Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pirates Struggle At Dish in 4-2, 16 Inning Loss

Well, forget Ground Chuck; Morton began the game by striking out the side. Wade Miley gave up a two-out walk to Cutch, and it cost him when Russ Martin doubled high off the Clemente Wall to make it 1-0. After a fourth K to open the second, Gerardo Parra knocked a single through the left side, but stayed put at first. The Bucs went down in order.

The Snakes went down quietly in the third, and the Bucs added. Starling Marte singled with an out and was on the move as Jordy Mercer doubled to left center to make it 2-0. Arizona made some noise in the fourth. With two down, Aaron Hill doubled and Parra walked, but Morton got a bouncer to short to close the frame. The Bucs were retired in order, whiffing a couple of times.

Didi Gregorius rolled a curve up the middle to open the fifth; Tuffy Gosewisch followed with a chopper to second; Clint Barmes grabbed it, stepped on the sack and tossed to first for the 6-3 DP. Miley tapped back to the mound to end the inning. Miley had an easy time taking care of the 8-9-1 hitters.

Bad habit, having the opening guy reach, as Adam Eaton did when his ball ticked off Barmes glove into the grass to start the sixth. Martin Prado lined a sinker to left center to put D-Backs on the corners. Paul Goldschmidt walked on four pitches; let's hope Charlie isn't banging on the same wall that Jeff Locke and AJ bumped into in their last outings. Hill got a fastball up and lined it into left to make it 2-1. Parra tied the game when he rolled over on a another pitch that was elevated, but pulled it to Mercer for a timely 6-4-3 DP. AJ Pollack bounced to short, but it was a new ballgame. Mercer started off with a single for the Bucs, but a pop, whiff and chopper left him there.

Morton walked Gregorius to start the seventh. Tuffy singled up the middle, and a bunt moved the runners to second and third. With two strikes on Eaton, Morton came inside and drilled him on the elbow to load the base. Then a little luck came into play; Prado lined a rocket right at pedro for the second out. No luck involved in the third out as Charlie K'ed Goldschmidt swinging. JT singled with an out on a ball that Prado knocked down to keep from going into the corner, but was quickly picked off. He may have been caught on a balk move, but if the umps don't call it, it ain't. Of course, Barmes singled to follow, but Josh Harrison rolled out, batting for Morton. Charlie went seven, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks with six K; he tossed 97 pitches.

Tony Watson came on in the eighth. Hill singled softly to the shortstop hole and was bunted to second by Parra; Watson had the out at second but opted to make the safe throw to first. No diff; a pair of grounders ended the frame quietly. Marte opened with a bunt base hit, perfectly played by Prado, who was just flay outrun by Starling. He was bunted to second. Cutch was predictably walked intentionally, and Martin swung through a 2-2 fastball as Marte was gunned down at third, ending the Bucs threat. Not exactly one of Clint's better tactical frames.

Watson stayed on. After two whiffs, Eaton dragged a bunt past the pitcher for a hit. Tony fell behind Prado 3-0, but came all the way back to get him swinging. Lefty Joe Thatcher took the ball to face Pedro. He lost him on five pitches, and was promptly flipped for RHP Heath Bell. Garrett Jones pinch hit, and looked fairly disinterested, passing on a couple of strikes and popping out on a ball that jammed him. JT got ahead 2-0, but tapped into a force. Neil Walker pinch hit and walked. The last Buc bench player, Tony Sanchez, grabbed a bat and sat back down without swinging it, looking at three straight strikes.

Mark the Shark gave up a knock, but worked a scoreless 10th thanks to a DP. Mercer singled, but the Bucs couldn't move him around. Kris Johnson worked the 11th. After a leadoff single to AJ Pollack, he got a DP ball bounced to Mercer; he had it come up on him, bobbled it, and had to settle for a force. So Johnson did it again, Mercer fielded this one cleanly and the 6-4-3 ended the frame. Eury De La Rosa came out to take care of Pedro and Jones. Josh Collmenter took the ball for JT; Tabata hit it on the nose, but on one hop right at Gregorius to end the frame.

Eaton singled to left with an out in the 12th and moved to second on Prado's cue ball spinner to first. Goldschmidt was walked intentionally, and Hill stroked a soft liner into left, but it hung up just long enough for Marte to slide under and grab. Walker lined a single to right and was bunted to second. A Marte chopper moved him to third, and a two-out walk to Mercer put Bucs on the corners. Cutch was intentionally walked, and Martin got a heater just under the letters - and popped it up to end the frame. Johnson pitched a clean 13th and Collmenter struck out the side. Pedro and Jones both looked at strikes, then swung at anything Collmenter rolled up; both at-bats were throw-aways.

Johnson tossed a quiet 14th, as did Arizona's sidewinder, Dan Ziegler. The 15th went by; Goldschmidt got a single for the Snakes and Ziegler made Cutch and Martin look bad, chasing breakers a foot outside. Pollack opened the 16th with a 3-2 walk, just barely checking his swing. Gregorius got ahead 2-0, then roped a high heater into right. Jason Kubel pinch hit and whiffed; a Hill tapper to third put D-Backs at second and third. They came in on a flare that just snuck under a sliding Cutch's mitt, scoring the pair and putting Arizona up 4-2 as the leadoff walk came back to bite Johnson. JJ Putz came on. He walked Jones, and with two outs, intentionally walked The Kid. The Bucs were out of bench players, and Johnson batted (tho we'd have probably sent up Gerrit Cole), and he K'ed.

Arizona had more chances - they were 2-for-13 with RISP - but the game was up for grabs. The Pirates were their usual 0-for-8 with RISP, and both sides stranded 13 runners (Arizona hit into four DP). The Pirates went 13 innings without scoring, so it's a credit to the pitching that they hung around so long.

Pittsburgh goes to San Diego tomorrow, with Francisco Liriano taking on Andrew Cashner.
  • Johnson's six inning outing was the second longest relief appearance during a Bucco debut, behind Bill Werle's 7-2/3 inning stint in on April 22nd, 1949.  It was, btw, his scheduled day to start for Indy, so he was stretched out for this appearance. And don't be surprised if he's sent back to Indy after the game despite his strong showing. The Buc bullpen is still short, and a rested arm from Indy may be on tap.
  • The Pirates made it official: LHP Kris Johnson joined the team, Andrew Lambo was sent back to Indy, and The Fort was moved from the 15 to 60 day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. Lambo is expected to be recalled once his 10-day mandatory stay at Indy (barring MLB injury) is done. And Johnson provides a long man/spot starter if needed. The move leaves the Bucs short a man on the bench while they try to get the bullpen back in sync.
  • Today's attendance of 37,518 was the 15th sellout of the season and they got their money's worth: the contest lasted four hours, 39 minutes.
  • The Bucs picked up minor league pitcher Doug Mathis from Miami for a PTBNL or cash and sent him to Indy.

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