Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bucs Buried In First Inning Hole, Go Down 6-3

JT opened by ripping a single to right off Tim Lincecum; a bounce straight to Hunter Pence kept it from being extra bases. But that was the highlight; Neil Walker K'ed fishing for changeups and Cutch rolled into a 6-4-3 DP. Francisco Liriano had one of those innings that the Bucs suffer from on occasion.

A single up the middle started it, followed by a double on 290' foul fly to right that the ump miscalled after it hit outside the chalk. Oddly. the Bucs didn't protest, but mostly wandered around looking bewildered. Buster Posey had his bat blow up, but he pushed the ball a step away from Pedro, who was dodging splinters, for a knock and RBI. After an out, a swinging bunt single to third by Brett Pill scored another run when a hard charging Pedro one hopped the throw to first and Garrett Jones played it off his chest. Pablo Sandoval hit one weakly to second, too soft for a DP, and a third runner touched home. Gregor Blanco slapped a single to right, and it was 4-0.

Lincecum fell behind Pedro 3-0 to start the second, but came all the way back to K him swinging at a change; then he caught Jones and Tony Sanchez looking. The Giants added a couple of base hits to their total in the second, but Liriano kept them off the board. The Bucs went down in order in the third, and the G-Men got just one more knock, although The Cisco Kid is up to 72 pitches.

The first two Bucs, Jose Tabata and The Kid, walked to open the fourth, but it didn't help as the middle of the order couldn't cash them in. Cutch hit a jam shot fly to right, moving JT to third. Pedro looked at strike three, down the middle and at the knees, then Jones whiffed swinging over a change up. With two down for SF, Posey golfed a single to center and Pence walked, both after long at-bats. He worked out of it, but is at 101 pitches.

Tony Sanchez cracked his first MLB homer when he drilled an elevated 3-2 pitch halfway up the LF stands. Lambo followed with a walk, but the Bucs couldn't move him along. Jared Hughes took the bump; Liriano didn't have his usual command, but kept the score in hand after breakin' bad in the opening inning. Hughes woes continued; a hit batter, single, bunt, wild pitch and walk gave the run back as Tony Sanchez got his aerobic workout chasing down Jared's deliveries.

With an out in the sixth, Cutch walked and Pedro doubled over first base. Pence again played the ball nicely to hold McCutchen at third. Lefty Jose Mijares took the ball from The Freak. Gaby hit for Jones and drilled a single to center to plate Cutch and put Pirates on the corners. Bruce Bochy called on Jean Machi to face Tony Sanchez, who lined his pitch into center to make it 5-3. Machi got Lambo to sit down after three off speed offerings, and then was spared when Panda made a nice pick of a Barmes shot up the 3B line and had his short throw picked at the other end by Posey.  Vin Mazzaro took the bump. With an out, he lost Pence on a 3-2 pitch. A passed ball and slow roller moved him to third, and the Bucs decided to work on Sandoval instead of Hector Sanchez. That was a mistake, as Panda singled Pence in with a rip to right.

Sandy Rosario took the bump in the seventh. Jordy Mercer lined out to short, followed by a JT single. The Kid hit a tailor made DP ball to second, but Marco Scutero tried to flip it to second before he had the handle, and everyone was safe. Cutch again was jammed and flew out short of the track in right, moving JT to third. Veteran LOOGY Javier Lopez came on to face Pedro and punched him out on four pitches. Vin gave up a couple of liners, but JT and Cutch were up to the task and the Giants went down 1-2-3.

Santiago Casilla put the Bucs away in order in the eighth. Bryon Morris toed the rubber for Pittsburgh and tossed a clean frame with swinging K's of Posey and Pence. Sergio Romo climbed the hill to look for the save in the ninth and got it easily, despite a two out dink double by JT.

A blown call by an ump, four balls hit too softly to break an egg and a bullpen that was human were the ingredients for tonight's loss. And watching Tony Sanchez work a sweat chasing after the all the balls the Buc pitchers delivered in the dirt only renews the admiration for the defensive job Russ Martin does behind the dish.

A.J. Burnett gets the call against Ryan Vogelsong this afternoon.
  •  The Bucs had seven hits; Jose Tabata had three of them, along with a walk.
  • The Cards and Reds won. The Bucs are tied for first in the division, with Cincy 2-1/2 games behind.
  • Travis Sawchik of the Tribune Review reported the good news that Starling Marte is not a candidate for surgery to repair the strained ligament that connects his right ring finger to his hand. 
  • The Tribe's Alex Presley has posted multi-hit efforts in six of his last eight games, and helped lead the Indy Indians to their second International League West division title tonight with a 6-4 win over Rochester.

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