Wednesday, June 25, 2014

That One Inning...Bucs, Morton Lose To Rays 5-1

Josh singled and stole second off David Price with one away in the first, and that was a s far as he got. Before Charlie Morton got three outs, he would suffer through another of his innings. Desmond Jennings led off with a ground ball single and then  Ben Zobrist tripled; the ball went off Cutch's glove. After a K, Evan Longoria grounded a routine ball to Jordy; he muffed it. James Loney singled off Morton's foot. Brandon Guyer got a 1-2 fastball that was up and in; he checked his swing and the ball caught his elbow. A sac fly made it 3-0. That's not a good way to start the day against Mr. Price.

The Bucs second was walk, DP, whiff. The Rays also drew a walk with a couple of whiffs on either side. The third was a 1-2-3 frame for both sides; the fourth saw that streak end with Jose Molina's two-out single. They flipped that in the fifth; Neil Walker got the two-out single. Both sides were retired in order in the sixth. If you think there's a whole lotta pitching going on, you're right.

In the seventh, the Bucs took their shot at Price. Gaby singled with one down and was forced by Russ. Jordy blooped a soft single, and The Kid clobbered a change up. But Jennings in center made a running catch at the wall in center, saving probably a pair of runs, and for all intents and purposes, that was the game, even if Charlie mowed them down again in the seventh.

Price regained his mojo in the eighth, putting the Bucs away quietly. Jason Grilli came on to face the Rays, and you know the drill - a couple of strikeouts, a couple of liners, a bloop, a bunt and a couple of runs; Justin Wilson had to close out the inning. Jake McGee took over in the ninth, and gave up a solo homer to Cutch to make the final 5-1.

Morton had another one of those innings -  a dropped ball, an error, a single off his own foot, a HBP - and every game he seems to have one. That Achille's Heel of his has repeatedly taken the tarnish off a year when he's stepped up, picking up Ks and sitting down lefties.Pittsburgh goes back home now for a ten-gamer, then hits the road until after the break. The Bucs  face the Mets, D-Backs and Phils at PNC Park, all series that need to be taken, then off to visit the Cards and Reds.

Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the hill against Vance Worley tomorrow night.
  • Charlie Morton's 11 strikeouts is his personal best, the season high for the Pirates and the most by a Bucco since AJ Burnett's dozen on September 12th, 2013, against the Cubs. David Price did OK, too - he became the first pitcher with five straight ten strikeout games since Johan Santana in 2004 as he matched Charlie with 11 whiffs.
  • This marks the seventh  time this season that the Pirates have gone into the last game of a series in line for a sweep. They're 0-for-7 in closing those sets out.
  • Starling Marte isn't in the lineup, but he passed his concussion test. Now he's dealing with a jammed finger, suffered on the same unsuccessful steal of second last night.
  • As expected, Gerrit Cole will come off DL and start Saturday against the Mets.

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