Starling Marte was plunked on the elbow pad and stole second, then Ike walked to open the second, but the bottom of the Buc order couldn't cash them in as Jordy Mercer and Tony Sanchez K'ed on 89 MPH fastballs down the middle. Volquez tossed a clean frame. Cutch walked and stole second with two down in the third, but Pedro K'ed looking. Zoilo Almonte crushed a homer to right on the first pitch, a high heater, from Volquez to make it 3-0 after three.
In the fourth, the Pirates ran like sugar-infused little leaguers. Marte opened with a single he flicked up the middle, and was gunned down on a strike 'em out, throw 'em DP with Ike up. Gaby followed with a double, and to add insult to injury, was then thrown out at home by a mile when Mercer lined a single to right that Alfonso Siriano fielded on one hop. He didn't have a chance at scoring from when the ball left the bat though Nick Leyva waved him forward. Volquez was unfazed by the antics and tossed a 1-2-3 frame.
Tony Sanchez and JT opened the fifth with back-to-back knocks. The happy feet continued; Sanchez was almost picked off second, saved only by a successful challenge. Didn't help - The Kid was called out on a pitch that plate ump Bob Davidson totally missed, Cutch hit a liner right at CF'er Brett Gardner, and Pedro bounced out hard to first. Edinson ran his streak to nine Yankees retired in a row in the NY half.
Dellin Betances, the leading AL king for relief K's, took over in the sixth. Marte lined his first pitch a few feet inside the LF foul pole to make it 3-1, then Betances struck out the side - Ike looking at a curve, Gaby fishing at everything (he never saw anything near a strike) and Jordy chasing shoulder-high heat. Gardner didn't let the Bucs party for too long as he homered to make it 4-1, yanking one far enough to right to catch the stands.
Tony Sanchez started the seventh by lining one off the wall in RC; Gardner played it perfectly and threw a strike to second to get him, although it took a review to verify an out call. Soriano added to the Yankees HR Derby total by drilling another ball out of the yard. Jared Hughes came on to finish the frame.
Adam Warren tossed a quiet eighth. Vinsanity got the call for Pittsburgh and gave up a walk, homer (another cheapie down the RF line to Brian McCann) and double before escaping; it was now 7-1. Matt Daley threw seven pitches in the ninth; it was enough to put the Pirates away for the day.
Hey, the Yanks know how to use their park, but going long five times has as much to do with Buc pitching as Bomber hitting, even if PNC Park would have arguably held four of the blasts. The Pirates had the same field to play on, and gap-to-gap hitting doesn't cut it here. They had a chance to be competitive early; between running the bases like they were playing in the schoolyard and stranding runners, they couldn't.
Charlie Morton takes on Hiroki Kuroda in the 1:05 lidlifter of a twin bill tomorrow. Gerrit Cole and Vidal Nuno match up in the second game.
- Starling Marte had stolen 12 consecutive bases before being thrown out in the fourth.
- Zoilo Almonte, who hit his second big-league homer today, was a late addition to the lineup, replacing a sick Jacoby Ellsbury.
- Alfonso Siriano's 127 hits are the most by any player against the Bucs. Alfonso is the only MLB player with 1,000 hits, 500 RBI, 500 runs, 100 homers and 100 stolen bases in each league.
- Injury update: Russ Martin took some BP today and Jason Grilli threw another simulated game at Yankee Stadium, so they at least seem to be well on the road to recovery.