Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vanimal, El Coffee Team Up On The Mets In 5-2 Bucco Victory

Vance Worley and Daisuke Matsuzaka spun quiet opening frames. Vanimal retired the Mets 1-2-3, while Dice-K gave up a walk and stolen base to Gregory Polanco to go with three routine outs.

The Mets tried to single Worley to death in the second. With one gone, Bobby Abreu and Juan Lagares had back-to-back knocks. Following a K, Ruben Tejada lined a single to left, but Josh cut down Abreu at the dish to keep the Mets off the board. Russ opened the Buc half with a HBP, but an Ike 4-6-3 DP and Pedro whiff killed the frame. Matsuzaka began the third with an infield knock off an off target throw by Pedro, but never got past first. The Bucs manufactured the first run of the game on a Jordy walk, bunt, wild pitch and ground out to make it 1-0.

NY got the run back quickly in the fourth when Lucas Duda went long the opposite way, dropping a fly barely inside the LF pole and into the first row. A walk to Abreu followed. Lagares K'ed, then Travis d'Arnaud tried to one-up Duda, flying out the the 389' mark. Tejada got plunked, and Dice-K almost made Vanimal pay, lining out to medium left.

Cutch doubled to start the Bucco half. The Kid struck out chasing a slider, Martin's grounder moved Andrew to third and Ike walked. That led to a little league run; Ike was picked off breaking to second, and during the run down that ended the inning, Cutch raced home to make it 2-1. It ended OK, but with Ike running and Pedro up, we kinda question the strategy.

Curtis Granderson walked to lead off the fifth, and Dale Murphy forced him at second on a bang-bang play. David Wright bounced a fastball to second, and the 4-6-3 put the Mets away. Pedro got the Bucs going with a single. Jordy hit into a force, and Worley punched single to center. A passed ball moved them up a station, but no need - El Coffee ripped a 3-2 slider over the fence in right center; we're liking the Buc's three run homers of late.

Vanimal tossed a clean sixth frame. Ike walked with two away for Pittsburgh, and Pedro singled him to third. But no more; Jordy flew out to left on the first pitch.

d'Arnaud spanked a single to begin the seventh; Tejada banged into an around-the-horn DP. Good thing; Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a pinch hit single. A Granderson fly ended the inning without further ado. Vanimal was at 100 pitches, and Travis Snider hit for him, singling off Carlos Torres. Polanco followed with a knock, and Josh bunted them up. Not really sure why, as the inevitable intentional walk to Cutch was issued. Good move by the Mets; The Kid hit the first pitch to second for a 4-6-3 DP to end the frame.

Murphy greeted Tony Watson with a double that Josh had trouble tracking in left. Wright turned on a 3-2 sinker and banged it over third for another double. This time, Tony's earned run streak of 26-1/3 IP definitely has a fork in it. Duda went down swinging. Chris Young hit for Abreu, and rolled over to bounce into a 6-3, nicely plucked by Jordy, freezing the runner. Lagares saw three straight changes and couldn't get wood on any of them as Tony closed the inning out with the Bucs up 5-2.

Josh Edgin worked the ninth. With two down, Pedro singled and that brought on Vic Black, who got Jordy on a fly to center. Mark Melancon came on to close the deal, and Clint Barmes took over at third. Mark the Shark tucked New York away on seven pitches; how many guys can say they have 14 saves and 14 holds? The Vanimal is 2-0/1.74, and looks very safe when Gerrit Cole returns this weekend.

Just when it looked like the rotation was in tatters, the Three Amigos - Worley, Jeff Locke, and yes, even Brandon Cumpton - picked it up a notch. The hitting has been consistent, and it's no mystery that the pitching has been better because of the defense behind it lately. So let the good times roll.

Jacob deGrom and Brandon Cumpton are the starters for tomorrow night's match.
  • Gregory Polanco hit his first career home run at PNC Park tonight, and it was no cheapie, travelling 418'. And in a nice post-game gesture, Polanco recognized the fans ovation with a tip of the hat.
  • The Pirates are 17-10 over the last 27 games. Bet they'd like a redo of April.
  • Tonight's attendance was 36,647, the second largest non-Opening Day Thursday crowd ever at PNC. Pittsburgh fans sure do love their fireworks, on & off the field.

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