Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pirates Lose Battle of the Bullpens to Braun and Brew Crew 8-7

Wandy couldn't get off to a better start; six pitches and three very routine outs. Matt Garza was sharp, too, getting a pair of K and a Cutch at 'em ball to Carlos Gomez in center.

In the second Wandy left a fastball up, and Jonathan Lucroy ripped it into RC for a double, just over JT's glove; he wasn't positioned very deep. The next pitch was a hung curve, and Khris Davis spanked it into left to give the Brew Crew an early 1-0 lead. The Bucs used some two-out lightning to tie it. Ike Davis got his Pirate career off to a flying start by slicing a soft double the opposite way with an inside-out swing, and The Kid brought him in with a liner into center.

The Brew Crew, with a huge assist by the Bucs, flashed their own two-out chops. Jean Segura drove a ball to the base of the bullpen fence for a double. Ryan Braun hit a broken bat grounder to third. Instead of going to first, Pedro went after Segura, and he ducked the rundown tag of Neil Walker (it was ruled a fielder's choice rather than an error). With both runners going, Aramis Ramirez rolled a curveball at his shins into center to plate a run; another high heater to Lucroy was drilled into left to plate Braun and make it 3-1, all because El Toro wouldn't take the easy out at first. The Bucs went down in order.

Mark Reynolds led off the fourth with a bomb to right center, crushing a fastball down the middle. Ricky Weeks fell behind 0-2, but worked a lengthy 12-pitch walk. Wandy recovered after that, but it was now 4-1 Brewers. Fortunately, Milwaukee was in a giving mood, too.

Cutch walked, and Pedro banged a custom-tailored DP ball to Ricky Weeks, who let it under him. JT hit a two-hopper to third that A-Ram tried to backhand; he missed and the Bucs scored. Davis walked, and after a short fly to right by Walker, Clint Barmes singled home a pair and went to second on an ill-advised throw by Go-Go that would cost. Travis Snider hit for Wandy, and with the infield in singled home another pair. When the smoked cleared, it was 6-4 Bucs with Bryan Morris on the hill for the fifth.

Braun greeted him and infield single to the left side and went to second on a wild pitch, bounced off the ump. He got to third with an out after a chopper to Pedro, and another grounder brought him home. The Bucs tried to plate late again. After two were gone, JT and Ike had back-to-back knocks and The Kid walked, by Barmes worked it but was out out magic and bounced out on a 3-2 pitch.

Morris gave up a leadoff walk and another infield bleeder, but a DP in between kept the board clean. Rob Wooten survived a Jordy Mercer shot that was pulled in just short of the 399' mark, but succumbed to the two-out Buc attack when Martin singled off his foot and was chased home after Cutch doubled off the Clemente Wall, just over Braun's mitt. Tony Watson took the hill in the seventh with a 7-5 edge. Braun lined a homer off him into the bullpen to make it 7-6; it left the building quicker than Elvis. Tony survived Lucroy's two out double, his third of the night, and the Pirates were back to work.

Wooten got JT to chase a slider, and then was swapped out for Zach Duke, who K'ed Ike and got Walker on a routine fly. Mark the Shark made his appearance. He was sharp, whiffing a pair and getting a soft grounder. Jim Henderson took the hill for the Brew Crew. Starling Marte lined a single to left with two down and stole second without a throw, but Russell check-swung a tapper back to the hill.

Jason Grilli climbed the bump. He whiffed Gomez and had Segura 0-2, but the SS reached out for a ball down and away and sent a soft flare that just cleared Barmes' mitt. The next pitch was a fastball, belt high and on the inside half to Braun, and he crushed it into the bullpen to give the Brewers the lead 8-7.

Francisco Rodriguez took the ball for the Brewers. After getting Cutch on a routine bouncer, he plunked Pedro in the front foot with a slider. JT spanked the next pitch to second, and the 4-6-3 ended the game.

Another bad start for Wandy. His velocity is 89-90, which is pretty much his range, but his location is horrendous. Tonight the pen couldn't pick him up, thanks to Braun. The Brewers pen did the job, and that was the ballgame.

Marco Estrada and Gerrit Cole go at it tomorrow afternoon, as Pittsburgh works for the split.
  • Jason Grilli had two blown saves last season; he has two in six tries in 2014.
  • 1B Ike Davis sported #15 for the Bucs. His plate song, appropriately, is "Start Me Up" by the Stones. He had two hits and a walk in his Pittsburgh debut, scoring twice.
  • Jordy Mercer's ankle is improving; he was OK to pinch hit tonight (and did). 
  • Last night's game marked the first time since 2005 that the Brewers committed four errors and won a ballgame.
  • Ex-Bucs: 3B Brock Holt is getting a chance with the Red Sox. C Chris Snyder retired.

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