Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bucs Hang On Against Redbirds 4-3

It was 1-2-3 for Edinson Volquez in the first, with a couple of K. Lance Lynn got the Bucs in order, too, on three grounders.

Allen Craig opened the second with a single to left, and Matt Adams followed with a long at-bat that ended in a walk. Mark Ellis bounced on up the middle, and it was 1-0. Peter Bourjos was plunked to load the bases, and the frame was quickly threatening to turn sin ugly. Tony Cruz helped the cause by banging into a DP, but Edinson uncorked a wild pitch with the Lynn up to make it 3-0. Lynn walked, but Volquez got Matt Carpenter to fly out and end a miserable frame.

The Bucs made some noise when Ike Davis doubled with two down and Tony Sanchez beat out a dribbler to third. Lynn was careful to Jordy Mercer and walked him on a 3-2 chaser. But all three of those ducks remained on the pond; Clint let Volquez bat, and he grounded out to second.

Volquez was steadier in the third, tho he issued a two out free pass - his third, to go with a HBP and wild pitch - and he hung Matt Adams a fat 0-2 curve that he clobbered. The umps called it foul but asked for a second opinion from NY; they agreed that it was just a loud foul. Mercer then made the reprieve stand up by retiring Adams on a dandy play by running down a foul, tucking it away with a basket catch and tumbling into the LF boxes. JT and Josh Harrison banged back-to-back singles to kickstart the Bucco third. The Kid tapped into a force to put gold on the corners, but Pedro popped out and Starling Marte grounded out to third. That's five stranded in the last two frames.

Volquez worked a clean fourth. Ike opened with a flare single to left, and Tony Sanchez took one for the team off his elbow pad. Mercer smacked a knock to left, and the bases were juiced for Volquez again. He hit another bleeder, good for a run and leaving runners at second and third. Tabata's roller plated another tally. Harrison bounced a ball off Lynn's foot and it became an infield single to tie the score. Walker kept the party going with a soft liner to left. Pedro punched a ball up the middle and it was 4-3 Buccos.

Gaby grabbed a bat for Marte; Starling had gimped around after his last at-bat and the speculation is that he has a tight back (later confirmed). Sanchez swung through a 3-2 heater, then went to right; JT went to center and Josh to left; it's Gaby's first pro appearance in the pasture. Interesting trio out there. Bet the FO wishes it had a do-over of that Brent Morel call-up.

The first two Cards went down in the fifth before Jhonny Peralta singled and Matt Holliday followed suit. Craig walked, barely holding back on a 3-2 curve. That was it for Edinson; Jared Hughes answered the hotline call. Good call; he got Adams on a first-pitch 4-3 bouncer. Ike walked to start the fifth, but Lynn blew high heaters past both Tony Sanchez and Mercer while Hughes tapped out.

Hughes did what he does in the sixth, getting three ground outs. Craig had a workout in the Bucco half, diving to rob JT of extra bases, then making an over the shoulder running grab on Harrison's shot. Walker joined the high heat chasers, K'ing to end the frame.

Justin Wilson entered the game in the seventh. Matt Carpenter dumped a single with an out and Peralta walked on a 3-2 slider that could have gone either way. He lost strike three on Holliday when Tony Sanchez carried the ball out of tzone, but came back to blister a heater past him. That brought in Bryan Morris to get the righty matchup against Craig, and he retired him on a weak chopper. Kevin Siegrist took the bump for the Redbirds. Gaby singled with an out and stole second with two gone, but was stranded.

Clint Barmes came in to play short, with Jordy moving to right, sheesh, as Tony Watson came on in the eighth. Adams started things with an opposite field double; Harrison froze and the ball carried over his head. But two whiffs and grounder later, he remained at second. Seth Maness took the ball, and Bournjos saved his bacon by crashing into the Infiniti sign in center to rob Mercer of two bases, and it was big went Clint Barmes followed with a single. JT ended any threat tho, bouncing back to the hill for an easy DP.

It was time for some dancin' with Melancon, who again faces the brunt of the order, with a pinch hitter and the top of the lineup due. Daniel Descalso singled on a grounder to right (played OK by Mercer), but followed with a force and a whiff. To make it exciting, The Shark grazed Holliday's gut to put the tying run at second and bring up Craig, who was 3-for-3 lifetime against Melancon. The streak ended as MM got him to chase a pair of cutters for the K and notch the save of Jared Hughes' win.

Lotta action for a game that was scoreless after the fourth; the two teams combined to strand 19 runners. But the Bucs kept rollin' on this homestand and will get to show their stuff on ESPN tomorrow night.

Shelby Miller and Charlie Morton share the spotlight during the Sunday Night Baseball match as the Bucs look for the sweep.

  • With the win, the Pirates have cinched their third straight series victory. Pittsburgh is starting to make up some ground, sitting 6-1/2 behind the Brewers and only 1-1/2 games behind the Cards for second.
  • Gaby and Jordy both made their MLB debuts in the outfield tonight. Neither got a chance in the field.
  • Cutch was on the bench tonight (his foot was sore after banging a foul off it yesterday), and none of Indy's outfielders sat, so we assume he and Travis Snider, back from suspension, will be ready for action tomorrow. No word on Marte's injury yet. (EDIT - the Bucs are calling up Jaff Decker tomorrow, so maybe the boys are a little more beat up than we thought.)
  • The fireworks crowd was 34,914.
  • Pirate starters are still stuck on just three wins after 36 games.

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