Josh was in full swing mode against Tom Koehler, and it paid off on the seventh pitch when he doubled off McGehee's glove at third. Gregory Polanco followed with a five pitch walk, and Russ joined him after a 3-2 fastball stayed downstairs. Ike drilled a heater to left center, where it hopped the wall for a ground rule two bagger. Starling Marte left the runners at second and third when he rolled a shoe-top curve back to the box. Travis Snider bounced out to second to bring Martin home, and Jordy plated Ike with a first pitch knock to right. Michael Martinez bounced out, but Locke has a big 4-1 pad to work with.
With an out in the second, Jeff Mathis banged a two-strike change up into center for a single. Koehler bunted him along. He needn't have bothered; Christian Yelich yanked a fastball that missed getting in on the hands and stayed on the corner over the wall in right. Adeiny Hechavarria whiffed a batter too late; it's 4-3. Koehler worked a quick and easy frame.
Baker singled with two outs in the third before Ozuna bounced out to close the frame. After two fly outs, Marte took a walk, but was thrown out stealing on the next pitch. Locke tossed his first 1-2-3 frame in the fourth, thanks to Jordy and his sweet throw on a Mathis bouncer in the hole. Koehler is picking up steam; he whiffed two of the three Bucs he faced.
Jeff sat down the Fish in the fifth. With an out, Josh singled, the first Buc knock since the opening bell. Polanco went down looking at a curve. Josh stole second with Russ up, but he popped out to end it. The Fish went three up, three down on a pair of K and a fly in the sixth. Ike opened with a walk and Starling dropped a perfecto bunt base hit. Travis took the air out of the balloon by bouncing back to the mound for a 1-6-3 DP. Jordy got a hung curve, but was way ahead of it and tapped out to third to end the music.
The Fish were hooked in order in the seventh. Chris Hatcher came in for Miami. After an out, Locke - he may be batting because of the short bench - rolled a single up the middle. Josh followed with a knock to left. LHP Mike Dunn took the hill to face El Coffee, who smacked his first pitch to third for a force. Russ worked the count full, thanks to getting a call on a check swing, and got a pair of fastballs at the belt; he fouled the first one and roped the second into left, chasing Polanco to third and plating Josh.
Gaby hit for Ike and took an 0-2 fastball to right for a double, bringing home two more runs. Marte chopped one to short, but stayed alive as Hechavarria booted it. Travis popped out along the LF line, and Dunn got his two lefties, but the righties in the middle did him in as the Bucs are up 7-3.
Now Tony Watson comes in, with a four run lead; prob no time to get any else loose with the two out lightning. Two K and a grounder later, the Bucs were at bat in the eighth. Sam Dyson took the bump for the Marlins and punched out the bottom third of the order; Watson even hit.
Mark the Shark came in for the ninth; we're at a loss as to what Clint's thinking since the Bucs go a solid two weeks before another off day, and if Cutch and The Kid are out for any stretch, the games promise to be grinders. After a K and soft bounce out, Ozuna singled up the middle. Garrett Jones grabbed a stick and drove a 3-2 cutter to the track in right where El Coffee snuggled it in his glove, and the Pirates evened the series at a game apiece.
OK, we know what Clint was thinking with Melancon; it was only his second appearance of the month and a low-leverage blow to knock of the rust was in order. Watson, we're not sure about except that no one else was warming up. But at any rate, the short-handed Buccos banged their way to a 7-3 win and look to take the series tomorrow. Locke was solid except for the pitch to Yelich that he didn't run in far enough, but plate ump Bill Miller was generous with his corners, and that's Jeff's cup of tea. So we'll see how he fares down the road.
Edinson Volquez goes up against
- Josh wasted no time building his hitting streak to 10 games; nine have included an extra base hit. he had three knocks, with a double, two runs scored and a stolen base.
- The Bucs are 18-for-18 when scoring in the first inning.
- The Pirate bench tonight was basically Gaby and Jayson Nix; Stew will be kept for emergency purposes only as the second catcher while Cutch and The Kid are on ice.
- This is the first time since 2010 that Cutch has missed consecutive games.
- 26,976 fans were on hand tonight.