Saturday, May 9, 2015

Pirates Draw the Line; Rally for 7-5 Win Over Cards

Considering that a couple of days ago, the Pirates couldn't hit a baseball off a tee and had just turned a three run lead into a two run deficit against a St. Louis team that has beaten them every which way possible, it would have been easy to mail this game in.

But this club, as frustrating as they may be be on any given night, isn't built that way. The bullpen stopped the bleeding, the batters went to work, and the result was a much needed and confidence boosting 7-5 win over the Redbirds.

In the top of the second, St. Louis had runners on second and third with no outs (an omen of things to come) when Yadier Molina slapped a liner ticketed for right center. The Kid leapt and snared the ball, then threw behind Jhonny Peralto at third for the force. Then there was a bit of confusion; Jason Heyward was roaming aimlessly between the lines while Jung-Ho Kang, apparently losing count of the outs, headed toward the dugout. But his teammates quickly woke him up, and his lob to second completed the 4-5-4 triple killing.

The Bucs celebrated with an offensive triple killing in the second, scoring three times. A walk, an infield single, wild pitch and a couple of bouncers brought home two runs; back-to-back two out doubles by Vance Worley and El Coffee added the third.

In the fourth, the wheels came off for Vanimal. Six hits, from bleeders to bullets, and a pair of walks brought 11 Cards to the plate. Five scored, and maybe the biggest at-bat of the game was Worley getting Matt Holiday to pop up for the third out with the bases jammed. The Bucs didn't hang their heads after losing the lead.

Neil Walker homered, a solo shot to right in the fifth, to cut the lead to one. In the sixth, Jordy came up big. His bases loaded double brought in two runs to give Pittsburgh the lead once again, and except for some inexplicably poor base running by Fran Cervelli, Mercer's drive off the center field wall would have cleared the sacks. Corey Hart made it a moot point with a sac fly to get Cervelli home.

Jordy brought home three runs tonight (photo: Dave arrigo/Pirates)
And there it sat. Worley spun the fifth inning, then Rob Scahill, who picked up the win, Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon, who earned his sixth save, worked four scoreless frames for Pittsburgh to close the deal. Combined, they gave up a hit and a walk in that span, and 11 of the 12 outs they recorded were either grounders or whiffs. So nice win today; the series is on the line tomorrow in the rubber match.

Lefties Jeff Locke and Tyler Lyons will work Sunday afternoon's game.

  • The Pirates 4-5-4 triple play wasn't just a rarity; it was the first second-to-third-to second triple killing in MLB history, per SABR. Here's the link to the vid.
  • Mark the Shark's cutter was sitting at 91 tonight; maybe he's working past his dead arm period and is getting his old velocity back.
  • Jung-Ho Kang had two more hits, bringing his BA up to .318.
  • Starling Marte left the game in the third inning with "dizziness," and was replaced in left by Sean Rodriguez.
  • Combine Saturday night, the Cards and the Zambelli Bros., and you end up with 38,068 fans in the house. It was the Pirates second sellout of the campaign.

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