Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mark the Shark Gets Harpooned As Bucs Go Down 4-3

Travis Snider opened the game with a walk off Yovani Gallardo; the following three Bucs couldn't move him off first. Ricky Weeks greeted Wandy with a double and Jean Segura followed with a bunt single. But no sweat; Rodriguez got a comebacker, looked the lead runner back and still got a 1-6-3 DP. Another grounder finished the frame.

Both clubs went down in order in the second. Gallardo made it nine in a row in the third; Wandy's Achille's Heel, the longball, bit him when Weeks took a two out, 2-1 heater yard. Segura walked after that and was awarded second on a balk, but Rodriguez got Ryan Braun.

Cutch snapped Gallardo's string of retired batters at 10 when he reached via a one-out error in the fourth, followed by a Pedro walk, but Yovani worked out of it with a couple of grounders. It was a clean frame for Wandy.

JT singled up the middle to open the fifth and jogged home after Tony Sanchez's 0-2 homer to right center off a fat slider gave the Pirates the lead. Wandy got into the act, rolling another ball into center off SS Segura's mitt. The Kid followed with knock an out later, but Gallardo again used a pair of grounders to end the inning. The lead didn't last long; Martin Maldonado pounded a center-cut, 88 MPH two seamer over the fence to tie the game; that's nine homers in 25 innings for Wandy. Rodriguez did strike out the side after the blast.

And the Bucs regained the lead just like that; Gaby belted a first pitch fastball over the wall in the sixth for a 3-2 edge. Wandy was done after five innings and 73 pitches, a better than expected return from his knee injury. Justin Wilson took the bump and worked a 1-2-3 frame, using just eight pitches.

Gallardo was at 100+ pitches, but came out for the seventh. He whiffed Wilson and then was pulled for Zack Duke; the Reds apparently though a righty was going to hit for the pitcher. The Pirates countered with Starling Marte for Snider. The swap was no biggie to the Zackster, who threw Marte four curve balls to sit him down, and then got Walker on a roller. Marte stayed in the game and JT shuffled to right. Wilson stayed hot; he K'ed the side. Justin tossed 21 pitches; 17 were strikes over his two innings.

Tyler Thornburg got waved in for the eighth and walked Cutch, who stole second. Pedro walked, too, never seeing a fastball. He fell behind Gaby 3-1, fed him a fastball down the middle and Sanchez drilled it to third, where Reynolds made a nice stab of the bullet to start an around-the-horn DP. Rob Wooten took the ball to face Jordy, and got him swinging at a low-and-away offering, the kind he'll need to quit chasing if he's to have a future at the plate. Tony Watson came in, and ran the Pirate pitching K streak to six before Weeks singled up the middle. A comebacker ended the frame.

JT opened the ninth with an infield single off Wooten. Tony Sanchez got the bunt sign, but popped out in the effort; this might be the worst-sacrificing team this side of tee-ball. Pinch hitter Ike Davis made it a moot point with a walk, and was replaced by Josh Harrison. Marte made all the wheel spinning academic by bouncing into a 6-4-3 DP.

Mark the Shark came on to face the 4-5-6 hitters for Milwaukee. Braun opened with a knock and Lucroy walked. So did Reynolds. Khris Davis singled, two runs scored, and so much for the Bucco lead as today it was the Brew Crew that had the ninth inning mojo working. For Melancon, it ended a streak of four saves and was his second blown in seven tries. He wanted the usually free-wheeling Brew Crew to chase; they didn't, and he didn't adjust.

 Edinson Volquez faces David Phelps tomorrow night as the Pirates visit the Yankees.

  • The Pirate streak of three series wins ended today.
  • The league announced today that Bob Nutting will serve on the committee that will select the game's next commissioner. 

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