After two were down in the second, Pedro walked and stole second. He needn't have bothered; Starling blasted a 3-2 cutter, up and over the outside half out of the yard in center to tie the game.
But uh-oh; Carlos Gomez doubled with two outs on a ball Cutch catches 99 times out of 100, and it cost a run when Jonathan Lucroy singled to right. Braun walked on four pitches and A-Ram rolled a single into right to plate another Brewer. Scooter Gennett followed with yet another single, but this one had a better ending as Braun was cut down at home by Gregory Polanco. Eleven batters (nine for the Brew Crew) have reached base already - and all after two outs!
Both sides went down in order in the third. With two away in the fourth, Russ singled, followed by a Pedro pop out. And with two Brewer outs, Lucroy doubled but Braun bounced out; both hurlers are getting a little better at recording that third out.
Marte opened the fifth with another sizzler to center, but Gomez ran this one down by the track. The next two outs were routine. Worley remained in his groove, sitting down the Brewers in order. The Pirates sat down quickly in the sixth. Gerardo Parro broke up the rhythm of the day by singling to lead off, and was bunted up but left stranded.
The Buc bats were a no-show in the seventh, too. With one gone, a Braun liner and a Ramirez bloop put Brewers at first and second. That was it for Vanimal as Justin Wilson took the ball. He channeled his inner Jared Hughes and had his second pitch rolled to short for an inning-killing 6-4-3 DP.
Jeremy Jeffress took over for Fiers in the eighth. Jordy singled with one away, but Ike and Josh couldn't cash him in. Mark the Shark got some work. After a liner to Jordy, Parra singled on a bunt and tried to go to second when Russ' throw to first got away, but The Kid was backing up and nailed him at second. A whiff ended the frame.
Francisco Rodriguez took over in the ninth, looking for the save. Travis flew out to begin things, then Cutch kept the team on life support, battling for ten pitches before sending some high cheese over the wall in left center. The Kid hit a tapper back to the mound, then Russ walked. Rodriguez stayed soft on Pedro and put him away on three pitches. Seems like everyone but Pedro knew he wasn't seeing a fastball..
Well, if the Bucs had continued their otherwordly defensive play - and they did make a handful of nice saves behind Worley - it may have been different. Maybe not; after yesterday's bloop barrage by the Bucs, the Brew Crew was due for a couple of seeing-eye hits themselves. And once again, the Pirates had problems with a soft tosser. Even a little harder to see was Gregory Polanco remain in his hitting funk; he batted three times and K'ed three times to cap a 1-for-30 stretch.
Still, they took the series, which was the goal, and didn't lose ground to anyone but Milwaukee (Atlanta, St. Louis and the G-Men lost). So strap 'em up and get after those Redbirds. They play St. Louis six of the next nine games, so there's a lot on the line in the near future.
Francisco Liriano opens the Card series against John Lackey at PNC tomorrow night.
- Pedro is 8-for-10 stealing bases this year; he was 4-for-4 in his career before this season.
- The Pirates have claimed LHP Bobby LaFromboise off waivers from San Diego and optioned him to Indy. He's a 27 year old reliever with a fastball/change combo and what's been described as a "funky" sidearm delivery who had a cup of coffee with Seattle in 2013. IF Tommy Field was DFA'ed to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.