Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Marte's Blast Leads Bucs To Opener Win 4-3

Gerrit Cole, as is sometimes his MO, started out a little slowly. With two gone, he walked Chase Utley, who is hitting way below the Mendoza Line and paid for it when Ryan Howard and Grady Sizemore both singled to plate Utley. But he righted the ship after that, and it paid off in the third when Starling Marte caught a 1-2 curve hanging over the dish and drilled it into the left center stands, the two-out shot scoring Cutch and Gregory Polanco ahead of him.

Marte bangs out long ball #8 (photo: Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Philly made it interesting in the sixth. A walk and hit batter set up Sizemore again, who dropped a single to left to make it 3-2. Pittsburgh came right back. El Coffee singled, went to second and then third on a bad throw (actually, he was running on a 3-2 pitch that was ruled ball four; C Carlos Ruiz, thank you for the brain cramp)  and came in on Cutch's sac fly. It would prove a pretty big run.

Cole worked a quiet seventh. The eighth went by without any drama, with Jared Hughes toeing the rubber for the Pirates. The Bucs banged out a pair of ninth inning hits, but a DP in the middle killed the frame. The Phils took their final cuts against Mark the Shark, who was making his third straight appearance. Philly made it a game when lead-off hitter Odubel Herrera took an 0-2 knuckle curve and lined it barely into the seats to make it 4-3 with his first MLB long ball.

A line out later, Carlos Ruiz singled, but another rope and a fly ended the game, with Pittsburgh and Melancon hanging on for the win. The game was a struggle; the Bucs doubled three times and stranded them all, while ump CB Bucknor behind the plate made had his own unique concept of the strike zone, frustrating hitters and pitchers alike. But all's well that ends well, and for the Pirates, 4-of-5 is a nice response to a rocky stretch.

AJ Burnett works against Sean O'Sullivan tonight.

  • El Coffee had two hits and two runs; he's quietly upped his BA to .271. Stew also had a pair of knocks; he's hitting .313.
  • With last night's win, the Bucs are back at .500 (16-16), 6-1/2 games behind the Cards.
  • The Pirates have won 16 of Cole's last 21 starts.
  • RHP Big John Holdzkom has been shut down at Indy due to shoulder fatigue. He's been having trouble rediscovering his mojo as his control has gone south, so maybe a mental break to go with the physical is a good thing about now.
  • One prospect takes a break and another gets it on. C/OF Connor Joe missed all of 2014 with a back injury. He was just released from extended spring training and assigned to the West Virginia Power.
  • LHP Clayton Richard also got bumped up, from AA Altoona to Indy.
  • After their strong run through the ACC tournament, the Pitt girls's softball team earned their first ever bid to the NCAA playoffs. Pitt will play California Friday at 3:30 PM in Ann Arbor.

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