Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bucs Back on the Bike With 6-3 Win Over Brew Crew

The Pirates put up an eighth inning three-spot against old bud Jonathan Broxton to break away from the Brewers on the road to a 6-3 win. The big frame was keyed by a two-run blast by Starling Marte, who launched a ball 451' feet into left field's second tier.

Starling Marte hit a rocket (Topps 2013 Foil series)
Pittsburgh finally solved Jimmy Nelson the second time through the order, scoring three times in the fourth and fifth frames. Vance Worley wasn't all that sharp, going six innings and giving up six hits and a very out-of-place four walks, but dodged enough raindrops to leave with a 3-2 lead. The Bucs had on their running shoes, stealing three bases (Marte, Sean Rodriguez, Gregory Polanco) and picked up RBIs throughout the lineup from Marte, Josh Harrison, Cutch, Rodriguez and Pedro. Two of the swipes came in the fifth, and both set up runs.

The bullpen got zips from Jared Hughes and Tony Watson to carry the team into the ninth. Antonio Bastardo surrendered a run to set up a save situation, and Mark Melancon came on to toss one 88 MPH cutter to Jonathan Lucroy, who popped it foul into right and into El Coffee's mitt to give the Shark his first cherry-picked save.

The only glaring question mark was Jung-Ho Kang. Sean Rodriguez got the start at 2B on a scheduled off day for The Kid. Then Walker was called on to pinch hit in the eighth and played second in the ninth. Either spot looked custom made for Kang, and that makes us wonder what his status is. If he's not hurt and the team has that little confidence in him, maybe a spin playing everyday at Indy would get him up to speed.

Jeff Locke and Kyle Lohse match up in tonight's game.

  • El Coffee broke an 0 for 11 streak in a big way, collecting three hits last night. The struggling Starling also chipped in with a pair of hits.
  • The Bucs ended a 22 inning shutout skein when Cutch's third inning bouncer plated Fran Cervelli. It was also Andrew's 242nd PNC Park RBI, as he overtook Jay Bay for the most productive batter in the ball yard's history.
  • The Pirate walk drought ended at 44 innings when Pedro was given an intentional pass in the sixth. He also drew the last Pirate walk, way back in fifth inning Saturday at Milwaukee. Andrew Lambo worked a conventional, five pitch walk in the seventh. 
  • Plate umpire Chris Guccione rang up Brewer Khris Davis in the eighth - on strike two! Davis got to return to the box after the Guccione's new math was corrected, then whiffed for real. Davis still had a big day, collecting three knocks.
  • The Pirates drew 25,664 fans to the game.


WilliamJPellas said...

Re: Kung, I agree completely. He needs to go down to Triple-A and play every day for a couple hundred at bats. I saw him when the Pirates were in Cincinnati to open the season, and I liked his fielding---I think he's probably better with the glove than some think---but he didn't hit in that contest (the final game of the opening series).

Ron Ieraci said...

To tell the truth, Will, I was surprised the Bucs were fast tracking him. They gushed so much about him that they painted themselves into a corner. He may be all that in time, but between learning the MLB ropes - the KBO is considered to be on a AA level of play - and acclimating to life in America, I think they just uncharacteristically rushed his whole timeline. It's a mystery to me on how the FO has handled him.

Ron Ieraci said...

As for Kris, you're absolutely right on both counts - he never recovered his form after that 2006 shoulder surgery, and his missus was quite the gossip column fodder.