Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bucs Chip Away Behind Charlie For 5-1 Win

Charlie Morton got two outs in the first quickly, the hit a little bump as Paul Goldschmidt doubled and Miguel Montero drew a five pitch walk. But it didn't lead to any damage as Aaron Hill bounced out. Chase Anderson gave up a lead off double to Gregory Polanco, who went to third when RF Gerardo Parra bobbled the ball, and a Starling Marte grounder plated him. The Kid and Russ singled between Cutch and Ike whiffs, both chasing changes, so it's 1-0 after one.

Charlie tempted fate again with a pair of walks and a wild pitch, but a pair of whiffs helped him dodge another bullet. The Bucs kept beating on Anderson, slowed down only by their own doing. Pedro and Jordy opened with knocks, but Morton dropped a bunt right in front of the plate for a 2-5-3 DP. El Coffee made it sting less when he nine-ironed a 2-1 hook that was low and inside over the Clemente Wall to make it 3-1.

Goldschmidt singled and was on second with two gone in the third when Hill dropped a bloop into center. Walker couldn't get there and it popped out of a sliding Cutch's mitt for an RBI single as the D-Backs finally dented Morton. Cutch singled and an out later Russ walked, but the Pirates couldn't bring them home. Pedro's inning-ending whiff was especially disappointing as Anderson hung a pair of change ups that he whiffed on. The two teams have already stranded nine and gone a collective 1-for-10 with RISP.

Morton worked a clean fourth, though he's up to 72 pitches. Jordy opened with a single to right and Morton whiffed trying to bunt, not really doing much to help his cause at the dish tonight. Polanco walked on five pitches; even the strike was a 3-0 gift call. Marte banged into a force and took second when the DP relay got away. Cutch walked again on five pitches. Chase got the hook (he was at 88 pitches) after that as Randall Delgado came on and got Walker swinging. The Bucs are 1-for-8 with RISP and had chance upon chance to run away and hide, but change ups - and many of Anderson's were down the middle - have been their Achilles Heel in the early going. Sometimes you have to sit back instead of sitting dead red.

Goldschmidt singled with two gone in the fifth; the Pirates have no answer for him so far in this series. Montero was rung up; this time Charlie got the gift call to go his way. For the fifth time in as many frames, the Bucs got the leadoff guy aboard when Russ opened with a double off the CF wall that just missed going yard. Ike moved him to third with a grounder, but Pedro K'ed, missing badly on fastballs well out of the zone. Jordy was walked intentionally. Charlie flew out, and a couple more ducks were left quacking.

David Peralta singled in the sixth with an out, but two pitches later was erased on a Martin Prado 6-4-3 DP. Polanco ended the first-man-on syndrome by whiffing, followed by a Starling walk. He eventually stole second after several tosses to first, but Cutch K'ed - on a change up. Walker lined a shot to center, but Inciarte was there for the grab. Pittsburgh is now 1-for-12 with RISP.

Justin Wilson climbed the hill in the seventh; we're a little surprised that Charlie didn't get another inning, being at 93 pitches. Cody Ross singled with an out, but never moved off first. Joe Thatcher worked a clean frame for Arizona. Tony Watson took the ball in the eighth. He finally sat Goldschmidt down, but brushed Montero's arm on a 3-2 pitch. Tony took care of the next pair of D-Backs routinely.

Matt Stites came in, and the Bucs finally built up a pad. Jordy singled and was forced out by Travis Snider, who got to second when the DP turn was tossed away. An out later, Starling doubled the opposite way to score Travis, and Cutch singled Marte home.

For some reason, Mark the Shark came in with the score 5-1; maybe just out of habit. Actually, he was warming up when the Bucs scored their two-out runs, so he may have been the only guy ready to go. Prado greeted him with a single, and an out later Roger Kieschnick rolled one up the middle. But no drama tonight; the next two outs were garden variety and the Bucs have yet another chance to sweep a series tomorrow.

The Pirate hitters kept it interesting with their obvious disdain at hitting a change up, but it all worked out well, especially as Charlie limited the damage instead of giving up a big frame. They're four games over .500, so laissez les bons temps rouler. 

Brandon McCarthy closes the series tomorrow night against Vance Worley.

  • Cutch left in the ninth after his RBI single; he was hobbling a little after taking a foul ball off the shin during the at-bat.
  • This is the Pirates fourth straight series win; tomorrow will be their ninth try at a sweep. They're 0-for-8 so far this season.
  • After the Met series, the turnstiles have slowed down some. Tonight's crowd was 24,161, with 21,000+ last night.

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