Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bucs Tame Bruins 8-2

Good starts for Chris Rusin and Gerrit Cole; 1-2-3 frames for them both, and each with a K. The second was considerably livelier. Marlon Byrd opened the second with a single and Gaby walked. A Russ Martin fly to center moved The Byrd to third, and he scored when Pedro lined a ground rule double to right (it got caught in the ivy), forcing Gaby to stop a the hot corner. Josh Harrison grounded out, freezing the runners. Cole took matters in his own hands, ripping a ball into left to make it 3-0.

Dioner Navarro and Nate Schierholtz singled to open the Cub half, but a screw up on the bases cost them; Navarro made a turn and returned to second, while Schierholtz took a turn a continued to second, where he was thrown out. Donnie Murphy followed with another single to put Cubs on the corners, but Cole bore down and got Brian Bogusevich to bounce one to second for a 4-6-3 DP.

Jordy Mercer led off the third by crushing a homer to left center; yum, yum lefties. After an out, Byrd singled off 3B Murphy's glove and Gaby doubled him to third. That was it for Rusin, as Brooks Raley came on. He kept the Bucs from adding on - runners on third and less than two outs is kryptonite to this club - as Martin and Pedro whiffed. The Cubs got a run when Logan Watkins opened with a bloop knock, was bunted to second, and was chased home when Starlin Castro's ball was knocked down by Mercer, but rolled far enough into the outfield for the run to come in. Cole again had an answer, getting Junior Lake on a comebacker and 1-6-3 DP.

After K'ing a pair of Bucs in the fourth, Marte banged a broken bat knock into center, but was left when Mercer's soft liner to right hung up. The Cubs went down quietly. Chang-Yong Lim took the hill for Chi-town. Cutch singled through the SS hole, then Byrd and Gaby walked. True to Pirate form, Martin whiffed, but Pedro cued a 3-2 curve away and hopped it over third; with the shift on, it rolled into left for a two-run double. Harrison was yanked for Neil Walker, who was intentionally walked. That was it for Lim as Blake Parker took the bump. He K'ed Marte on a check swing foul tip. The Bucs have six runs, but left a lot of ducks circling the Wrigley pond. Cole wasn't counting ducks, though, as he struck out the side.

Pittsburgh went down in order in the sixth. It looked like the wheels were coming off for Cole after a jam shot to left, a single to right and a walk loaded the sacks. Mercer lost the handle on a slow roller, threw late to second and everyone was safe. Dioner Navarro was up 3-0 when Cole decided it was time to go to the heat. He K'ed him, then Luis Valbuena, and escaped when Murphy's drive to right was hauled in at the wall by Byrd - thankfully, the wind was blowing in tonight - to keep the score 6-2. He tossed over 30 pitches that frame, so Cole is probably done, but it was a great Houdini act by the young righty.

Alberto Cabrera took the ball in the seventh and worked a routine inning. Justin Wilson struck out the first two Cubbies he faced, then Pedro threw away a slow roller. Wilson took the opportunity to get Castro on a slider in the dirt to strike out the side.

The Bucs tacked on another pair in the eighth. With an out, Garrett Jones doubled to the track in left center. A pick off attempt that Watkins short-armed moved pinch runner Felix Pie to third, and he came in when Starling Marte's grounder to short with the infield in went off Castro's backhand stab into short left, and Marte dashed into second. He scored on Cutch's two out, two strike liner to left to make it 8-2. Bryan Morris got the call. With an out, Anthony Rizzo rolled a ball to left against a shift, followed by a walk. Morris whiffed the next pair, and it was on to ninth.

Zac Rosscup got the Bucs 1-2-3 when Bogusevich ran down Pedro's gap shot; the wind giveth and taketh away. Kyle Farnsworth climbed the bump. He got two quick outs, then the game dragged on a bit; a grounder got under Gaby for a knock, followed by a walk. Junior Lake whiffed, and the Bucs had notch #91 added to their belt.

Despite the score, it wasn't a very pretty game, with shoddy fielding, 23 strikeouts, seven walks, 22 hits and 17 stranded runners between the two teams. But hey, a win is a win, and in September they're all gems.

Francisco Liriano takes on Jake Arrieta tomorrow afternoon to close out the series.
  • From - Gerrit Cole now has gone 5+IP and allowed less than four runs in every start (19) for the third longest streak to start a career in history.
  • With 41 road wins, the Bucs have their first winning season as road warriors since 1992.
  • The Pirates have posted 29 wins in one-run games this year. That’s the most wins in one-run contests since the 1993 club also won 29 games.
  • Pittsburgh won 12 games this year scoring two or fewer runs, the most wins by the team scoring two or fewer since the 1992 Buccos won 13 times.
  • The Cards won 2-0 over Washington and the Reds lost 4-2 to the Mets, so Pittsburgh is still two behind the Redbirds but now one ahead of Cincinnati.

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