Friday, August 29, 2014

Josh & Eddie Carry the Bucs To 2-1 Win

It was 1-2-3 for Edinson Volquez in the first, and almost as easy for Mike Leake. Josh blooped a single to lead off, but JT hit into a 6-4-3 DP even with Josh on the move, and Cutch bounced out. Devin Mesoraco got hit with a curve to open the second, but never moved up. Leake tossed a clean frame. Plate ump Fieldin Culbreth's strike zone is generous, so Leake has been working the edges and down.

Eddie was dealing in the third with a routine grounder and pair of called K's. After Starling failed to drag bunt his way aboard, Jordy legged out an infield knock. Eddie whiffed trying to move him up; bunts are not working very well this frame. No diff; Josh sent a fly to deep center but Billy Hamilton gloved it on the track.

Volquez worked another quick frame; he's at 41 pitches after four IP. Cutch dropped a soft one-out single to center. He didn't last long; The Kid bounced into a 6-4-3 DP to end the frame. with two gone in the fifth, the Reds got their first base runner when Scott Schumaker walked, but Zach Cozart's tapper to the hill ended it quietly. The Pirates went down in order.

Hamilton drew a one-out walk in the sixth with a patient, nine-pitch at-bat. He stole second and went to third when Russ' throw got away. Eddie came up big by whiffing Todd Frazier. Brandon Phillips cracked a liner on the next pitch, but Josh was there for the grab and the Reds had another zero. With two outs, Josh turned on a fastball for a ground rule double, becoming the first Pirate to reach second base. JT singled into the shortstop hole to put runners on the corners. Cutch went after the first pitch, a high and tight heater, and popped out to third to kill the first Bucco threat of the night.

Mesoraco got the first Cincy hit when he rolled a 2-2 curve into left in the seventh. Bruce followed with an infield knock; The Kid knocked it down but couldn't finish. The pressure eased some when Josh dove to grab Kris Negron's grounder, reached down to tag third and went across the diamond for a DP in a spectacular play. Schumaker walked as Eddie may be running out of gas after 95 pitches, but he had enough left in the tank to fan Cozart. Ike singled with two down, but Starling lined out to the box in a "look what I found" snag by Leake.

Volquez surprisingly came back out at 98 pitches to face Leake and the top of the order in the eighth; we can only assume Clint is giving him a last chance for a win. Chris Heisey hit for the pitcher, tho Leake was at just 82 pitches, and bounced out to first. Hamilton singled; you hate having him aboard in a game like this. He stole second, and was frozen there as Frazier grounded out to Jordy.

Phillips was HBP on a tight change, the one pitch that Eddie hasn't thrown well tonight. The Pirates challenged; tho it may have hit the knob of the bat before the hand, the ruling stood. That was it for Volquez, who pitched a great game - three hits, three walks, two HBP and six K after 7-2/3 IP and 114 pitches with his best curve of the season - as Tony Watson came in to face Mesoraco. He got a 1-2 sinker that was up and over the plate and blooped it into left; Marte overran the ball and Hamilton scored, although Phillips was cut down at home when a hustling Josh recovered a misplayed relay. Clint's gamble with Eddie backfired.

Jordy lined out against Jonathan Broxton, and Andrew Lambo hit for Watson. He singled sharply off Frazier's glove at first. The next pitch was a fastball down the middle, and Josh shot it into right for a triple to tie the game. It's a big at bat for JT, who hasn't hit the ball out of the infield tonight. But he picked a good time to find some grass, chopping a ball through the drawn-in left side to give the Bucs the lead. Broxton got Cutch and The Kid, but the Bucs now have the lead 2-1.

Mark the Shark took the ball in the ninth to face the Reds' 5-6-7 hitters. Melancon got a whiff, a liner to Josh and a bouncer to Jordy as the Bucs took game one.

Go figure - the guy who pitched 7-2/3 innings and left the mound with a shutout gets a no decision, while the guy that faced one batter and gave up a go-ahead run on a knock gets the win. Still, no doubt that Eddie and Josh carried the team tonight. This was one of Volquez's top outings and Josh made play after play in the field - forget Pedro ever returning to third -  while his triple (one of three hits) was the key to win; he was Superman in Black & Gold tonight. Great start to the series; hopefully the Pirates can keep it going and not see Aroldis Chapman at all this series.

Vance Worley (5-4, 3.14) takes on Alfredo Simon (13-8, 3.26) tomorrow afternoon. And if you're coming and don't have a pre-paid parking spot, drop the jalopy off in town and take the bridge; the North Shore lots are sold out with the Pitt game also going on.
  • Starling Marte's hit string ended at six.
  • The Pirates recalled OF Andrew Lambo from Indy and optioned pitcher Gerrit Cole to the Bristol Pirates. It's a paper move to give the Bucs an extra bat while Pedro and Travis are on the mend; the Cole Train will be back on the roster Monday, when it's his turn in the rotation.
  • Josh Harrison was awarded the Heart & Hustle honor in a pre-game ceremony. Fitting and well deserved, we'd say.
  • Tonight's crowd of 37,209 was the 16th sellout of the season.
  • IF Tommy Field cleared waivers and was optioned back to Indy.

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