Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reds Keep the Runs Comin' In 7-5 Win

Well, Mike Leake doesn't mind the cold; he struck out the side to open the game. Gerrit Cole wasn't as sharp, but retired the Reds while giving up a Joey Votto single.

Pedro opened with a walk and stole second on a ball in the dirt. Gaby cashed him in with a two-out single to left. Cole was having trouble finding the strike zone, and walked Roger Bernadina with an out. He swiped second, and Devin Mesoraco dropped a ball softly into right to put Reds on the corners. Cole worked out of the jam quickly, tho, when Zack Cozart banged the next pitch to Pedro for an around-the-horn DP.

The third was another easy frame for Leake. The Pirates have been pretty free swinging so far, and he has six K thanks to their impatience. Then Leake added insult to injury by doubling to left to lead off the Reds half. He was bunted to third and he trotted home after a Joey Votto liner into center to tie the game. Brandon Phillips followed with a grounder through the left side, Votto stopping at second. But Cole soldiered through, getting Jay Bruce to bang into a 4-6-3 to stop the bleeding.

Cutch opened the fourth by rolling a single into left, and Pedro singled to right to put Bucs on the corners. Martin rolled over a slider down and away back to Leake, who threw it away to allow Cutch to score and leave Pirates on the corners. Walker hit one to first; Pedro was off on contact and out at home. Gaby and Jordy both lined out, and it was 2-1. Two seeing eye balls go for hits; two liners for outs. Cole needed just six tosses to get through the inning.

The Bucs went down quickly in the fifth, with Marte whiffing for the third time. After striking out the first two batters, Cole gave Heisey an 0-2 fastball down the middle that he bounced into left and then stole second. Votto fouled off a couple of tough pitches and got the call on a couple on the edge to walk. Cole escaped again when Phillips lined out to Snider.

Pittsburgh went down 1-2-3 in the sixth; that's nine in a row for Leake. It's telling to watch Joey Votto's strike zone and then Pedro's, who was called out on strikes during the frame. Big difference, even with the same ump. Bruce started the frame with a 3-2 walk. He stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. It didn't matter much; Todd Frazier drilled a slider that caught too much plate over the wall in right center to make it 3-2 Reds. Mesoraco singled with an out; the slider just isn't working this frame. Not much is; Leake homered with two gone, and it was 5-2.

Walker singled to start the seventh and went to third on Gaby's double to left. Mercer cranked a fly to the track in center, plenty deep enough to plate The Kid and move Gaby up a station. Travis Ishikawa stepped in for Cole, and looked at strike three. Marte broke his K streak - how else - by getting plunked with an 0-2 pitch. After struggling this inning and hitting the 110 pitch mark, Bryan Price yanked Leake. Manny Parra got the ball and barely took care of pinch hitter Jose Tabata, who lined out, to keep it 5-3.

Justin Wilson climbed the bump. Votto bled a ball to short and beat it out for an infield knock. With Votto on second and two down, one on a great grab by Marte, Frazier was intentionally walked to get to lefty Bernadina. He loaded the bases with an infield single on a slow roller to second. Jeanmar Gomez came on to face Mesoraco, who flared a 1-2 slider into left to bring home a pair and make it 7-3.

Cutch walked against Parra to open the eighth, but Pedro rolled over on a curve and banged into a 3-6-1 DP. The Bucs challenged the call at first, and it was reversed; Parra's foot never made contact with the bag. It helped the cause; Walker banged a home run - batting righty - with two gone to make it 7-5. Billy Hamilton led off with a single, and the burner was caught stealing, the first runner Russ has nailed this year. It was on time, too, as Gomez gave up back-to-back two out singles before closing out the frame.

Jonathan Broxton came on looking for the save. he had a rough start when mercer led off with a double. Two outs later, JT walked to bring up Cutch. After a long at bat with a lot of breaking balls, Cutch finally got his heater. But he got under it and popped it into short center and into Phillip's glove to end the match.

Pitching is the coin of the realm, and the Bucs didn't have it tonight. In the last eight games, the staff has allowed 42 runs, and it's a credit to the attack that they've won three. Francisco Liriano gets the nod tomorrow afternoon against Johnny Cueto.

  • This was the first time Gerrit Cole has allowed more than four runs in a game, and the first time he gave up a pair of homers.
  • Neil Walker's RH homer was his fifth from that side in 548 PA.
  • The Pirates have struck out 23 times against Red pitching in the first two games of the set.
  • Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon were out of action in this contest except for emergency use after pitching in the suspended game, but Tony Watson, who threw just seven pitches, is available. The closer, if needed, will be determined by the situation. Jordy Mercer is the only position change from yesterday's lineup.
  • Opposing base runners are 13-for-15 stealing bases v the Pirates this year.
  • The weather is bad all around. The Pirate minor leagues had three of their games rained out.

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