Monday, June 23, 2014

Bucs Cruise Behind Volquez 8-1

With an out in the first, Starling Marte turned to bunt; the pitch was a little up and in and he got whacked in the shoulder. After being checked out by the bench, he jogged to first and stole second. Cutch singled up the middle, but Starling backtracked initially and only got to third. Cutch stole second with Ike up, and his bouncer to second brought home Marte and moved up Cutch. Russ hit one that Ray hurler Alex Cobb fielded; he threw the ball way, ruled a single and error and making it 2-0.

Desmond Jennings opened with a single, went to second on a ground out and plated on James Loney's two out roller through the left side to make it 2-1.

The Bucs got their own two-out single by Jordy in the second, but he died at first. Tampa got back-to-back one out knocks in their half on a liner and bunt, but Ryan Hanigan banged one to Pedro for an inning ending around-the-horn DP.

The Bucs added some distance in the third. Starling led off with a double and Cutch singled him home. He stole second and moved to third on a fly. Russ K'ed, Josh walked on four pitches and Pedro bombed a first-pitch heater (90 MPH, down the pipe) yard in center to make it 6-1. The Rays went down in order.

In the fourth, El Coffee walked and stole second with an out, but Starling and Cutch couldn't bring him home. Brandon Guyer singled with an out for Tampa, but Edinson cleaned that up, getting Matt Joyce to roll a change up to second for a 4-6-3 DP.

Ike Davis walked to open the fifth, but he was erased on Martin's 6-4-3 DP, and Josh grounded out. The Rays stranded a leadoff walk. Lefty Cesar Ramos took the bump in the sixth with Pedro and Travis Snider due up, and was impressive, striking out the side. Ben Zobrist walked to start the Ray half, but an out later, Loney bounced into the shift for an odd but effective Jordy-Pedro-Ike DP. The Bucs went quietly in the seventh. Volquez put away Tampa in order, but a 10-pitch at-bat by Yunel Escobar put Eddie over the 100 pitch mark.

Ramos hung around in the eighth long enough to get Gaby to line out, then gave way to Kirby Yates. With two outs, Josh got the first Bucco hit since Pedro's homer, an infield tapper to short, followed by a walk to El Toro. Snider fell behind 0-2, worked the count full, fouled off ball four and then blooped a single into center, sending Josh home and Pedro to third. Mercer popped out to center, and Volquez answered the bell one more time. He sat the Rays down on nine pitches, the last out recorded on by Josh, who ran down a broken bat flare with a tumbling over the shoulder snag that earned him a tip o' the cap from Volquez.

Polanco opened the ninth with a soft drop to right for a knock. Marte worked the count full and got plunked on the wrist with the payoff pitch. After a brief delay, he took first, and Cutch lined a single up the middle to plate Polanco, with Marte pulling up at second.  Yates worked out of any further damage. Jeanmar Gomez came out with the mop. with two gone, Loney cue-balled a knock to left. A tapper to the hill ended it.

Eddie wasn't overwhelming - he had just one K -  but was steely-eyed efficient with a lot of balls beat into the dirt. Three of the five hits against him didn't leave the infield, and he coaxed three inning-ending DPs for a job well done. Pedro found his missing stroke, and with two outs he broke open the game, taking it from 2-1 to 5-1. If those two guys can keep on keepin' on that way, the Bucco season will be a lot brighter. They're back to .500 at 38-38; let's see if they can break on through to the other side this time.

Jeff Locke takes on Chris Archer tomorrow night.
  • Cutch collected his 52nd career RBI in interleague action, passing Brian Giles for the most in Pirates history.
  • Tonight was the Bucs first four SB game since 7/5/13 at Wrigley v the Cubs.
  • Cutch and Neil Walker are closing quickly in the AS balloting; both are in second and gaining.

No comments: