Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brewers Stay Alive With 1-0 Win

Scooter Gennett doubled off Edinson Volquez with one gone in the first, but always-in-hot-water Eddie stranded him at third. The Bucs had a quick start against Matt Garza, with a one-out Travis two bagger, wild pitch and walk to Cutch. But Neil Walker and Russ both flared soft liners to Gennet at second, so both sides left something on the table.

In the second, Lyle Overbay banged a two-out double; Eddie whiffed Hector Gomez to strand him. Starling led off with a bunt single, but even with a ump review going in Pittsburgh's favor to foil a DP, Pittsburgh couldn't move him. So far, lots of runners but no runs.

Volquez walked his mound opponent of five pitches to open the third. After a fly and a force, Jonathan Lucroy drew a full count free pass. He came back to get Aramis Ramirez, who chased a 3-2 change for the final out. With two down, Cutch got drilled with a fastball, right in his sore left side, just to become the fourth Bucco stranded after a Walker tap-out in front of the plate.

Eddie buzzed Ryan Braun to start the fourth, the benches were warned, and Braun K'ed. Khris Davis flew out to the track, and Overbay hit a soft roller that Volquez threw away; he cost himself a pair of runs last game with a similar error. Overbay stole second (his second swipe of the year; Edinson is kinda snoozing lately. But he woke up in time to whiff Gomez again.

Russ led off with a double, but Starling was caught looking at a ball that was called a strike. Ike got a 3-2 heater down the middle; he bounced it to short for the second out, with Russ taking third. It was a big out as Jordy was walked intentionally. He swiped second, but Eddie K'ed.

After a Garza K to start the fifth, Carlos Gomez bombed one to left center, but it into The Notch where Cutch ran it down. Jordy climbed the ladder to pull in Gennett's liner and it was a 1-2-3 inning. After two strikouts and a 1-2 count on Cutch, Garza drilled him again in the left arm, getting himself tossed. The benches didn't clear, but the Bucs were at the top step. Ump Marty Foster behind the plate kept the peace, managing to keep Josh, Travis and Gerrit Cole on their leashes. Marco Estrada took Garza's place on the hill. He didn't have to work long; Cutch was caught stealing on the second pitch.

Lucroy led off the sixth with a single. A fly out, a nice force by a diving Jordy who flipped to The Kid and a liner TCB nicely. Estrada spun an easy inning. Overbay walked to open the seventh; the Bucs can't keep him off the sacks. Gomez K'ed for the third time, this time trying to bunt. Gerardo Parra hit for Estrada, and rolled one to short for a 6-4-3 DP; like Josh last night, Jordy is scooping up everything hit his way tonight.

Jeremy Jeffress took the bump. Ike flew out to right and Jordy lined out to center before pinch hitter Andrew Lambo singled to center and Josh chased him to third with a lined two strike knock to center. lefty Will Smith was waved in; Clint sent JT up for Travis. Gregory Polanco ran for Lambo, but Josh finished off the inning. He broke for second, was picked off, and tried to get into a rundown. Overbay at first base didn't bite; he pumped to second, Polanco broke home on the fake (the second baserunning blunder of the play; he has to make Overbay throw) and was easy pickings at the dish.

Tony Watson got the eighth inning call. Gomez tried to bunt his way on, but popped to Josh. Rickie Weeks hit and singled off Josh's mitt. Lucroy hit back to Tony; his throw to second was off line, putting Brewers at first and second. No prob; A-Ram rolled the next sinker to The Kid, who started a 4-6-3 DP.

Brandon Kintzler got the call, and Brent Morel greeting him with a swinging bunt single up the third base line. Chase d'Arnaud ran for him, and Cutch walked. The Kid's tapper moved the runners up, and Russ was walked intentionally. In and guarding the line, A-Ram had Marte's liner come right to him; d'Arnaud did well to get back to third. Lefty Zach Duke got the call to face Ike, and Gaby got the nod to hit for Ike. Gaby slammed one to short; Gomez bobbled the bullet, but it was hit hard enough for him to get Martin at second. Two shots, and both at 'em balls.

Mark the Shark took the hill for the ninth. Braun opened with a bouncer softly hit through the SS hole. Elian Herrera bunted into a force. Overbay did it again; with Gaby holding the runner, his one hopper just cleared Sanchez's mitt and went for a soft double; Herrera thought of heading home, but thought better of challenging Polanco's arm. Pinch hitter Matt Clark was intentionally walked. Another sub, Logan Shafer, lifted a pop fly to medium left; Marte threw a floater home and it went for a sac fly. Gomez whiffed, but the Bucs broke first; it's 1-0 Brew Crew.

Francisco Rodriguez came in for the save, and after getting a scare from Jordy, who flew out to right center just short of the Trib sign, he picked up a couple of routine bouncers to keep the Brewers alive.

Some games are just meant to be; the Bucs ripped a pair with the bases loaded and came up empty; The Brew Crew rode a pair of soft bouncers and a short fly to victory. There's no explaining how Garza put up goose eggs. The Brewers live for another day.

As for the beanballs, you'd think Garza was just working Cutch up and in; that's a hole in his swing, as it is with most MLB hitters and these games do count. But as the Ace of MLB Stats noted "Matt Garza had 2 HBP over his previous 874 batters faced, he hit McCutchen in consecutive plate appearances tonight." So there's that to consider.

For the rubber match, Vance Worley faces Wily Peralta in tomorrow afternoon's last regular season home game of 2014.
  • Russ Martin has an 11 game hitting streak and Josh extended his to eight games. 
  • This is the first game in his career that Cutch has been plunked twice. In an oddity, he got four plate appearances without an at bat, being hit twice and walked twice.
  • It was a fireworks night sellout at PNC with 39,027 warm fannies at the game.

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