Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pedro & Cutch Gang Up On LA To Take Series With 5-3 Win

Josh Harrison opened against Zack Grienke and flew out to wall in center, 395' away. Then Andre Ethier in center proved he can long balls and short by snagging The Kid's bloop. But he couldn't run down Cutch's ball off the wall that went for a double. Ike walked on five pitches. Russ Martin drew a full count walk on a slider away.  Pedro, who's left a zillion guys on this year, came through by rolling a heater away into left center against the shift for a two-run knock. Starling Marte bounced out to third to end the parade with the Pirates up 2-0. Grienke went back to the dugout yapping to the plate ump about being squeezed, though he was imostly just all over the place.

With two down, Edinson Volquez fed Yasiel Puig a change that was up and he rattled into it left for a two-bagger. No prob; Eddie got the en fuego Hanley Ramirez to chase a curve. Grienke worked a quiet second. With an out, Matt Kemp caught a sinker that stayed up and banged it over the wall on the bounce for a ground rule double. Volquez served Justin Turner four straight off-speed pitches, three that were center cut, and he eventually banged one up the middle to plate Kemp and make the score 2-1 after two frames.

The Bucs added on in the third when Cutch clobbered a fastball over the fence in right center for his fifth homer and breaking a five-week streak without a long ball.  After a pair of soft grounders, Volquez had two out problems again. Puig drilled a 3-2 curve into left and Ramirez walked. But Edinson had the answer, getting Gonzalez to miss a slider.  Pittsburgh went down without a peep in the fourth. LA cut the lead to one when a fastball ran back over the plate and Turner knocked it halfway up the bleachers in left.

Grienke had a 1-2-3 frame; Josh hit his third ball of the night to the track and has an 0-fer to show for it. Edinson tossed his first clean frame.

Cutch opened the sixth with a double in the corner, and rolled the dice by tagging on Ike's fly to left, beating a strong throw after Kemp double-clutched. Russ got smacked in the wrist on an 0-2 pitch, and Pedro came through again, spanking a single up the middle to score Cutch and giving Pittsburgh a 4-2 edge. Justin Wilson came on, even though Volquez was at just 77 pitches, and gave up a walk to Gonzalez in an otherwise routine inning.

Chris Perez took over for the Dodgers in the seventh, and Josh finally zeroed in. After lining a ball up the LF line that hooked just outside the pole, he launched the next heater over the wall in right center to make it 5-2.  Tony Watson climbed the hill, and watched his fielders make a couple of nice plays behind him. Cutch made a mad dash in on Drew Butera's pop and made a sliding, seat of the pants grab. Travis Snider, in right after pinch hitting, made a less spectacular but still nice running stab of Chone Figgin's slice shot. The last out came when Pedro ran down a foul in short left and gloved it over-the-shoulder.

JP Howell took the hill in the eighth and walked the first hitter, Ike. An out later, Davis was caught stealing; he had a great jump, but Butera's throw was perfect as was Ramirez's tag. The disappointing part is the pitch was up and away on a 3-1 count, but the ump missed it. A walk and a K ended the frame, and Mark the Shark got the ball, once again with the 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Ho-hum; 1-2-3 inning.

Brandon League tossed a clean ninth, and Jason Grilli trotted out, looking for the save. He got it the hard way. Six pitches, two K, and 0-2 on Turner. He walked him. 1-2 on Jamie Romak; he walked him. Then he went 2-2 on Scott Van Slyke and broke his bat. But the Pirate outfield was in the no double D, and the ball dropped to make it 5-3 and bring the winning run to the plate. That was Dee Gordon, who lined the first pitch right at Clint Barmes, and Edinson Volquez had his third win and Grilli notched his eighth save.

Great way to start the road trip, taking a series from a talented by underperforming Dodger club. Now they go to San Diego, which has virtually the same record as the Bucs, but are just 14-15 at home. Another series win would be a sweet way to come home to take on the front-running Brewers.

Charlie Morton will open the three-game San Diego series tomorrow night against Tim Stauffer.
  • Cutch had three extra-base hits in a game for the first time since June 5th, 2010 against the Giants, when he also banged out two doubles and a homer. Cutch and Pedro combined to go 5-for-7 with four RBI and three runs. The only other Pirate hit was Harrison's home run.
  • Tony Watson's scoreless streak was extended to 16-2/3 innings.
  • This was the first time the Pirates won at least three games in a season at Dodger Stadium since 2000 and the first time they've taken a series at Dodger Stadium since 2006.
  • Josh Harrison had a streak of three straight multi-hit games broken tonight, though he hit the ball hard all four at-bats. 
  • This is the first time Zack Greinke gave up four earned runs in an outing since 2010, and the first time the LA staff has given up that many since May 20th.
  • ESPN had seven announcers for the game, which were about five too many. 
  • The Pirates claimed RHP Wirfin Obispo, 29, off waivers from Braves and optioned him to Indy as they continue to retool their relief staff. He was 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA at AAA Gwinnett, but struck out 21 in 19 IP and has 105 K in 102 IP during his minor league career with an upper-90s heater as his drawing card. Obispo, who pitched for five seasons in Japan, will replace Bryan Morris on the Pirates 40-man roster.
  • Ex-Bucs: Brock Holt tied an MLB record today by hitting four doubles for the Red Sox.

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