liriano.

Both sides went down in order in the forth, but Francisco's pitch count is telling the tale of his control issues with 76 pitches already to his credit. With an out in the fifth, Barmes dropped a changeup into right for a knock. Liriano didn't help his cause a bit; he bunted in front of the plate and into a 2-6-4 DP, even with Barmes taking out Cozart during the pivot. 

Devin Mesoraco opened with a double, ripping a change into left. Leake missed a pair of bunts and swung away; his grounder to Barmes worked out well for the Bucs as they cut down Mesoraco at third. Choo singled to right center on a ball that looked playable but glanced off Mercer's glove to put Reds on the corners. Heisey banged one off Pedro's mitt on another ball that looked catchable, and it was 2-0. The Bucs got two chances to turn an inning ending DP and instead turned them both into infield knocks. Joey Votto walked to jam the sacks.

Liriano was gone after 4-2/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits with four walks and four K, tossing 98 pitches. He didn't have his best stuff, nor did the Bucs behind him. Justin Wilson came in, and Phillips lined a knee high heater with run on the inside black, his red zone, for a double to clear the bases. After a ground out, Todd Frazier legged out an infield single to second that Mercer made a hustling stop on to save another run. Cozart K'ed, but the Reds were up 5-0.

To start the sixth, Starling Marte got a 2-2 cutter at the thigh and lost it in the right center stands to give the Bucs their first run. Jose Tabata took a shot at going long, too, but flew out to the track in straight center. Cutch didn't miss; he lined one yard to left center as the Bucs were squaring up on Leake. Pedro flew out routinely to right, then Russell Martin joined the parade by drilling one out on a rope to left. Leake got his curtain call after that as Logan Ondrusek took the ball. Jones greeting him with a sharp single to right, and Mercer followed by banging an 0-2 pitch up the middle. But Barmes couldn't keep it going, hitting one hard up the line that Frazier stopped nicely for the force, saving at least a run and ending the inning. But it's interesting again at 5-3. Except for Pedro, who got jammed, everyone put a good swing on the ball that inning. Vin Mazzaro came on for the Bucs.

Mesoraco led off by banging a 3-2 pitch to third on two hops and off Pedro's glove for a knock; El Toro is having a tough day, even if it was ruled generously - and wrongly - a hit. Jack Hannahan pinch hit. He hit one well into left center; Cutch made the running grab, barely avoiding Marte, turned and fired a strong relay to Mercer. He went to Jones to double up Mesoraco, who isn't having a real good day on the basepaths. The frame ended with a Shin-Soo Choo K, and Alfredo Simon climbed the mound for Cincinnati in the seventh.

Travis Snider dropped a bloop single the opposite way into left to begin the frame. Marte fished for a couple off the dish and sat down. Simon lost JT on five pitches, and not too surprisingly, he brushed back Cutch with the first pitch. Eventually, he got Cutch to roll over on a cutter and bang to short for a force, narrowing avoiding a DP. Lefty Manny Parra got the call to face Pedro. Cutch stole second on the first pitch. Alvarez didn't have much of an at-bat; he looked at two strikes, then whiffed on a curve in the dirt. The Bucs 3-4 hitters had a chance, but couldn't cash in. Tony Watson trotted in, and walked Votto with an out after brushing him back as a nod to Cutch. With two outs, Jay Bruce banged one off Jones' glove into right, sheesh, but Snider made it work out by gunning down Votto with a strike to home to end the frame.

Mannt Parra got Martin looking at a third strike heater right down the middle on a 3-2 pitch; the catcher never swung his stick during the at-bat. Sam LeCure came on the face Gaby, batting for Jones, and lost him on five pitches. He fed Mercer a fastball at the belt, and he hit it on the nose, but Zack Cozart snagged the rocket nicely and started a 6-4-3 DP. Bryan Morris came on and tossed a clean frame.

Aroldis Chapman took the bump. He struck out Barmes and Josh Harrison, batting for Snider, but Marte kept the inning alive, singling on a 3-2, 100 MPH heater. Mike McKenry grabbed a stick in Morris' place and popped out.

Not much deep thinking about this one. The Bucs turned a pair of Cincy DPs into hits, and the Reds converted the five out inning into four runs. Frazier's dive at third in the sixth might have been a game saver, and Cozart's play on Mercer late in the game turned a knock into a DP. The Pirates made some outstanding plays in the field, but they didn't make enough of the routine ones. And while three solo homers are nice, the Bucs still stranded eight and were 0-for-6 with RISP.

AJ Burnett takes on Mat Latos tomorrow afternoon in a Fox game.

  • Tonight was the second time this year the Pirates have hit three home runs in one inning. They also did it on June 25th at Seattle.
  • What powers the Reds? How about Joey Votto, who has reached base in 29 straight games with an NL-leading .434 OBP on the season, just ahead of Shin-Soo Choo's .425 OBP coming into tonight. Add the 31 homers Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce have clocked, and that's a pretty good top of the lineup. Choo and Votto got aboard four times tonight, and Phillips drove in three runs.
  • Franscisco Liriano has lost his last three starts to the Reds, all against Leake. The Bucs have scored once while he was in the game.
  • RHP Stolmy Pimentel went seven innings for Indy, giving up two runs on five hits with two walks and seven K after tossing 105 pitches.

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