The Bucs went down in order again in the fourth, and haven't been looking real disciplined at the dish tonight. Ben Paulsen and Wil Rosario connected on back-to-back two out singles, one a ground ball through the right side and the other a sharply hit grounder that Gaby couldn't corral. Another right side hopper was finally gloved to end the frame.
Pittsburgh finally got something going in the fifth when The Kid opened with a single and Russ walked. Jordy ripped one to third; the Rox almost turned an around-the-horn triple play on the shot, but Russ was ruled safe at second, and the Rockies challenged. The call could have gone either way (the question was whether LeMahieu held the bag) and the TV replay was inconclusive, so it stood. Brent Morel was walked intentionally, and Charlie bounced out to end the frame. Colorado was retired in order.
The Pirates at least hit two balls hard in the sixth, with Josh lining out to center and Cutch drilling a two out single, but still no one has reached third base against Anderson. The Rockies went down quietly, with both pitchers at the 90 pitch mark (Anderson -90, Morton - 92).
Russ walked with an out in the seventh, and also chased Anderson, who had a blister open during the at-bat. That brought in Tommy Kahnle. Jordy got ahead of him 3-1, fouled off ball four and flew out. Pedro came up to pinch hit for Brent Morel; he went down swinging at a fastball in the dirt as the Pirate hitters remained their own worst enemies tonight.
Charlie went an inning too far, giving up consecutive doubles to Paulsen and Rosario to make it 2-0 with no outs. LeMahieu singled to put runners on the corners, and Ernesto Frieri was waved in. His fastball was flat tonight after showing some movement in his past few outings, and that's definitely not a good thing. Pinch hitter Drew Stubbs pulled a soft liner down the third base line for another double; it was a catchable ball, but Pedro mistimed his jump and it sailed over him. Blackmon was intentionally walked to load the bases.The next batter, Rutledge, cleared the bases by drilling a double. After an out, Carlos Gonzalez homered as Frieri continued to serve up BP. He picked up a couple of K, way too late, to end the frame at 8-0 Rox.
Rex Brothers took the hill for Colorado. he gave up a two out knock to Josh, and Nick Masset came in to face Cutch, whiffing him. Stolmy Pimentel took the ball, with Chris Stewart catching - we're not sure if Russ is getting a brief blow or if he's sore from a mix-up fastball he took on the wrist from Frieri last inning.
Matt Belisle came to close it out, and promptly loaded the bases with no outs on a Gaby deflected single, Walker free pass and Ike single. Jordy hit a sac fly to get the Bucs on the board. Pedro walked, and that was it for Belisle as Adam Ottavino answered the phone. He got two quick outs to close the rout.
A couple of things are kinda obvious. The Pirates aren't in waiver wire mode any more, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to carry Ernesto Frieri, especially as Hurdle uses him exclusively in late innings. We'd expect the front office to get a seventh inning guy to replace him before the deadline.
Next, the Bucs are carrying a lot of one-side players. Amont the lefty hitters, only travis snider is hitting over .200 against southpaws, both this season and career wise. Marte being out exacerbates the problem, but they still have too many platoon, or at least should-be platoon, spots on the team as constructed.
The good and bad news is that everyone in the NL Central ahead of the Bucs lost, as did the Braves. So the good news is that they didn't lose ground; the bad news is that they could have picked up a game on the entire field tonight and blew the opportunity. Hopefully they'll shower well, as Clint is fond of saying, and come out ready to play tomorrow.
Jeff Locke tangles with Tyler Matzek tomorrow night.
- Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Bucs have a high level scout taking notes at the Jon Lester - David Price matchup going on tonight. Lester has been noted as on the Pirate radar; Price, not so much.