Friday, August 8, 2014

Vanimal, Josh Lead Bucs To 2-1 Victory Over Friars

Bad start for Vanimal; he gave Everth Cabrera a 1-2 heater  down and in, and Cabrera fought it off for a soft opposite field double. He was bunted to third and Seth Smith small-balled to perfection with a sac fly to left. Another fly ended the frame.

Josh got a 3-1 fastball from Ian Kennedy and ripped it into right center for a leadoff triple, missing a big fly by a foot. He trotted home after Gregory Polanco smacked a curve into right for a single. El Coffee stole second and went to third when the throw got away. Big base, as he came in on an Ike sac fly.Starling Marte drew a free pass, but Travis Snider went down on three pitches, with the Pirates up 2-1.

Yonder Alonso opened the second with a  knock to Ike; Vanimal couldn't cover in time as he was busy dodging Alonso's broken bat. Will Venable got hit by a 2-2 pitch, but Rene Rivera bounced one to third for a 5-4-3 DP to ease the pressure. Alexi Amarista was pesky, but went down swinging at a buried slider in a nice bit of work by Worley. Kennedy pitched a clean inning.

With two gone, Yangervis Solarte turned on a cutter and singled to right. Smith went the opposite way again, and Travis was there again for the grab. Josh opened by drilling a fastball up the middle, and Polanco followed by driving the next pitch to right for a double with Harrison holding at third. Russ drew a five pitch walk to load the sacks. Ike went down swinging. Marte hit a looper to short; Cabrera gloved it and flipped to second behind El Coffee to end the inning. Not very heads up running by Gregory and not very clutch hitting by Ike and Starling.

Worley worked a quiet fourth, as did Kennedy. Vanimal tossed a 1-2-3 fifth behind nice plays by Jordy and Jayson Nix. Josh worked a one out walk, but quickly negated it; he was caught stealing on a pitch out. Worse, Josh was hurt as Cabrera tumbled over his leg on the play; Harrison walked back to the bench very gingerly. El Coffee singled and Russ followed with an infield knock, but Ike's tapper left two more on.

Josh came out to man the hot corner; so it looks like the Bucs may have dodged another injury bullet. We'll see for sure tomorrow if being a gamer got the better of discretion. Cabrera singled to right to open the sixth. Worley made a two strike mistake to Solarte, giving him a heater down the middle, and he drilled it into center. Smith drew a walk, and now it's San Diego's turn to hit with the bases jammed and no one out.

Jedd Gyorko helped the Bucco cause immensely; he hit the next pitch to Josh, who went home to start a 5-2-3 DP. Alonso lifted a soft fly to Snider on the next pitch, and now both teams have dropped a tear in their beer. Snider singled for the Bucs in their half, but nothing came of it.

Vance had to work a little in the seventh, but it was good work - he struck out the side. Dale Thayer took the hill, and got Pedro, who hit for Vanimal, to pop out. Josh remained incredible, banging a liner up the middle and off Thayer's mitt for a knock. With two down, Russ tried to add, but his drive to center was hauled in just in front of the 399' mark.

Tony Watson took the bump in the eighth and neatly tucked the Friars away. Blaine Boyer took the bump for SD and sat the Bucs down in order. Mark the Shark took the ball against the middle of the Padre lineup and he struck out the side. Good pitching, good win.

Dunno what Neal Huntington was thinking when he brought Vance Worley to town, but we sure wish he'd think that way more often. Vanimal is now 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA. And let's not forget Josh; he went 3-for-3 with a walk and started a pair of no-out DPs to save Vance's bacon.

Tomorrow night's match up features Francisco Liriano v Eric Stults.
  • Josh Harrison extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Josh now has a MLB-leading 54 total bases since the All-Star break. Russ also ran his hitting streak up to seven games.
  • Josh and El Coffee went 6-for-7 with a walk at the top of the order and scored both Bucco runs.
  • The Bucs reinstated Pedro Alvarez from the bereavement list and DFA'ed RHP Ernesto Frieri. That means the Pirates are down one in the bullpen, trying, we assume, to cover for Cutch being out by bulking up the bench. The press gang also reported that El Toro took infield at third and then moved across the diamond to get some work in at first.
  • The Pirates are now 62-53, a season high of nine games over .500. Another streak intact: the club is 19-for-19 when scoring in the first inning.
  • Tonight's attendance of 38,088 was the 13th sellout of the season.
  • Brandon Cumpton was slated to start today, but was pulled after warming up. No mention of an injury, so the tea leaves point toward him joining the big club again with Frieri gone.

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