Monday, April 21, 2014

Bucs Rally Past Reds 6-5

Well, that was ugly. Francisco Liriano drilled Billy Hamilton to open the game. Joey Votto then hit a tapper that didn't make it to mound; Pittsburgh got the out but went to sleep on the speedy Hamilton, and he raced to third. Brandon Phillips hit one to the hot corner; Pedro came home, Russ Martin couldn't play the short hop on what would have been a close play at the dish, and it was 1-0. The Bucs tried for some two-out lightning when Cutch walked and Pedro beat out an infield knock, but The Kid lined out to right with the only hard hit ball of the inning for either club.

Devin Mesoraco dropped a flare into left to open the second with a single for the Reds' only damage; he now has a 10 game hitting streak. Ike started the Bucco half with a single lined the opposite way, but nothing came of it, either, thanks to a Jose Tabata DP.

With an out in the third, Phillips doubled of the wall in center and scored when Todd Frazier slammed the next pitch, a change up that stayed in the middle of the plate, to The Notch for another two bagger to make it 2-0. Starling Marte singled with an out, but was picked off and that frame ended harmlessly, too.

Mesoraco dropped a ball into short left to begin the fourth, but was erased on a bang-bang caught stealing that the Reds didn't challenge (they had a good shot at the call being overturned), and they went down with a zero. Cutch blooped a single to left to kick off the Bucco half, and Pedro doubled to right to put Bucs at second and third. Neil Walker was plunked to juice the sacks. The first pitch to Ike was a cutter that stayed under the hands, and Davis lifted it over the Clemente Wall to put Pittsburgh up in a hurry 4-2. It went 392' and amazingly enough was a broken bat blast.

Frankie tossed the first clean frame of the game in the fifth. Cutch singled with two down, but a Pedro liner to center ended the frame. Frazier walked to open the sixth, but was erased 4-5-3; Jay Bruce hit into a shift,
Pedro made the turn at second like he does it every day, and the Reds finished with a goose egg. Walker singled to start it up, but he never got to second.

The Bucs can't keep Mesoraco off the sacks; Barmes muffed his grounder to put him aboard. Zack Cozart had a pesky at bat, fouling off six pitches and running up Liriano's count before flying out. Leake helped his own cause with a pop single just over Walker into short right to put Reds on the corners, and it cost as Hamilton cashed in a run with a sac fly to make 4-3 going into the stretch. Liriano led off, so it looks like he'll get to start the eighth as the Bucs went down 1-2-3.

Phillips singled to open the frame. Frazier did a good job of hitting, taking a borderline 3-2 slider down and away and sending it up the middle for a single to put Redlegs at the corners. Hurdle's gamble of getting another inning out of Frankie didn't work; he left after 101 pitches for Justin Wilson. He got ahead of Bruce 0-2 and then laid a heater right down the middle; Bruce ripped it for an opposite field double to tie the game and put Reds at second and third.

An intention walk loaded the sacks. Mesoraco can't be stopped today; he singled in a run, though Marte cut down the trail runner at the plate. It was challenged but upheld, leaving Reds at second and third with an out. After a pop out, Chris Heisey batted and kept fouling pitches off, though finally on the tenth offering Wilson got him on a fly to center. But it's 5-4 bad guys with six outs remaining.

Manny Parra climbed the bump. Cutch drilled his second pitch over the fence in right center, and it's a tie game. Kinda makes you wonder why Bryan Price started with a lefty first; now the Bucs are bringing up Pedro, Walker and Ike. After an out, The Kid singled. The Reds waved in JJ Hoover to face JT. That brought Travis Snider out of the dugout with a stick, and he singled to left. Gaby batted for Barmes and walked on five pitches to load the bases for a gimpy Jordy Mercer, who went down swinging at high heat.

Kinda surprisingly, Clint brought in Jared Hughes for the ninth with the top of the order up, saving the Shark. Snider and Mercer stayed in the game. With two outs, Phillips rolled an 0-2 sinker out of the strike zone into left and Frazier knocked one up the middle to put Reds on the corners. Bruce roped one to center, but Cutch was there to hold off Cincinnati.

Hoover stayed on, and after a line out by Marte lost Martin on four pitches. JJ wanted no parts of Cutch. After falling behind 3-0 he sent a heater down the middle; fortunately for him, Cutch was taking and walked on the next pitch. Pedro popped out to third on a 3-2 heater tight and at the knees. The Kid fell behind 0-2, and three pitches later fought off a curve to send a short, soft liner that Phillips turned himself around on. Bruce played it quickly, and his throw to home had Martin DOA, but the ball took a big hop and bounced over the squatting Mesoraco's shoulder to allow the Bucs to take home a 6-5 win.

The Bucs got in a jam with a short pen, and that's because Clint twice rolled the dice and came up snake eyes, pulling Cole yesterday and keeping Frankie in today. The Bucs haven't been helping themselves much in the field, and with every game a grind, that hurts. But the Reds made a bad decision matching Parro and Cutch, and they looked decidedly little league on the winning run, so it evens out sometimes.

Johnny Cueto meets Edinson Volquez tomorrow night.

  • Cutch being Cutch - he was on base all five times he batted tonight, with two walks, two singles and a homer.
  • Ike Davis has two home runs this year. Both are grand slams off the Reds - Mike Leake tonight and JJ Hoover while with the Mets. Elias Sports came up with this: Ike become the third player to hit grand slams vs one team for two different teams in the same season, along with Ray Boone and Mike Piazza. Oh, and he was also the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in April.
  • Bucco reliever Mark Melancon has the longest current streak of innings pitched without allowing a home run (73 IP) among all MLB pitchers. He surrendered his only home run last season on April 14th, a solo shot to Cincinnati’s Joey Votto at PNC Park.
  • Jason Grilli and Tony Watson weren't available because of pitch count over the past two games.
 Not tonight, boys.

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