Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bucs Break Out the Broom, Sweep Phils 6-2

Jeff Locke had a Charlie Morton inning. With two outs, Pedro threw a Jimmy Rollin's grounder away and Marlon Byrd singled on a grounder through the left side to make it 1-0. But the Bucs had an answer for AJ. After El Coffee and Josh whiffed, Cutch rolled a single through the infield and The Kid blooped another knock, then stole second. Russ took a 95 MPH heater the other way off the bottom of the Clemente Wall, and the Pirates were on top 2-1. All three hits were with two strikes and two outs, so nice job, especially since Burnett struck out the side otherwise.

The Phils went down in order in the second, two by whiffs. Pedro walked to open the Pirate half, but AJ put down the rest of the Bucs easily. Burnett walked on five pitches to start the third, rarely a good thing. But a quick 3-6-3 DP followed by another roller took care of business. Josh banged a triple to center leading off the third; AJ's fastball is down a couple of ticks already. Cutch missed a gimme RBI by hitting one back to the box, but the Kid picked him up with a sac liner to medium center to make it 3-1 after three.

It was another 1-2-3 for Locke in the fourth. AJ tossed a clean frame, too. Cody Asche singled to open the fifth on an 0-2 fastball. Domonic brown got a heater down the middle, and lined out to Cutch. That's a couple of two-strike mistake pitches already. But he didn't make a mistake to Cameron Rupp; he fed him a change for the Bucs' second 3-6-3 DP of the game (or two more than Garrett Jones started in his Pirate career). Polanco drew a one-out walk for the Pirates, and that was all the action.

Locke rolled through the sixth, and is sitting pretty at 75 pitches. AJ sat down the Bucs handily in their half. Byrd cut the lead to one in the seventh when he got hold of a change without much movement at the knees and yanked it into the LF bleachers. Jeff stopped the damage after that. Jordy banged a ball into left with an out and was bunted to second, but Polanco went down swinging to end the frame.

Starling went to left and Josh to third as Clint jockeyed his troops in the eighth. Neither saw a ball as Locke tossed a 1-2-3 frame. He's really been pounding the inside half; there have been a ton of grounders to third and first today.

Justin DeFratus took the ball from AJ, and Josh hustled into second on a boot by Asche at third. DeFratus got ahead of Cutch 0-2, wasted a couple, then left the MVP a juicy slider at the letters that was bombed into right center for a triple, just shy of a homer. Another fan with happy hands got involved with the play; it went under review. Fan interference was ruled, but they still awarded Cutch third. They seriously have to start throwing out guys that mess with balls that are in play; it's becoming epidemic.

That brought in lefty Jake Diekman, who fanned The Kid throwing basically above-the-letters heat. Russ was intentionally walked now that there was an out to set up a DP. Gaby hit for Ike, and was hit (on the foot) for his effort. Starling dinked a slider into right to plate Cutch. Jordy flew out short of the track in right center to chase home Russ. Newly beckoned Michael Martinez hit for Locke and walked to juice the sacks again. El Coffee got his first rude awakening in the show as he went down for the third time.

But it's 6-2 now, and The Shark is still in the tank as Jared Hughes came in to face the top of the order. Ben Revere legged out a single to short. The Phil mojo ended there, and the Bucs had themselves a sweep.

It's sort of miraculous that the Phils scored six runs this series; they only had 11 hits over the three games. But the Pirates are done with the bottom feeders after a great 8-2 homestand. They visit the Cards and the Reds on a very big seven game road trip leading into the All-Star break.

Charlie Morton will open the Card series against ace Adam Wainwright.
  • It took nine tries, but the Bucs swept their first series of the year. It was the eighth time the Phillies have been broomed.
  • Home field advantage: Russ Martin has reached base in all 27 games he's played at PNC Park in 2014.
  • Though El Coffee whiffed three times, he also walked. He's the first Pirate to reach base in 23 of his first 25 career games since Barry Bonds in 1986.
  • The Bucs have scored four, two and two in the first frame against the Phils. They've never trailed in the series after a full inning. 
  • Holy yips: Pedro leads MLB with 18 errors, and 17 have been bad throws.
  • The Pirates drew 33,408 today.

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