Friday, August 22, 2014

Two-Out Josh Drives Bucs To 8-3 Win Over Brew Crew

Yovani Gallardo had an easy first; except for a two-out boot, he was in control. Jeff Locke walked Jonathan Lucroy with an out. He worked exclusively upstairs on Ryan Braun, and he ripped a 3-2 change that hung over the upper part of the strike zone over the wall in left center to put the Brew Crew up 2-0. Aramis Ramirez walked, but was erased on a 6-4-3 DP hit into by Khris Davis. Ump Gerry Davis has called a pretty tight strike zone for both guys; that figures to hurt Locke, who lives on the edges, more than Gallardo.

Russ reached on another Brewer boot to lead off the second, followed by a walk to Gaby. Starling worked a lengthy at-bat and drew another walk off Gallardo. Jordy got ahead 2-0, got a juicy fastball and lifted it to fairly deep center to bring home Martin. Locke couldn't move them up, but Josh could. He doubled in a pair, sending a fastball into the right center gap off the wall and just over Braun for two bases to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead. Travis worked the count full, but never saw the deciding pitch; Josh was picked off second, which is becoming a bad habit with him, and it was registered as a caught stealing. Locke worked a clean frame.

Snider flew out short of the track in center to open the third, followed by an infield knock by Cutch. He motored home on The Kid's triple up the first base line to make it 4-2. Russ walked, but Gaby spoiled the party by rolling a slider down and away to second for a 4-3 DP; good idea but bad aim as the right side was wide open. Milwaukee was retired in order.

Starling started the fourth with a single; Jordy's hot shot to third, nicely flagged down by A-Ram, moved him up a station. An out later, Josh came up big again, flipping a slider into center and taking second on the throw home as Marte made it 5-2; they had a much better shot at Harrison. He stayed there as Travis bounced out. Ramirez broke an eight-out streak by the Brewers by drawing a one-out walk. Davis lined a 3-2 change short of the track in left that Marte pulled in. Ricky Weeks banged another change to left for a double, with Ramirez holding up at third. Mark Reynolds roped another change to left at Marte to end the frame; could be Locke might want to show another pitch pretty soon.

The Pirates kept adding on as Cutch drilled a fastball yard to right center, a 438' shot, to open the fifth. Two outs later, Gaby beat out his annual infield knock and was forced by Jordy. Jean Segura walked to start the Brew Crew half. Gallardo flew out; he's hit a couple of pretty good balls off Locke. Then something you don't see often happened. Carlos Gomez fouled out to Gaby - and somehow Segura managed to get doubled off first; maybe he thought the ball was going to drop fair. At any rate, thank you kindly, Jean!

Marco Estrada took the bump for the Brewers in the sixth, and got two whiffs and a soft liner to tuck the Bucs away. A-Ram walked with two down, and Davis waited out a free pass next. He fell behind Weeks 2-0, fooled him on a change, and escaped the inning when Ricky hit a ball in the hole; Jordy made the heads-up play and barely forced A-Ram at third. The Brewers challenged that Josh's foot was off the bag, but the call stood as there was no good replay angle to overturn the call. The Bucs may have dodged a bullet with that ruling.

With an out in the seventh, The Kid spanked a fastball away into left center for a two-bagger, but was left aboard. Jared Hughes raced in to take the ball.  With two gone, one turned on a nice grab by Josh at the hot corner o, pinch hitter Lyle Overbay drilled a 3-2 fastball up the middle for a single. Carlos Gomez flew out on the next pitch to sit down the Brewers.

Brandon Kintzler took the hill in the eighth. Marte opened by reaching on the Brewer's third boot of the night. The Brewers pitched out; Starling still stole second. A bouncer to short froze him, and Pedro grabbed a stick. He fouled off a fastball and swung through a pair of change ups *sigh*. But Josh likes two out pressure; he swung at ball four on a 3-2 count and yanked it up the line and over the left field wall to give Pittsburgh an 8-2 cushion.

John Axford took the bump against his old mates. After an out, Braun fought off a heater and sent it into right for a single. A-Ram took a 3-2 heater to right to put Brewers on the corners. Davis went down chasing high heat, but Weeks banged a grounder into right to score Braun before Reynolds grounded out to first. You can see Milwaukee knows him; they were patient and went with the pitch; four of the five hitters that put the ball in play took it to the right side as Axford likes to work up and on the outside half.

Old Bucco Tom Gorzelanny came in for the ninth. Russ rolled a single up the middle with two gone before Gbay flew out to end the frame. Justin Wilson took the ball and walked Gerardo Parro and Gomez back-to-back with one gone, just what you don't want to see with a five run lead, especially with the heart of the order coming up. He found the strike zone and got Lucroy to fly out to right. Braun bounced the next pitch to short, where Jordy made a nice snatch and Gaby a nice pick, to give the Bucs the first game of a big series.

Josh had his Superman cape on tonight, and Starling scored three times. The Bucs played very nice D, while the Brewers...well, didn't. The pitching still has to be a concern. Locke gave up two runs on two hits, but six walks and no K don't bode well as he was elevated and off the plate the whole six frames. Jared did what a reliever is supposed to, but Axford and Wilson had trouble throwing strikes with a big lead. But hey, it's a great start to the series, and the Bucs are in a stretch where they need to take series.

Edinson Volquez faces Wily Peralta tomorrow night.
  • Josh Harrison had a career-high five RBI tonight - and all with two outs.
  • Tony Sanchez played first tonight for Indy; it's the first time he's ever played the position as a pro.
  • Jose Tabata has had multi-hit games in eight of last 13 contests for Indy.

No comments: