With two down in the second, Pedro fell behind 0-2, took a ball, fouled off a couple more and then found one he liked and lost it the right field seats to knot the score. LA came right back; a single and sac bunt that became another hit was followed with a grounder up the middle to plate a run. A double steal put Dodgers at second and third, but Cole whiffed Ethier on a change up to stop the bleeding.
Both sides went down in order in the third. Ike opened the fourth with a single, but was doubled up after a Russ Martin liner to second to clear the bases. Cole worked another 1-2-3 frame. The Bucs tied it in the fifth on a Clint Barmes single, a Cole sac bunt and a two-out knock by Josh Harrison. Pittsburgh went ahead in the sixth on a Russ homer that traveled 435'; the Blue came back with a Puig double and Hanley Ramirez single to make it 3-3.
Brandon League took the hill in the seventh. Starling Marte reached on an error, but was erased stealing on a review play; the ball had clearly beat him to the bag. Too bad; Barmes followed with a single. He was bunted to second. That was big; Josh singled off 2B Dee Gordon's mitt and Barmes scored with Josh taking second on the throw home; Barmes was in easily, but Ethier missed the cutoff man.
The Kid singled him home, and the Bucs had some breathing room. Cutch drew a four pitch walk to bring up Ike, and LA went to the lefty Paul Maholm, another Bucco starter turned reliever, and that brought Gaby up to pinch hit. His second pitch was a change up that Sanchez belted into left, scoring Walker. Russ was intentionally walked to load the bases for Pedro. He rolled over on a backdoor curve and ended the inning with a grounder to second, but the Pirates were up 6-3. Five straight batters reached with two outs; it would have been nice to reach six.
With one gone, Cole did what he didn't want to do; he lost pinch hitter Chone Figgins on a 3-2 pitch with the top of order waiting. Clint didn't like it and brought in Tony Watson, even though Gerrit was at just 88 pitches. Watson's first pitch to Gordon was a sinker rolled to second, and the 4-6-3 DP calmed the waters.
Chris Perez came on in the eighth, and retired the first two batters before plunking pinch hitter Travis Snider. He got Josh on a grounder to end the frame. Mark the Shark took the ball to face LA's 2-3-4 hitters. A weak tapper and two whiffs later, it was onto the final frame.
Jamey Wright climbed the hill in the ninth. Walker flew out to the track in left, Cutch to the wall at the 395' mark in center, and Gaby went down on a meek grounder. Jason Grilli got back on the closer bike. After retiring Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp, Justin Turner banged a ground rule double to keep LA on life support. The plug was pulled as Scott Van Slyke went down on a fly to right, and the Buccos had a win in a place where Pittsburgh wins are hard to come by. Cole notched his fifth win and Grilli earned his sixth save.
The Pirates played pretty sound ball tonight unlike the little league performance in New York. Five players scored; five had RBI. Every starter, except oddly enough Cutch, had a hit. And the fielding was clean. But give big props to Clint Barmes, who plated twice, Josh Harrison who chipped in with a pair of two-out runs chased home and an almost flawless performance from the pen. Now to see if they can carry on against some big arms the next three games...
Francisco Liriano takes on Josh Beckett tomorrow night.
- Clint Barmes had four straight hits and went 3-for-4 tonight, flying out foul to the RF corner in his final at-bat on a nice running grab by Puig. His average is now up to .255.
- Neil Walker extended his hitting streak to ten games.