Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Locke Rocked; Bucs Fall 6-4

Josh opened against Adam Wainwright by softly dropping an 0-2 curve into center for a knock. Andrew Lambo rolled over on another two strike hook, bouncing into a reviewed DP; at first, he had (wrongly) beat the rap. Cutch (surprise) got a two strike curve, too, and lined out to left.

Randall Grichuk singled to right with an out and Matt Holliday walked five pitches later. It took five more tosses to lose Jhonny Peralta and load the bases for the Birds. Matt Adams helped; he popped up on the next pitch, which was well inside. Locke escaped when Yadier Molina popped out to second, but Jeff's fastball better find the corner a lot better if he's to go deep tonight.

Russ got ahead 2-0 after one was gone in the second and got a sinker that he drilled over the right center wall to give the Bucs first blood. Two routine outs later, the Cards came up, and Daniel Descalso drew Locke's third walk of the last six batters. Peter Bourjas drove a hanging change into left for a knock. A fastball got through Russ for a passed ball, we're guessing on a cross-up, putting Redbirds at second and third.

Wainwright, who hits better than any of the utility infielders the Bucs had last week, rolled out softly after eight pitches with the infield back, scoring a run and advancing the back man. The infield came in for Matt Carpenter - seems kinda backwards to us - and he yanked a 3-2 change into right for a sac fly and the lead. It was a medium fly, and Gregory Polanco may have had a play, but Lambo's average arm missed by a half step; that's the trade off. Grichuk whiffed on Locke's 52nd pitch.

Jordy got a 2-1 sinker and creamed it over the left field wall to tie the game in the third. Lambo dropped a two out flare into left for a single. Cutch couldn't move him along, but it's even up now. Locke went soft this frame and got two K and a bouncer for a clean inning. The Cards yapped about the strike zone, getting the third base coach bounced; you'd think LaRussa was back in the dugout. Ump James Hoye has a generous zone tonight, and for both guys.

Ike singled with two down in the fourth; Starling tried to cash him in but his liner to right was corralled on a diving grab by Grichuk. Molina opened with a walk followed by a free pass to Descalso, both on 3-2 fastballs that missed. That at least got the bullpen up; we would have had them tossing after the Molina walk. Bourjos whacked a hung curve into left; the runners ended up at second and third on Marte's off-line throw home. Wainwright singled them both home; he has three RBI now.

This inning is on Clint Hurdle; he left Locke in way too long, especially with the deep September bullpen. He waved in Brandon Cumpton, who hasn't been on the mound since August 19th. After catching Carpenter looking, he gave up an opposite field knock to Grichuk. Holliday flew out to the right field corner with Lambo's running catch saving a pair of runs and Peralta lined out to Walker, but the Bucs are in a deep hole against Waino and the Cards at 5-2.

With two away in the fifth, Josh lashed a single to center, but Lambo bounced out; no chipping away this inning. One out was a give-away when Clint allowed Cumpton to bat. At least Brandon gave him a 1-2-3 frame on the hill. Wainwright tossed a quiet sixth. Cumpton plunked Carpenter with two down (Looked like Matt talked the ump into giving him the call), followed by a Grichuk knock, but Carpenter bounced out to close the gate.

Ike walked to open the seventh. Starling caught a cutter that ran over the plate and bombed it 441' into the left field stands; now it's a game again. Seth Maness took the ball and doused the rally. John Axford climbed the hill, and Peralta doubled on a ball that Cutch almost ran down in center, ticking off his mitt, to greet him. A grounder moved him to third and a wild pitch scored him. So much for the shutdown inning. Two routines outs, and it's 6-4.

Lambo opened the eighth with a double, and was froze at second on Cutch's ground out to third. The Kid's grounder moved him 90' away, and he died there as Russ went down swinging at a 3-2 change up. John Holdzkom got the call, and opened his career with a K/wild pitch to put Bourjos at first. That was evened out by a strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP thanks to a Bourjos overslide. Carpenter K'ed; looks like there's good reason for Holdzkom to get his September call-up.

Pat Neshek came out looking for the save, and got it routinely.

Jeff Locke's two seasons: Up to July 11th, eight starts, 56 IP, 6 walks, 2.89 ERA. From July 20th to today: nine starts, 52 IP, 26 walks, 4.54 ERA. 'Nuff said. The Brewers and Braves lost, and that's a half-empty glass - the Bucs didn't lose any ground to them, but blew a couple chances to gain.

Edinson Volquez takes on Shelby Miller in the get-away game tomorrow afternoon.
  • Josh has led off with a hit in three straight and four of the last five games.
  • Andrew Lambo has hit safely in his first five games since being promoted from Indy on Friday, and dating back to last year, he's hit safely in his last seven games with Pittsburgh.
  • Starling Marte is the first Pirate with 10+ HR & 25+ SB in consecutive seasons since Barry Bonds (1989-92). Cutch needs eight more stolen sacks to join the club, but his rib injury makes that improbable.
  • The Buccos have gone deep in eight straight games vs. St. Louis, with 13 long balls.
  • Adam Wainwright tied a pair of career highs tonight; most home runs allowed in a game at three and most RBI at the dish in a game, also three.
  • Cutch is this week's cover boy for Sports Illustrated.
  • Tony Watson (10-1) is the first Buc reliever to win 10+ games since Jeff Robinson went 11-5 in 1988.
  • The Pirates are 27-26 in one run games this year. Last year, they were 29-23.

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