Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Brewers Second Wind Blows Past Pirates 7-6

If it weren't for bad luck... Jeff Locke gave up an infield single on a jam shot rolled to short by Norichika Aoki, another on a bunt single by Jean Segura, and then lost Jonathan Lucroy on a 3-2 fastball that looked a lot like strike three. It became 1-0 when Locke hung tough and got a 6-4-3 DP from Aramis Ramirez , followed by a soft roller to third by Carlos Gomez; it was a nice job of damage control. The Bucs got a one-out break against Kyle Lohse when 2B Scooter Gennett made a wide toss on Neil Walker's bouncer; it was ruled a hit, but was a boot all the way. Cutch cranked the next pitch to The Notch, where Carlos Gomez ran it down and then doubled up The Kid easily, who quite ill-advisedly decided to tag.

Locke tossed a clean, nine pitch frame in the second. The Pirates added a couple more hits, but still no one has reached second. Pedro lined a knock into right; Russ Martin bounced into a 6-3 DP. Gaby roped a hit to left center; Andrew Lambo whiffed on three pitches. With an out in the third, Aoki chopped one off the plate and over Locke for his second infield knock; he has two singles on 100' of grounders. Segura lined an ankle-high shot to Pedro; he snagged it and easily doubled Aoki, who slipped reversing fields, off at first. The Bucs went down in order, with JT on the losing end of a bang-bang call at first.

In the fourth, A-Ram drilled a flat change into the second bullpen to make it 2-0. Gomez added another infield knock, this one a chopper deflected by Locke, but it led to no further leakage. Pedro rapped a second single through the shift with two down, but was left on the gateway.

Gennett singled to open the fifth and was bunted to second. Aoki drew a 3-2 walk, followed by a Segura K. Lucroy lined a knock into left; JT's throw and Martin's swipe tag were just missed Gennett, and it was 3-0. Ramirez lined a shot to left; Tabata wasn't playing him particularly deep, raced back, twisted and had the ball tick off his glove as two more runs scored. That brought on Vin Mazzaro. Locke didn't have much luck - the inning may have been scoreless in Starling Marte was in left - but three of the balls this inning were spanked. We're sure they'll be some discussion about his continued spot in the rotation come September. Vin walked Gomez and got Davis to end the frame; we'll see if the Pirate hitters have anything in them.

With an out, Lambo singled. With two down, Felix Pie rocketed one to right center, but Aoki had it measured after a run. Then he stopped, apparently in a mixup with Gomez coming from center, short-armed the ball. It kissed his glove and fell out for an RBI double. Lohse was halfway to the dugout when it bounced of Aoki's mitt, and perhaps mentally was out of the inning. JT singled up the middle; only a diving stop by Gennett prevented Pie from scoring. Nice effort, but fruitless; Walker drilled one out of the yard, over the upper walk, off a couple of trees and coming to rest on the River walk. Cutch singled and then some back-to-back bad luck - Pedro's drive to the Notch jumped over the wall for a ground rule double, and Martin's liner to left was zapped right at Davis. But at 5-4, it's a game now.

Jeanmar Gomez came in for the sixth and worked a quick frame, with a pair of K. The Bucs chased Lohse. With one gone - a Gaby at 'em ball to left - Lambo and Mercer singled. So did Pie - two of the balls went by Yuniesky Betancourt, who apparently isn't all that comfy with the trapper mitt - and it was a tie game with Bucs on the corners. Rob Wooten came on, and Garrett Jones grabbed a bat to face him. But hey; it's the Pirates with a runner on third. Jones popped out and Walker K'ed, but it was a new ball game.

Not for long, though, as Justin Wilson didn't have the strongest outing. He walked Aoki to open the inning. Segura hit a DP ball to Walker, who bobbled it before flipping to Mercer, who got the force before dropping the ball on the turn. Walker did better on Lucroy's hit-and-run bleeder, breaking back across the infield to make the stop and then gunning down Segura at third on a bang-bang play. But Lucroy stole second on a napping Wilson and scored on A-Rams third hit - he's a triple short of the cycle and has four RBI - to make it 6-5. Pedro tied it again with a liner high off the RF pole, and it was 6-6 after seven.

Again, not for long. Bryan Morris gave up a double with one down in the eighth to Belancourt. He went to third on Gennett's bunt single, and a sac fly brought him in. Aoki walked, but Segura closed out the inning with an opposite field slapper to Lambo. Brandon Kintzler worked a 1-2-3 inning.

Tony Watson tossed the ninth. Lucroy stuck out the bat and rolled a soft single to center; A-Ram slashed another hit to left. Gomez got cute; he showed bunt, then pulled back and hit a short hop to Walker. The Kid went to second for the force and Mercer tossed to third and Pedro for the tag to finish the not often seen 4-6-5 DP. Another grounder, and it was the Bucs last at-bat. Jim Henderson took the bump. The Kid lined out to second to open, then Cutch tased one down the third base line; A-Ram knocked it down but it still rolled far enough for a double. Pedro walked, but it wasn't to be - Martin's soft liner to left center hung up for Gomez, and Gaby hit a weak one hopper off the bat handle to short, and the Bucs went down 7-6.

Hurdle used the entire bullpen, save Mark the Shark and Jared Hughes. They could have done better, but the two long men, Gomez and Mazzaro, both were yanked for pinch hitters after an inning; after all, it is the NL. Wilson faced the top of the order, Morris the bottom, and Watson the top, so that's sensible. Should Melancon have been in the mix? A home game is a strong incentive to use him; facing extra innings is a strong incentive to save him, so pick your poison.

The Bucs did everything they could at the plate, and made it a game coming out of a 5-0 hole. If Pedro's ball didn't hop the fence; if Jones hit a fly instead of a pop with the runner on third; if a couple of Buc liners dropped like the Brewers early dinks did...but the ifs didn't, and the Pirates have their third straight loss, falling 1-1/2 games behind St. Louis.

Charlie Morton and Tom Gorzelanny go at it tomorrow.
  •  Felix Pie and Andrew Lambo sure went about making their cases for a roster spot today after the Byrd/Buck trade with a pair of hits each.  Pedro didn't have to worry but he chipped in with four knocks and a walk anyway, while Cutch added his 50th multi-hit game of the campaign.
  • Milwaukee had gone 27 straight games without scoring in the first inning until tonight.
  • The Pirates have been burned several times by ground rule doubles this season. There's some movement to make it an ump's decision as to where the runners go when the ball leaves the yard rather than give a flat two bases. That's probably too logical to pass muster.
  • Both Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports think the Pirates have interest in the Twins' Justin Morneau.

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