Friday, May 2, 2014

Bucs Blow 4-0 lead, Drop 6-5 Decision In Ten Innings

The Bucs looked they were starting where they left off in the second game, delayed by 45 minutes due to rain. They loaded the bases in the first with an out. Gaby made Chris Tillman work; but popped up his 14th pitch to him.  It may have had a silver lining, tho, as Tillman followed with walks to The Kid and Starling Marte, and it was 2-0. Buck Showalter must be old school; he let Tillman twist for 49 pitches in the frame.

The game went quietly on for a bit. The Bucs stranded a pair in the third; the Orioles did the same against Brandon Cumpton in the fourth. Pittsburgh tacked on a two-out run in the fifth when Gaby tripled home Cutch, finally ending Tillman's night at 112 pitches.

The Bucs kept chipping away, again turning Oriole control problems into runs. Clint Barmes was hit with a pitch by Evan Meek and Travis Snider walked. An out later, Ike Davis dropped an excuse-me flare barely onto the outfield grass in left to plate Barmes and make it 4-0.

The Birds put up a four-spot in their half on a couple of balls that just missed being snagged. Nick Markakis flared one to left, and Marte made a strong run on a ball that was both dying and slicing away from him, but his dive left him just short of a great grab. Two soft rollers later, a mistake to Adam Jones was pounded to right center. Travis Snider made a run with his back turned and the ball hit him over the shoulder in the glove, but wouldn't stick and fell for an RBI double; it could just as easily been ruled an error.

Matt Weiters went the opposite way for a knock, and Steve Pierce did the same, putting O's at second and third when Pierce just beat Snider's throw into second. Bryon Morris came on and gave up a single to left to JJ Hardy, and the game was tied; Pierce again was fortunate at the play at the plate. Marte's throw beat him, but was up the line and Chris Stewart couldn't corral it for the tag, allowing the tying run.

Lefty John Patton was on the hill, coming in last inning to retire Pedro. Gaby greeted him with a double, and to the grumbles of the fans, The Kid was up to bunt. This one worked out well, tho, as he killed the ball beautifully and beat out a hit to put gold on the corners. Marte brought in Gaby by lining a single to center off new pitcher Ryan Webb. Barmes tried to bunt, failed, and then hit a fly to right that moved the guys up a station. But it's the Pirates; Stewart and Snider both K'ed, so no insurance to back up the 5-4 lead.  And some insurance would have been nice after Nick  Markakis belted his second homer of the day to tie in in the Baltimore half.

Brian Matusz got two outs on two pitches, then lost Pedro, gave up a double to Gaby and intentionally walked Neil Walker. Darren O'Day came in to face Marte, and the submariner got him to pop up to short right center; the Pirates have stranded 14 runners so far tonight. It was the Birds turn in their half; with two down, Tony Watson gave up a walk, a flare to right and a hit batter to bring up Markakis. He got ahead of him 0-2, hung a couple off speed pitches that were fortunately fouled off, and K'ed him. But Watson threw over 30 pitches in the inning; looks like he'll be off for the Toronto opener, at this point later tonight.

O'Day had no trouble with Barmes, Stewart and Snider; Justin Wilson took the mound and tossed a clean ninth. In the tenth, O'Day walked Cutch with an out, and the sidewinder was replaced by closer Tommy Hunter. No prob for him; he K'ed Pedro and got the hot Gaby on a broken bat roller to third. Stolmy Pimentel took the ball; his second pitch was a high heater to Weiter, and he tucked it inside the RF flag pole to give Baltimore the walk-off win.

The difference between the 2013 Bucs and 2014 edition? Snider makes the catch and it's an easy win. This year, they just can't make the play, in the field or the plate. The Pirates had 20 hits, but stranded 28 runners in the two games. It's back home to face Toronto, where Gerrit Cole and Brandon Morrow match up.
  • Tonight was the fifth career four-hit game for Gaby Sanchez, his first as a Buc.
  • Ike Davis picked up his first RBI since hitting a grand slam on April 21st.
  • Travis Snider earned the golden sombrero tonight, whiffing four times. Instead of Gregory Polanco, might it not be time for Andrew Lambo?
  • This is the first time Brandon Cumpton has allowed more than three runs in a start.

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