After that, it was missed opportunities by both clubs. A Travis Snider DP ended the Bucs second and a so-close twin killing hit into by Cutch with the bases loaded in the third on a sharply hit at 'em ball to short short circuited Pittsburgh. Cole stranded eight Cards through the fifth, thanks to a reversed call, a great grab by Cutch and a nice pick of a hot shot by Ike Davis.
Cutch doubled with an out in the sixth and stayed there as Pat Neshek came on to finish up the frame for Miller with two gone, striking out Russ Martin. Chris Stewart came on for him, and it wouldn't be a shocker to see Tony Sanchez back up soon as Martin is clearly not 100% physically. Cole worked his first clean frame.
Lefty Kevin Siegrist took the ball for St. Louis in the seventh and tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Cole worked his last frame and put up another goose egg.
Carlos Martinez took the ball in the eighth. Starling Marte pinch hit and got plunked to open the Bucco at-bats. JT bunted a pair of pitches foul, but came through by punching a curve into right, chasing Marte to third. Neil Walker tapped back to the mound; Marte was caught in a rundown and erased. Bad situational hitting; bad base running; Tabata had to stay at second.
To even up, Martinez then unloaded a wild pitch, moving the runners along. Cutch drew a semi-intentional walk with first open. Pedro K'ed looking on four pitches; Chris Stewart went down on a dubious check swing call by the plate ump. Martinez got ahead of both with 100 MPH heat and got the third strike on hooks. That's twice the Bucs loaded the sacks with one out and came away empty.
Bryan Morris got the call. Yadier Molina ended a long at-bat with a single to left, quickly erased by Allen Craig's around-the-horn DP. Good thing too, as Jhonny Peralta followed with a single, but no damage was done. Trevor Rosenthal came in looking for the save, and no trouble there; he struck out the side. Cole pitched a typically gutsy game, getting stronger as the contest went on, but a first inning run did him in.
It's frustrating to see Hurdle try to work with so many guys that are platoon material; it gives the opposing manager all the leverage in the later innings. Beside match-up dilemmas, the Bucs are out of left handed bats to use in the final frames when a righty starts. The team has gone a long way towards building a lineup, yet still has miles to go.
Francisco Liriano tales on Tyler Lyons tomorrow.
- Russell Martin was removed from the game with tightness in his left hamstring. He will be treated and re-evaluated.
- Jason Grilli was put on the DL and a bit of low comedy ensued; a post on that after the game. The main upshot was that the Buc bullpen was an arm short.
- Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 15 games tonight.