After an out in the second, Todd Frazier got the game's first hit when he softly dropped a change up almost in the dirt into right, ending up with a double. Wandy retired the 7-8 hitters routinely to strand him there. The Bucs went down without a peep.
Zack Cozart drew a two out walk, but it didn't hurt as Votto hot a fly the opposite way to the left field corner that Marte corralled on the track. the Bucs hit three grounders, and it was on to the fourth. After Marte ran down a long shot by Brandon Phillips in left center, Jay Bruce followed by knocking one over the Xfinity sign in right center, and the Reds took an early 1-0 lead in the fourth. Pittsburgh hit a couple of liners, but Cutch's was an at 'em ball to Bruce in right center and Snider's slicer was again snagged by Phillips, around a Jones' pop out.
Ryan Hanigan, hitting .171, fell behind 0-2, but coaxed a walk from Rodriguez to open the fifth. Cueto couldn't move him up, but Wandy got him off the hook by hitting Shin-Soo Choo (who leads the league with 15 HBP) on a 1-2 pitch. A Cozart fly to center moved Hanigan to third, but Wandy got Votto to sky out to left center to escape the mild jam. Inge got the Bucs first hit on a lob to left when he got a reprieve on a pitch that should have struck him out. Clint Barmes chopped the next pitch into an around the horn DP to quickly cap the frame.
Lead off hitter Phillips turned on a curve, tight and at the knees, and roped it just far enough to drop a few feet inside the left field foul pole into the first row of seats to give the Reds a 2-0 bulge after 5-1/2 innings. The Bucs again went down in order, with Votto spearing a Walker liner behind first base with two down to take away a double.
Hanigan led off the seventh with a knock. Cueto again failed to move him up, and with two outs Cozart battled Rodriguez. Wandy got him to roll over, but he got enough of the ball to bang it through the shortstop hole. Facing his last batter, Wandy was smoked by Votto, but his liner was right at Walker, and another zero went on the board. Rodriguez went seven, giving up a pair on five hits and three walks, with five K after 103 pitches. Good start, but the Buc bats continue their slumber. The heart of the order went down quietly, and Mike Zagurski took the bump.
The Z Man hit Phillips, who stole second. He went to third when Jay, who was facing a shift to the right, poked a pitch away through the left side to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored Phillips and moved Jay to second. An out later, Derrick Robinson hit a seeing eye single through the left side to bring home Jay. Hanigan walked and Cueto bunted the runners up, but Zagurski finally ended the frame with a grounder to Walker from Choo. Four runs looks pretty much beyond the Bucs' pay grade about now, and they went down meekly again 1-2-3.
Ya had to feel it for Zagurski in the ninth when he was left to sink or swim. He had the bases loaded with two outs, and Robinson fouled off pitch after pitch, finally drawing a 11 pitch walk to force in a run on Z Man's 57th pitch; his season high had been 34 at Indy. No defending the fact that he walked four guys and hit a batter, but he didn't have much help. He tossed three wild pitches; two hit the dirt behind the plate and Mike McKenry should have blocked them; the other was a high fastball that ticked off The Fort's glove. All three hits were bouncers through the SS hole. We figure the baseball gods used him to regress the bullpen stats, and the ERA, opposing BA, BABIP and strand rates sure made a move toward the norm tonight. Bryan Morris came on and walked in another run before getting a K.
Sam LeCure came on to pitch the ninth; sitting in the dugout the last two innings was like a rain delay for Cueto, and he was at 103 pitches. He put the Bucs away easily.
Well, one hit ain't gonna win too many games, and the Bucs generally sleepwalk the first game of a series anyway. Hopefully, the FO will order a truckload of bats for the rest of the set.
Fransisco Liriano and Mike Leake take the hill tomorrow night.
- Pedro was scratched an hour or so before the game with lingering pain from his wisdom teeth being pulled. Brandon Inge took his spot.
- The Bucs are 6-12 in the opening game of a series. To boot, they've been shut out through nine innings in three of the last four games, and that's not all because of the pitching.
- Tonight's attendance at PNC Park was 35,730 as they continue to draw well on weekends.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review reports that Scott Boras is open to talking a multi-year deal for Pedro in Pittsburgh.
- To clear a space for Chase d'Arnaud to return to Indy and the 40-man roster from the DL, the Bucs moved Charlie Morton from the 15 to the 60-day DL. It's a temporary fix (Morton is scheduled to return after two more starts at Indy) and has no effect on the righty's rehab time, since he's been out longer than 60 days. But it buys the FO a little more time to decide.
- Say a prayer for the Card faithful. A powerful storm collapsed a tent outside a bar filled with post-game St. Louis fans, killing one with five critically injured and 17 sent to the hospital.