Friday, July 18, 2014

Bucs Overcome Sloppy Play To Pull Out 4-2 Win

Corey Dickerson opened up the game with a soft roller up the left side that he legged out for a hit, and that was followed by a walk to Drew Stubbs, not exactly the start Frankie Liriano wanted. A free-swing Carlos Gonzalez whiffed, but Tulo drew a five pitch walk to juice the sacks. Things looked bleak when Nolan Arenado went up 3-0, but a called strike followed by a grounder to Pedro to start a 5-4-3 DP averted a potentially disastrous start. Jorge De La Rosa retired the first two Bucs handily before losing Cutch, but Russ flew out on the next pitch to cap the frame.

With an out in the second, Frankie tried to come in on Charlie Culberson's hands on an 0-2 pitch, but it was fought off for a bloop single. DJ LaMahieu popped a 3-2 change into short left and the flare fell out of Mercer's mitt for an error. To compound things, De La Rosa dropped one down, and he reached on a bunt single that Pedro didn't handle very well (he fielded it, took a step back, doubled clutched and lost the grip). Dickerson hit into a force - Jordy flubbed a DP ball - plating a run. Dickerson stole second, but Liriano got Stubbs swinging on a foul tip. The last thing a laboring pitcher needs is his D to be asleep at the wheel, too.

After one was gone, Gaby banged a 2-0 fastball the other way off the Clemente Wall for a double, but was stranded.

Frankie worked a clean third, whiffing CarGo and Tulo, but he's at 67 pitches. Liriano opened with a single off De La Rosa, and an out later Marte walked. Cutch and Russ left them there, with Martin thwarted on a nice barehand play by Arenado at third. The fourth was another 1-2-3 inning for Francisco who has been tossing pretty well after a rugged opening frame, though he was aided by a solid running grab by Gregory of a ball hit deep to right by LaMahieu. De La Rosa cruised too, getting three balls hit into the dirt.

Dickerson walked with an out in the fifth, and after a Stubbs whiff stole second. The Bucs challenged the bang-bang play and lost;. It was no biggie, as CarGo went down, Frankie's third K of the frame. With two gone, El Coffee rolled a soft single past the hill. Marte made it count by banging a ball into the left field corner; it hopped past Dickerson to get Polanco home, but Marte was nailed at the plate, running through Nick Leyva's stop sign. Maybe he forgot who hits behind him...ah, Cutch woulda walked, anyway.

Jared Hughes came on in the sixth; funny that Hurdle let Frankie bat and then yanked him. Still, a very nice start after a dicey first, with eight K. With two out, Wil Rosario reached on, yep, a throwing error by Pedro, ironically after a very nice pick. Culberson singled on a grounder to right, and LaMahieu inside-outed a sinker into right to give the Rox the lead 2-1. Polanco made the play close at home, with a throw that was just a little too far up the 3B line, allowing Rosario to slip the tag. The Kid walked with two down - one of the outs was a fine catch by Stubbs on a ball that Cutch launched to the track in straight center - but Gaby flew out to end the frame on De La Rosa's 100th pitch.

Justin Wilson grabbed the ball in the seventh. With an out, Stubbs hit a bleeder; Wilson fielded it and whipped it past first, allowing Stubbs to steam into second. After punching out Gonzalez, Tulowitzki was walked intentionally and Arenado popped out. Wilson had the good heater tonight, and used it for every one of his 22 pitches.

Rex Brothers climbed the hill for Colorado. With one gone, Jordy turned on a tight heater and singled into left. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Josh grabbed a stick, and bounced one to third; Arenado's throw to first was high, leaving Bucs at first and second. El Coffee lined a single to left to load the sacks; Leyva held up Jordy, probably wisely. That put a fork into lefty Brothers and Adam Ottavino was waved in. Marte fell behind 0-2, then got plunked for an RBI beaning.

And it was a beaning; Starling was hit in the head and went down as his helmet and bat went flying. He recovered his senses, though, and jogged down to first after a scary moment. Cutch was swinging for the fences and went down on a slider in the dirt; there's something about hitting a timely fly ball that seems to disagree even with the most accomplished of Bucco batters. Russ flew out, and the Pirates left the lead run stranded at third.

Josh stayed in and went to third, so Marte must be OK as he's still in left. Tony Watson took the bump in the eighth. Rosario dropped a fly into right for a leadoff single. Culberson fouled off a pair of bunt tries and eventually K'ed. Two routine outs later and the Bucs were back at the bat rack.

Matt Belisle took over, and The Kid greeted him with a single to center and went to third on Gaby's knock. Travis Snider hit for Watson. He fell behind 0-2, worked the count even and then doubled to right on a slider, scoring Walker after CarGo's dive for the ball fell short. Mercer whiffed on a curve, and with an out, Michael Martinez came in to run for Gaby at third. Tom Kahnle took the ball to face Josh; the wheels are all spinning. Bless his heart; Harrison lifted a sac fly to bring home an insurance run. Polanco legged out a single to short to put Bucs on the corners - or did he? The Rox challenged, and it looks like they have a case. They won, and it's time for Mark the Shark to face the top of the order, with Snider to left and Ike to first.

Dickerson led off with a soft drop shot to right, but the next three outs were routine. The Bucs were sloppy, but there were two bright spots: they managed to win and Frankie looked like his old self after a sluggish start.

Brett Anderson faces Charlie Morton tomorrow night.
  • Travis Snider is now tied for the most PHs in the majors with 11.
  • Carlos Gonzalez had a perfect day at the plate; he was up five times and K'ed five times facing three different pitchers.
  • Tonight's attendance of 37,833 was the 11th PNC Park sellout of the season.
  • Gerrit Cole threw 30 fastballs/change ups from a mound yesterday and felt good today as the Pirates consider the next step in his rehab.
  • David Manel of Bucs Bullpen has the scoop on what they're working on with Ernie Frieri, and it's a load - arm slot, consistent arm speed, and change up grip.
  • From last year to this, the Pirates are third in attendance increase at 9.82%.
  • The Astros bungled the draft up pretty well, failing to sign the first pick and two other over-slot guys because of losing the pool money as accusations fly. Ah, the problems that Josh Bell and that $5M second round bonus caused...
  • The Braves released 2B Dan Uggla, eating $20M worth of his remaining 2014-15 contract years. He was hitting .162 so far this season after batting .179 last year.

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