Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cards Salvage Pride (But Not the Series) With 13-0 Win

Good start for Ground Chuck; three batters, eight pitches, three groundouts. Joe Kelly is off to an A Game start, too, and it was a quick and quiet opening frame. After a pair of swinging K in the second, Jon Jay rolled a 3-2 sinker up the middle for the game's first knock. Tony Cruz ripped a heater into center to put Redbirds on the corners, and a fastball that got away brought home a run. Sanchez got to the ball quickly and made a high but in time throw home. Morton, though, was beat to the plate by Jay (he didn't make the catch, either), and it was 1-0 Cards. Tony Sanchez drew a walk with two away, and JT worked one, too. Jordy Mercer became the third straight Bucco to walk on a full count, but Morton went down swinging - he may have seen one strike - to remain 0-for-2013.

The Cards went down in order in the third and so did the Bucs.  Allen Craig opened the fourth with a walk. Matt Holliday and David Freese banged back-to-back singles, and Charlie was in hot water. It got hotter when he hit Jon Jay to force home a run after just missing a strike three call on the inside corner. Another run scored in a good trade as Cruz hit into a 5-3 DP. Morton ran the count full to Pete Kozma and gave him a belt-high sinker down the middle; he bounced it into center to make it 4-0; you can't give in with a pitch like that with the pitcher on deck and a base to play with. Kelly hit a tapper; Charlie double clutched the throw and his mound opponent beat it out. Morton's not really helping himself at all today. He got a grounder to end the frame, but it's been a pretty underwhelming four frames, and he's at 73 pitches. Kelly did what a MLB pitcher does; he shut down the Bucs after a big inning by his mates. He's only had two balls hit hard off him in the first four frames; the only good news is that he's at 68 pitches.

Beltran opened the fifth with a single after a long at bat, and Craig followed by going the opposite way for a knock. A right side grounder moved the runners up, and another hit batter loaded the sacks. Charlie worked out of this predicament, though, with a swinging K and grounder to short as Jeanmar Gomez heated up. It was Charlie's last frame. JT got the Bucs started with their first knock, a liner to right. mercer took the glow away two pitches later, banging into a 6-4-3 DP. Morton stayed in, and broke an 0-for-27 streak with a knock through the right side. Marte doubled to the wall in center, with Bucs at second and third; Charlie doesn't have a second gear to kick into. Ahead 2-1, Walker rolled over on a changeup and rolled out to first. with an out in the sixth, Kelly chopped his second infield hit of the night, a high hopper that went over Pedro's head as he was playing in on the pitcher. Kelly was bunted to second, and Beltran doubled him in off the left center fence by the bullpen. That was Charlie's last frame. He went six, giving up five runs on ten hits with a walk, two hit batters and five K after tossing 104 pitches.

Cutch walked to start the Bucco half. Pedro and Jones tried opposite field shots; both balls ended up short of the track routine flies into Holliday's mitt. Tony Sanchez bounced out, and it's 5-0 after six. Gomez took the bump in the seventh. To make a long. long inning short, Jeanmar gave up seven runs in 1/3 of an inning, with the only out a sac fly and Vic Black gave up another. It's 13-0, and the Bucs need a couple of TDs.

Black saved the pen and stayed around to the finish, surprisingly tossing a lot of curves in the first two frames before his pitch count starting getting up there. Lots of subs coming in and out; we're glad the Cards waited until Pittsburgh had four games in the bag to break out the bats. And they were due. The 13 runs they scored tonight equaled the runs they scored total in their last eight games. It was a perfect storm, as both Charlie and Jeanmar had control issues and left a lot of pitches at the belt. But hey, 4-of-5 is a great series, and they're still your first place Pirates.

Tomorrow night is a clean slate with Gerrit Cole taking on the Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin.

  • Starling Marte is warming up a little; he now has a five game hitting streak.
  • Russ Martin was off because of his knee "tweak" suffered against the Marlins; it could be a nagging  injury that flares up periodically for the rest of the year.
  • 31,999 attended tonight's game at PNC Park for a series total  of 129,623, a new club record. The old PNC Park four date attendance mark was 129,473, set against the Mets in 2008.
  • From Elias Sports Bureau: On Tuesday, Tony Sanchez became the seventh Bucco catcher to call a shutout in his first game; the last one was Jason Kendall in 1996.
  • The last five game sweep in MLB was August 2006 when the Yankees swept the Red Sox. The last Pirate five game sweep was in September 1996 vs. the San Francisco Giants.
  • Indy LHP Kris Johnson is a guy you'll see in September. He went seven scoreless tonight, giving up five hits with two walks and three K while throwing 103 pitches. Johnson in 9-4/2.30 and was an International League All-Star this year.

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