Monday, August 18, 2014

Bravos Bury Bucs With First Inning Fireworks, Roll To 7-3 Win

Vanimal did his imitation of a BP pitcher in the first. Back-to-back homers to start the game. A walk, two singles, an out, another single, another  walk. Then he served up a DP ball, but The Kid's relay sailed wide of the bag and two more runs came in. Pittsburgh will bat down 6-0.

The Bucs got runners to second and third with two down, but Pedro was in one of his swing at anything moods and K'ed swinging through (what else?) a change up. In the second, the Bravos were limited to a hit. The Pirates got a homer from Starling and managed to strand another runner at second.

An opening single was followed by a DP and whiff in a return to normalcy for Vance in the third. The Kid splashed a ball into the Allegheny with one gone. That was followed by a walk and a Pedro inning ending DP. Worley struck out the side in the fourth, giving up a tapper single on the right side in between whiffs. Marte bombed another long ball, and two outs later Vanimal doubled. He was stranded, too. the Pirates have left four runners on; all four have been in scoring position.

The Braves went down in order in the fifth. Russ walked with two outs; Pedro bounced out softly to first to end it. Atlanta got two guys on in the sixth on an error and a ball off a glove, but Worley left them stranded. Starling and Travis Snider opened with doubles; Marte didn't score, apparently he thought Snider's ball was going to be caught and was going the wrong way when it hit the grass. Brent Morel K'ed. It really hurt when Luis Avilan came on the face Ike; Davis lined one to third and Snider was doubled off second. The Bucs just keep giving runs away tonight.

Jeanmar Gomez came on in the seventh; Vanimal gave the Bucs some innings and put up some zeroes to go with eight whiffs. Gomez, with help of a DP, worked a quiet inning. After an out, David Hale was waved in and got a second one before walking The Kid, but Russ tapped out to end the frame.

In the eighth, a pair of bloops and a liner loaded the bases for the Bravos with an out. That rang the phone for John Axford. A sac fly brought in another tally, followed by a K. Good job, wrong order. James Russell came on, and though he was squared up a couple of times, all the balls found gloves for a 1-2-3 inning.

Justin Wilson took the ball in the ninth, and the Braves got another soft-serve knock, this one by Freddy Freeman. It was followed by a strikeout, single, pop out, and the circle was broken by a ground out to tuck Atlanta away. No squared up balls this time around; Russell got the Bucs on a whiff, soft roller and garden variety 6-3 to ice the Bravo win.

It was a huge hole to start out, and especially so when you're bleeding runs away by bad fielding and bad base running; a 1-for-7 RISP showing didn't help. Well, Cutch plans to be back tomorrow and Frankie's on the hill, so things are looking up. We're curious to see if Clint sits Travis, who's been on a roll, or Polanco, who's been in a 1-for-24 funk.

Francisco Liriano goes against Aaron Harang tomorrow night.
  • The Kid's on-the-hop splasher was the first time Walker hit the Allegheny and the 35th time it has been done. It traveled 432' and was his 17th home run, a career single-season high.
  • This was the second career two-homer game for Starling Marte. His first was on June 25th, 2013 at Seattle.
  • An argument for the DH: Vance Worley’s double was the first extra-base by a Pirate pitcher since Erik Bedard's two-bagger against Ross Ohlendorf and the Padres on August 12th, 2012 at PNC.
  • This is the sixth game in a row that the opposition has had a three-run or better inning against the Bucs.
  • Via Elias Sports: Tonight marked the first time the Braves hit back-to-back HR to open a road game in 77 years, since 1937 v Cubs.
  • The Braves snapped an eight game road losing streak. Tonight was their first road win since July 13th.
  • Tonight's attendance was 31,679, not bad for a Monday night and five-game losing streak..
  • Clint Barmes played 10 innings and went 2-for-6 at Altoona. Now his rehab is going to continue at Indy tonight, so he's another one that should be rejoining the roster shortly.
  • Matt Snyder of CBS Sports doesn't think Cutch's return will be enough, given the Pirates pitching issues.
  • Per Matt Eddy of Baseball America, RHP Michael Clemens received a 68-game suspension for "possession and use of hGH." He's a 17th-rd pick from McNeese State in this year's draft. The 21 year old had three saves for Bristol of the Appalachian League with a 1.00 ERA.

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