But the Buc bullpen wasn't up to the task tonight. Jared Hughes was touched for a pair in the seventh, when a walk and infield single came around on Abraham Almonte's two-bagger. The Bucs avoided further damage when Almonte, who went to third on the throw home, was erased at the plate a hitter later when he was the victim of a ground ball contact play. Arquimedes Caminero and Tony Watson carried the game to the ninth.
In that frame, the bases were juiced with Friars against Rob Scahill with no outs; his throw-away of a sac bunt after a leadoff walk set the table. Clint called for a five man infield, swapping El Coffee for Sean Rodriguez, and it almost paid off as a pair of bouncers turned into force outs at the plate.
Scahill could have been out of the inning, but Fran Cervelli, who had a great shot at turning a DP, looked toward first base rather than third, where he had an easy toss-and-catch force (even John Wehner was yelling "third" from the Root Sports announcer's box). Two batters later Derek Norris hammered a slider over the left center field wall after having whiffed four times prior, and that was the end of the streak.
|Pedro's been going the other way and liking it (photo: Gene Puskar/Associated Press)|
The Bucs didn't test James Shields often, though they did strand eight runners His bug-a-boo has been the long ball, and he kept the Pirates in the park. Pittsburgh was due to lose; the only possible cloud is that they've been a team of streaks this year, and hopefully a tough loss won't start them on another stretch of losses.
Charlie Morton will try to start a new streak tonight against Tyler Ross.
- Pedro continues to rake from the six hole; he had two of the Pirates six hits, both RBI, and has a slash of .280/.325/.561 from the sixth spot. He's lifted his BA from barely above the Mendoza line to .247.
- Not only did Pittsburgh's win streak end at seven games, but Jung-Ho Kang's hitting streak ended at 10 contests, too.
- Last night was the fourth time in Frankie's career that he's posted 10+ strikeouts in back-to-back outings.
- Thanks to his own error, Scahill's runs were all unearned, so he gave up a grand slam and actually lowered his ERA from 1.45 to 1.40.
- The Pirates have lost 10 times in the opponent's final at-bat; they've won one. Seven of those losses were walk-off defeats; the Bucs haven't walked one off yet this year. Those are stats begging for some regression.
- Norris is the first player in MLB history to hit a walk-off grand slam after striking out his first four at-bats.