Saturday, May 16, 2015

Best of Times, Worst of Times; Bucs Run Out Of Rallies In 12 Inning, 11-10 Loss

Well, Charlie Morton may have his pick of rotation spots when he returns. Jeff Locke couldn't get through the fourth, giving up five runs on six hits - two left the yard - and three walks. Jared Hughes had a rare rough outing, too, being touched up for three runs in two frames. Rob Scahill gave up a pair, too, with one being unearned on a Josh boot. The Pirates were down 7-1 after five and 10-5 after seven.

But one thing the Bucs do is play the game to the last out. Fran Cervelli cleared the bases with a sixth inning double that scored Starling, Pedro and Josh, followed by a Corey Hart knock to bring Fran home and make the score 7-5.

Fran Cervelli had a big day at the dish - photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates

The Cubs upped the lead to 10-5 off Jared, whose control was off - two of the three Cubs that scored against him were aboard on walks. Pittsburgh had another surge left, though. Josh homered to open the eighth, and another blast, this one by Cutch, scored El Coffee and Jordy to cut the lead to one.

Pittsburgh was down to their last swing in the ninth when Josh banged a 3-2 slider into left for a two bagger, went to third on a wild pitch and touched home to tie the game on Cervelli's single, when Fran dropped a 97 MPH heater into right.

That was followed with extra inning drama. The Bucs drew two walks in the 10th, but couldn't score. The Cubs loaded the bases in their half with an out, but a short fly to Polanco turned into a DP when Gregory threw out Starlin Castro trying to score. Pittsburgh stranded a two-out double in the 11th; Chicago also left a runner at second.

In the 12th, a pair of walks had Buccos aboard with two outs; with the bench empty, Vanimal stepped to the plate and almost became a hero; his fly to right was hauled in at the wall. The drama continued, although not in a good way for the Pirates. Radhames Liz had the bases loaded with an out - Castro walked, Migue Montero singled him to third and Jorge Soler was given an intentional pass - to set up the same guy, Matt Szczur, who popped into a DP. And he did the same thing, lofting a shallow pop to right.

Polanco came in a couple of steps, and then collapsed, tripping as he tried to set up for the throw. The ball dropped to the grass, and Castro - who by appearances wasn't tagging, having learned his lesson - crossed with the winning run.

Gregory Polanco takes a seat in the 12th - photo Nam Yuh/Associated Press
But don't hang the loss around Gregory's shoulders alone. Eight Pirate pitchers gave up 15 hits, 10 walks, three hit batters and two wild pitches, tossing an astounding 263 pitches. Unless there's an unforeseen turnaround in the future, the Bucs are going to have to work on steeling the back end of the rotation.

  • The 6-7-8 hitters for Pittsburgh drove the attack. Pedro, Josh & Fran went 10-for-18 with six runs scored and six RBI. Harrison went 4-for-6 and is up to .222; now if Jordy can start finding the grass...
  • The Pirates used everyone but Gerrit Cole, Frankie Liriano and AJ in the game.
  • The Cubs have won five in a row with last night's victory.
  • Don't be surprised by some roster movement; the Pirates don't have much a bullpen left after Hughes, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon all went two innings.
  • The Pirates reinstated reliever Antonio Bastardo from paternity leave and sent Bobby LaFromboise back to Indy.
  • Charlie Morton is scheduled to toss a bullpen session Saturday; the Bucs haven't decided whether to continue his rehab or plug him back into the rotation yet.
  • OF Austin Meadows made the #4 slot in this week's Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.

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