The Cisco Kid had one of those days when his fastball command wasn't on, leaving pitches up, and his breaking stuff wasn't much better. The start was 1-2-3 innings for both sides, but there was lots of action for both sides in the second. The Pirates had three singles and a walk, but scored just once and left the bases loaded. The Brewers grabbed the lead when a walk was followed by a Khris Davis homer to take a 2-1 edge.
The Bucs tied it quickly in the third, on a single, double and Marlon Byrd knock, but left runners at second and third with one out. Milwaukee put it away. The first four hitter had a pair of singles followed by a pair of doubles, and another hit, walk, bobbled DP comebacker and back-to-back wild pitches ended the frame with the Brewers up 7-3.
The Bucs had the side struck out in the fourth; the Brew Crew left a pair on against Jeanmar Gomez. The Pirates big chance in the fifth fizzled. Cutch homered to lead off, and a hit batter and double didn't produce anything as Justin Morneau was thrown out at home; why running yourself out of an inning with no outs and a four run deficit by sending a guy with Adam LaRoche speed is a good question. Byrd, who had the two bagger, went to third; he was stranded. It was Pittsburgh golden opportunity to get back in the game, and they couldn't take advantage.
It did create a little heat though, as the benches emptied after Morneau was clocked following Cutch's blast, though it ended up more a coffee clatch than brawl. It was triggered by Cutch's slow break after the homer; he said after the game that he wasn't showboating, but thought he didn't get it all and had popped up.
The game went along quietly until the top of the seventh. The Pirates again loaded the bases; again they didn't score. The Brewers added two more against Stolmy Pimentel with the clutch play being Neil Walker throwing away a DP ball. It played out quickly after that, with the only noteworthy happening being Jason Grilli's return to the hill in the eighth. His start was a little rocky, giving up a single and lineout, but he got loose and struck out the last two batters he faced.
Frankie's lack of command dug the Pirates an early hole, and 12 stranded runners - the Bucs had 12 hits, two walks and two HBP, but only three runs - made sure that they wouldn't be able to pull themselves out of it. Pedro and John Buck in the 6-7 spots left 11 runners on the base paths. In many ways, it was the Pirates usual back-in-the-day performance at Miller Park.
We remember early in the year when they couldn't win the first game of a series; now they can't take the finale. But as long as they keep grinding out series wins, they'll be OK.
The Pirates are off tomorrow as the Reds and Cards finish their series, then it's on to visit St. Louis for the last head-to-head series with the Redbirds. AJ Burnett will tackle Joe Kelly in the first game, Jeff Locke and Adam Wainwright in the middle match and Charlie Morton taking on Michael Wacha in the fianl contest..
- The usual suspects had big nights - The Byrd had three knocks, while Neil Walker and Justin Morneau added two each.
- Stolmy Pimentel was the 28th pitcher used by the Pirates this year, a franchise record.
- The Cards won 5-4 in 16 innings tonight. The Bucs are one game up on them and 3-1/2 games ahead of the Reds.
- The Pirates took the season series from the Brewers 12-to-7.
- On the injury front, Wandy tossed a pain-free bullpen, but Starling Marte is still limited to using one hand. Let's hope JT stays hot in September.