Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bucs Broom the Bosox 3-2

Gerrit Cole worked a solid 1-2-3 opening frame. Josh led off with a single against Brandon Workman, but was rather easily tossed out trying to steal. Travis drew a walk, and Boston's Will Middlebrooks made up for the CS by booting Cutch's ball to third. The Kid K'ed looking - ump Mike Muchlinski has a pretty wide strike zone - and Starling legged out a single to short. Ike drew a full-count walk for an RBI the easy way. Jordy went down on a uninspired at-bat with the Bucs up 1-0. Coulda been a big frame, but two whiffs and a caught stealing didn't help the cause much.

Three grounders, three outs in the second for the Cole Train, who has been filling up the strike zone in the early going. Stew fished for a couple and became the third punch out, and Cole quickly became the fourth. Josh collected his second single of the night, followed by a Travis swinging K. Workman does have some tools - a big, sweeping knuckle curve with a tight, sinking fastball/cutter combo.

Christian Vazquez singled with one down in the third and was bunted to second. Mookie Betts got ahead 3-0, took two fastballs for strikes and then rolled the third into center to tie the score. He stole second, but Cole, falling behind Xander Bogaerts 3-1, got him to bounce out to third. Cutch and The Kid grounded out, and Marte's drive to center was pulled in at the track in front of the 399' mark.

With two gone in the fourth, Daniel Nava singled to left, and Middlebrooks banged a 2-0 heater to right through the shift to put Bosox on the corners. Jackie Bradley Jr. flew out to prevent any damage.

Ike drilled a 3-2 heater off Workman's mitt and it went for an infield single; they may have still got the out, but Big Papi, at first, couldn't handle the hurried throw. Jordy smacked a 1-2 curve up the line to left for a two bagger, putting Bucs at second and third. Stew sent a cutter to center to plate Ike. Cole went up swinging and went down after coming up empty. Josh popped out, jammed on the first pitch. Travis bounced out, and the Bucs let Workman off the hook again.

The fifth was a clean inning for Gerrit, with a pair of K. Cutch led off with a walk and was quickly removed when Walker pounded into a 6-3 DP; Bogaerts was perfectly positioned for The Kid's ball up the middle. Pity, as Marte par-tayed by banging a fastball into the lower LF bleachers. Ike tapped back to the hill with Pittsburgh up 3-1.

Cole punched out a pair on the way to an easy sixth inning; he's showing last year's form when he got stronger as the game went on *knock on wood*.  Alex Wilson took the ball for Boston and retired the bottom of the order. The seventh is usually a mile too far for Gerrit, but not tonight as he sat down the Red Sox in order, with help from a sweet wall-climbing catch by Cutch. Junichi Tazawa climbed the hill and sat the Bucs down without breaking a sweat.

After ten in a row, Cole toed the rubber in the eighth to face the 8-9-1 hitters while Gregory Polanco took over the chores in right. Vazquez ended the streak when he poked a slider off Ike's mitt for a lead off single on a ball that's usually pulled in. Garin Cecchini hit and yanked a fastball to right to put Red Sox on the corners.

That brought Tony Watson in. Betts fouled a mistake fastball down the middle, then popped out to right. After four sinkers to Bogaerts, Tony tried to slip a change past him, but Xander caught enough of it to lift a sac fly to center. Big Papi went down on four pitches, and the Bucs have three outs to go with a 3-2 lead.

Lefty Drake Britton took his turn, and after two fly outs, Gaby hit for Ike. Righty Burke Badenhof was waved in to face him. Good choice; Gaby popped out foul behind the plate. Mark the Shark circled.

It wasn't an auspicious start as he plunked Allen Craig to open the frame, and Jermile Weeks went in to run. Nava rolled a cutter left over the plate into center to put Bosox at first and third. Sometimes grounders find gloves; sometimes grass.

Middlebrooks bounced a chopper to third; it hit Weeks, who dove from foul territory back to the bag, and he was ruled out for interference. The Red Sox argued; the call was made by the plate ump as the third base ump was blocked out by Weeks and Josh, but it stood (and was the right call; Weeks got caught in a bad position and made it worse). Bradley K'ed looking and Vazquez bounced to second, and it was just another routine save in the books for Melancon.

Well, the Bucs left some ducks on the pond, and those lost opportunities made it a little tense at the end. But they got seven good innings after a sluggish start from Cole and eked out just enough production. The Cubs and Red Sox were playing out the string; the next three games against the Brewers are what September is all about.

Jeff Locke gets the call to open the Milwaukee series against Yovani Gallardo.

  • Pittsburgh won its 82 game for consecutive winning seasons.
  • The Bucs drew 36,682 fans tonight.

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