Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bucs Fall 5-2 In Series Finale

Not a great start; Denard Span banged Francisco Liriano's second pitch into right for a two-bagger, followed by Anthony Rendon walking on five pitches. With an out, a soft grounder moved the runners up a station, which proved big when Frankie uncorked a wild pitch and gave up a single to Ian Desmond to make it 2-0. Tyler Moore blooped a single to right to put Nats on the corners, but he escaped further damage when Kevin Frandsen's liner was nicely speared by Pedro. Doug Fister worked a clean frame, ending it with a three pitch K of Cutch, who never offered at a pitch; the third looked like a get-away day call.

Frankie worked a quiet second, again ended by a nice play by Pedro on a Span grounder. The Pirates went down without a peep.

Rendon walked on four pitches to start the third, and Liriano fell behind Jayson Werth 3-0 before coming back to get a pop out. He helped his own cause briefly by catching Rendon breaking for second and picked him off, except for that pesky interference rule, called on Ike Davis and putting Rendon on second. No prob; Frankie worked out of it by whiffing the next pair. Chris Stewart got the first Buc hit, rolling one through the right side with an out. Liriano couldn't lay down a bunt, but it was immaterial as Josh grounded out.

With one gone in the fourth, Frandsen bounced a knock into left, but Liriano made quick work of the 8-9 hitters. The Kid took a change the opposite way for a lead off single, but Fister had his way with the heart of the order.

Span opened the fifth with a single, culminating an 11 pitch at-bat. He then stole second. Frankie fell behind Rendon 3-1, gave him a fastball above the belt and watched it - and Harrison, who got no jump at all on the ball - bounce off the Trib sign in right center for a triple. Rendon came in on another wild pitch to make it 4-0; Chris Stewart isn't exactly Russ Martin behind the dish. LaRoche walked and with two gone, Tyler Moore drew another free pass, but a K ended the frame. Pedro opened the Buc half with a single and an out later, Stewart got aboard on Desmond's boot. JT hit for Frankie, and the 60% ground ball hitter rolled one to short for the inning-ending 6-4-3.

Vin Mazzaro came on in the sixth and worked a 1-2-3 inning. Josh got the Bucs on the board when he went yard to left center on a first pitch fastball, one of the few balls Fister left in middle of the plate today. The Kid followed with a knock into right. Cutch hit into a force, then Ike poked a 3-2 change into left to keep the party going. That was it for Fister; Craig Stammen took the ball and got Marte to bounce into an around-the-horn DP.

With one gone in the seventh, Werth beat out a broken bat infield knock and LaRoche singled up the middle. Harrison made a diving grab of Desmond's ball to right, but it went as a sac fly and made it 5-1. The Nats challenged it as a trap, and won; Josh sold it to the umps but not to the eye in the sky. A deep fly and stolen base put Nats at second and third. Frandsen was brushed on a 3-2 pitch to load the sacks. Vinsanity whiffed Jose Lobaton to end the music. The Pirates went down meekly in their half.

Vinnie was taking one for the team today as he came out for his third inning in the eighth. He worked a clean frame to finish his 53 pitch outing. Josh singled with one gone off Stammen and The Kid followed with a knock to right. That brought out Aaron Barrett. He nailed Cutch fishing for a slider in the dirt. Ike picked him up, lining a 2-0 fastball into center to plate Harrison and push Walker to third. That was it; Marte took a pair of strikes, then chased a slider in the dirt to end the frame.

Bryon Morris came in for the ninth, and after a leadoff knock got a DP and flyout to end the frame. Rafael Soriano closed with a clean ninth, and the Bucco streak came to an end.

Frankie had control issues, not helped in the least by the byzantine strike zone of Tim Timmons. But he's a guy that has to work ahead in counts and couldn't do it today. The Bucs didn't help behind either, leaving a couple of plays on the field and failing to deliver a clutch hit. Fister works off an 88 MPH heater, but rarely does it drift into the middle of the plate and the Pirates didn't square up very often against him.  So it's adieu to Pittsburgh, and off on a 10 game road trip to New York, LA and San Diego.

Brandon Cumpton will go tomorrow afternoon at NY vs the Mets' Jacob deGrom.

  • Today's attendance of 38,047 was the 3rd sellout of the season.
  • Josh Beckett of the Dodgers tossed a no-hitter against the Phils today. The Bucs will gace him Friday at LA.

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