Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bucs Walk Off With 4-3 Win In 12 Innings

Starting off the game with Billy Hamilton on second wasn't the recommended MO for Jeff Locke, but the speedster's soft drop into left ended up a leg double. A stolen sack and sac fly later, it was 1-0. Homer Bailey put away the Pirates 1-2-3, with two whiffs.

The second went quietly for both teams, with Gaby's two-out error allowing a Red runner the only action. The third was even quieter with both sides retired in order. Joey Votto led off with a double in the fourth, and two fly balls brought him home. Wonder if the Pirates notice how easily the Reds manufacture runs? The Bucs showed some signs of life with singles from El Coffee and Gaby, but no runs as they fell behind 2-0.

The Reds got a walk and bunt in the fifth, amounting to no harm, while the Pirates finally did some damage to Bailey. It was the bottom of the order that sparked it when Clint Barmes and Chris Stewart both flared soft knocks the opposite way. Locke bunted into a force at second, on a ball quickly played by Devin Mesoraco. It just delayed the inevitable as Homer balked a run in when he slipped during his delivery and held on to the ball. Then back-to-back-to-back knocks by the top of the order - El Coffee, Starling and Cutch - resulted in two more runs and a 3-2 Bucco edge.

Locke worked a clean sixth thanks to Starling, who played a Todd Frazier shot off the wall perfectly and gunned him out at second. The Pirates loaded the bases with two outs on a Pedro double to The Notch, a Barmes single and a walk to the pitcher. Sam LeCure got the call to replace Bailey, but before he could battle with Polanco, the skies burst and everyone headed for cover. About 35-40 minutes later, the game picked up again with Gregory grounding into a force. That's seven stranded in the last three frames.

Tony Watson took over in the seventh. Locke probably had another inning in him, but the rain stoppage did him in. Tony gave up a walk and a single, but Josh came up big on Ryan Ludwick's slow roller to close out the frame. Logan Ondrusek took the ball for Cincy. Hamilton ran down a pair of liners off Marte and Cutch's bats and Gaby went down on a foul tip.

Mark the Shark took the bump in the eighth. After Hamilton whiffed, Frazier bounced a curve to right for a knock. Votto flied out and Brandon Phillips grounded out; one more mile to go. After Ondrusek got Josh to ground out, Bryan Price called on lefty Manny Parra to dish to Pedro. Clint sent up Jordy, who flied out to left. Barmes collected his third hit - where did that come from - but he was caught stealing.

Jason Grilli got back on the bar stool for the ninth while Mercer stayed in at short, Josh went to third and Barmes to second. Bruce lined out to the wall in center, but not so Mesoraco. He yanked his 10th of the year off a hung slider, sailing it over the fence at the short part of left field. An out later, Zack Cozart doubled. Jason finally closed out the inning on a liner by Brayan Pena. There have been way too many meatballs served lately by the Bucco closer; every ball this inning was hit on the screws.

Jonathan Broxton took the hill, and lost Chris Stewart to open the frame. Travis Snider put a charge in the crowd, but his drive to center was corralled just short of the 399' mark on a very nice bit of robbery by Hamilton, who has been all over the OF today. Polanco rolled out, moving Stewart to second. Marte walked, and JT came on to run for Stew. Cutch was up, and so Aroldis Chapman got the call and caught him looking.

Jared Hughes took the ball in the tenth, and gave up a dink to center to Frazier. With two gone, Jared caught him breaking for second, and he was thrown out for a painless frame. Chapman struck out the side swinging at off speed stuff after two strikes. In the 11th, Hughes pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Tony Cingrani took the hill, and gave up a leadoff double to Barmes and a walk to Martin. Vance Worley came in to bunt for Jared; he couldn't, striking out, and the next pair went down quietly.

Justin Wilson worked a clean 12th during a quick sprinkle. With an out, Gaby singled off Cingrani and went to second on a balk. Josh was walked intentionally before Mercer K'ed on a foul tip. Today's hero, Clint Barmes, took one for the team and Russ drew a free pass on five pitches - and the last one could have been called either way - for a literal walk off, and a win the Pirates sorely needed.

The Bucs can't do anything easy. The gave up the lead in the ninth and stranded 14 runners. But a balk or two and some patience paid off.

Charlie Morton goes against Edwin Jackson at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon.
  • Starling Marte's hit streak is ten, while Greg Polanco's is nine, the longest Pirate run for the start of a rookie campaign. Clint Barmes may not be on that kind of roll, but went 4-for-5 with a walk and lifted his BA to .263. It was his eighth career four-hit outing.
  • Day games are starting to get some traction. The Pirates drew 30,710 people for a today's game, putting the Bucs over one million fans for the year so far.
  • Neil Walker is close to back. He'll get a game or two in with Bradenton and then rejoin the Bucs at Tampa on Tuesday or Wednesday. Clint Hurdle also told the media that Gerrit Cole is on schedule to return June 28th.
  • A little late, but...Joe Torre released statement this afternoon saying the play at plate last night should not have resulted in a blocking violation.

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