Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bucs Romp 10-3

Tim Stauffer hardly looked like a replacement starter, striking out the first two Bucs in a 1-2-3 opening frame. Charlie Morton had a Charlie Morton start - he slipped fielding a ball, leading to a throwing error, then walked the two hitter, Seth Smith. But he turned electric and K'ed Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley, finishing up with a roller to first by Yonder Alonso. The second went quietly, with Pedro's two-out single the only action for either team.

The Bucs scored in the third, but left a big inning on the table. Jordy Mercer led off with a 414' homer, and after Charlie K'ed, a pair of infield singles and a walk loaded the bases for Ike, who banged out a sac fly to make it 2-0. That took care of Stauffer, and lefty Alex Torres took care of Pedro, who had a brutal at-bat. Five of six pitches he saw were off the plate, but he went down swinging anyway in a big spot. The Padres got a strikeout, walk, strikeout, HBP, strikeout; just Charlie being Charlie. And that's good tonight; he has seven K already.

The Bucs again left an crooked number sitting on the bases in the fourth. Morton's plunk was quickly answered by Torres, who drilled Starling Marte in the back. Starling stole second and came in on Mercer's soft slice into right center. A sac bunt, infield single and HBP loaded them up for Cutch, and like Pedro, he had a brutal at-bat. He saw one strike, and on a 3-2 pitch hit a one hopper to third on ball four for a 5-3 DP. Charlie had another K and another HBP in a scoreless inning.

Ike joined the K-on-one-strike club when he whiffed on ball four to open the fifth. Russ Martin went down looking at a hook, then Pedro singled on a grounder through the shift. Kevin Quackenbush replaced Torres, who was at 43 pitches, and finished by getting Marte on a fly to center.

With Charlie, you're always waiting for that inning to happen, and this was it. Alexi Amarista singled through the right side and scored on a nice bit of hitting by Everth Cabrera, who took a pitch down and away and hooked it into left center for a double. Morton served a heater than ran across the plate, and Smith banged it up the middle to make it 3-2. Two grounders mixed with a HBP and walk loaded the bases for Tommy Medica, but Charlie had just enough left in the tank to throw one past him.

Dale Thayer came on in the sixth and Mercer greeted him with a single. Travis Snider hit, and dumped a soft single to center. The Bucs gave up an out when Josh popped out trying to bunt, but tThe Kid picked him up with a liner to right center, chasing Mercer home barely ahead of the throw. With two down, Ike walked, but Russ took a back door strike three on a full count; the Pirates have no killer instinct going tonight, and though they have four runs, they've already stranded 10. Pittsburgh has loaded the bases four times and have just a sac fly to show for it. Jared Hughes took the hill and worked a clean, eight pitch inning.

The Pirates finally cashed in. Nick Franklin came on in the seventh and walked Pedro. With an out, Mercer, JT and Josh all singled to bring in a run, then The Kid doubled to right to chase home two more. That brought on Donn Roach, who stopped the bleeding, although a two out walk left the bases jammed again. It's 7-2 good guys. Justin Wilson took the ball, and did what he shouldn't - he walked Smith on four pitches and Quentin on twelve. A fly and grounder brought home a run to make it 7-3.

Roach walked back-to-back Bucs with an out, and Gaby shot a ball up the third base line for a two-run double. An out later, Walker got plunked in the shin, then Cutch hit a one-hopper over the right center fence to plate Gaby. That brought Troy Patton into fray, and he closed it out. Jeanmar Gomez answered the call for Pittsburgh, and gave up a hit, but was never in trouble. The fans remaining at Petco even broke out a "Let's Go Bucs" chant.

The ninth opened with more wackiness as Russ reached on a strike three swinging passed ball, but mercifully, Patton retired the next three Pirates. With an out in the ninth, Carlos Quentin hit a slow chopper to the left side; Pedro charged and had the ball roll out of his mitt. But Quentin was trotting to first, never saw the drop, and Pedro recovered to throw him out, much to the displeasure of the two dozen Padre fans remaining. Cameron Maybin singled with two outs, but Alonso rolled the next pitch to second, and the Bucs had the win finally.

Good start to the series in more ways than one; the Pirates got into a good bullpen and made Bud Black use up seven pitchers and 249 pitches over the night, and with a AA call-up scheduled to take the mound tomorrow, that could play right into the Buccos' hands.

Gerrit Cole takes on Jesse Hahn tomorrow night. Hahn is a replacement pitcher from AA San Antonio where he was 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA.
  • Josh Harrison has a six game hitting streak; four of his last five outings have been multi-hit days.
  • Jordy Mercer had his first four hit game since last September. More encouraging was that three of his knocks went the opposite way tonight, and he drew a walk.
  • Charlie Morton's nine K tied his career high.
  • The Pirates 28 pinch hits lead MLB. Travis, JT and Gaby all delivered tonight.
  • Pittsburgh's last seven homers were hit by seven different players.
  • San Diego pitchers set a team record with three hit batters; the Bucs also hit three, and all without a warning. The teams also combined to walk a dozen.
  • At 4:04, tonight was the longest nine-inning game in San Diego Padre history.
  • Stolmy Pimentel's first rehab outing went without a hitch, as he tossed two innings with a walk and two K at Bradenton.

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