Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bucs Explode Late To Blast Snakes 9-4

Vidol Nuno had a pretty sharp first, giving up just an infield single to Cutch. Dave Peralta got a one-out knock of Eidnson Volquez, and that was all the Snake damage. In the second, the Bucs went down in order. Mark Trumbo led off with a knock for the D-Backs, but went nowhere. Pittsburgh went down without a peep in the third; ditto for the Diamondbacks. Lotta good pitching so far.

1-2-3 for the Bucs in the fourth. It's been simple for soft-tossing Nuno so far - get ahead with the fastball and get the out with something off speed. With an out, Miguel Montero pulled a hook over third for a double, but a whiff and a grounder kept him parked at second.

Russ drew a one-out walk in the fifth, and Gregory Polanco followed with another, then Brent Morel went down looking, a major no-no with an out, runners on and the pitcher due up. At least Eddie hit the ball, bouncing out to third.

Didi Gregorius opened for the Snakes with a knock up the middle. An out later, Nuno missed on a pair of bunt tries, but Volquez uncorked a wild pitch to move the runner over all the way to third. The D-Backs challenged, claiming it hit Nuno, and won. He looked like he was trying to bunt, so it should have been a strike, but neither NY (in fairness, that wasn't the challenge made) nor the four guys in blue saw it. It really hurt when Ender Inciarte banged a curve over the right center wall to make it 3-0. Peralta walked, and it's unraveling for Eddie. After a fly, Peralta stole second and went to third when Russ' toss missed the mark. It cost as another wild pitch brought him home. Volquez won a nine pitch battle with Montero, getting him to ground out.

Jordy doubled with an out in the sixth. Cutch lined out, but Gaby picked him up with an RBI knock to make it 4-1 before Russ ended the frame. Trumbo went with a change up away and poked it into right for a leadoff single. Russ made amends for his bad throw last inning by nailing Trumbo on an aborted hit-and-run. Gregorius walked an out later, followed by Marte fouling off a boatload of pitches before singling to left. Roger Kieschnick grabbed a bat, and Justin Wilson got the call to face him, getting a ground out. Ike also entered the game in a double-switch.

Randall Delgado took the ball in the seventh and put the Pirates away handily. With an out, Peralta dropped a soft single into left. A punchout and fly out took care TCB.

With an out in the eighth, Josh got a first pitch heater down the middle and ripped it into right center for a triple that just about left the yard, but an ump review confirmed the park held it by a foot or two. Jordy worked a walk, and Cutch doubled in a run on another first-pitch fastball; it was another shot that kissed high off the wall.

Pedro came up to hit and lefty Eury De La Rosa entered. El Toro won the duel, cranking a 2-2 fastball to center for a two run, game tying two bagger. After The Kid flew out, Russ was intentionally walked to get to Polanco, who legged out an infield knock to juice the sacks. But De La Rosa finally got a lefty as Travis Snider, who is now in left, popped out. Tony Watson got the ball. Clint is finally showing a little flexibility in how he uses the pen and it paid off with a nine pitch, 1-2-3 frame.

De La Rosa stayed on to get Ike on a comebacker, then righty Bo Schultz climbed the hill. Josh greeted him by banging a fastball up the line for a double. Bo tried another heater in the same place to Jordy; same result, as Mercer lined a double into the corner to chase Josh home. Not too surprisingly, Cutch was intentionally walked. The Bucs dug deep and sent up Michael Martinez, who rolled a single up the middle to plate Jordy.

The Kid K'ed, swinging through a 97 MPH full count challenge pitch down the middle. Russ fell behind 0-2, then got a slider up that he spanked into left to bring in a motoring Cutch. El Coffee slapped one to third and off Marte's glove for another infield knock to load the bases. Snider lined the next pitch into right to bring in two more runs; Schultz is being hung out to dry in his first MLB outing by Kirk Gibson. He finally K'ed Ike, and the Bucs had turned a 4-0 hole into a 9-4 lead.

Ernesto Frieri took the bump. with an out, he plunked Goldschmidt, which can't make the D-Backs happy after the past couple of innings. We'll see if there's any payback tomorrow night. He went to second on defensive indifference, and stayed there after a pop and K. Ernesto threw 16 pitches; one was a slider and *gasp* one a change up! he was up in the zone, but had movement again on his fastball.

And it was a classic Kirk Gibson ending with both teams meeting in the middle of the field after the game, and not to exchange handshakes. But after a bit of yapping, led by Gibson on one side and Russ for the Buccos, the scrum dissolved. Still, Cutch may want to put on a suit of armor before he bats tomorrow.

Last night, Buc pitching gave up the first homer of the season to two guys; tonight, Inciarte hit his second. An error and wild pitch after a walk bled another run. But the Bucs don't mail in games; they grind all nine innings and some nights, like tonight, it pays off. It was a good win and keeps them 2-1/2 games behind the resurgent Brew Crew in the NL Central and puts them into the second wild card spot.

Vance Worley (4-1, 2.54) meets Chase Anderson (6-4, 3.34) tomorrow.

  • The top of the order - Josh, Jordy and Cutch - had six hits, two walks scored seven times and drove in a pair. That's setting the table.
  • Edinson Volquez and Tony Watson share the team lead in victories with eight. 
  • If the name Vidal Nuno sounds familiar, you're a committed local baseball fan - he pitched for the Washington Wild Things in 2011.
  • Gerrit Cole's start has been delayed until he works another side session. It could mean anything from some extra work - he did give up seven hits in his first rehab start - to adjusting his turn in the rotation when he does come off the DL.

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