Friday, June 26, 2015

13th Unlucky For Bucs; Reds Take Series With 5-4 Win

The opening pitch was delayed about an hour thanks to the rain; this Red series has been played at a snail's pace after a diet of sub-three hour games. It would be nice to see the Bucs get out of the first, but not tonight...again. A Jung-Ho error eventually led to an unearned run as Cincy drew first blood and AJ left guys on the corners before K'ing Eugenio Saurez. The Pirates went down 1-2-3, on a pair of whiffs and a fly to the track by Cutch. It's gonna be another wide plate day; Polanco was rung up without a swing on three balls out of the zone.

The Reds added on with two outs. Billy Hamilton singled, stole second and scored when Brandon Phillips tripled on a ball that Josh Harrison took a terrible route chasing down. The Reds are 2-for-2 stealing; Fran made a pair of poor throws or they may have been 0-fer (he did end up with a pair of CS). But the Bucs answered. A leadoff walk and two out error set up Jordy, whose ground rule double plated a run, then AJ singled in two more and Pittsburgh was up 3-2.

AJ stranded a two-out infield dribbler and walk by K'ing Skip Schumaker, and his pitch count is already redlining at 63. Pittsburgh went down quietly. Burnett is not having a good command day; he walked the pitcher and gave up a one out, 0-2 single to Phillips, but eased out again by getting Joey Votto on a 3-6-1 DP. The Pirates left the bases empty in their half.

AJ in action (photo Justin Aller/Getty Images)

Burnett had to work hard again in the fifth. A ground ball single, a DP that wasn't turned when Jordy's wide relay took Pedro's toe an inch off the base and a short wild pitch didn't amount to a run, but did lead to 101 pitches. The Bucs left Jordy at second and onto the sixth. The Reds added another squib hit, and that was it. Cutch walked to open the Bucco half, went to second on a one-out knock by JHK and scored on Fran's two-out roller into right.

Arquimedes Caminero came on, and two batters later it was tied when Votto singled and Todd Frazier lost a 99 MPH heater in the LF stands; Arqie left a couple of balls up and paid. After a whiff, he plunked a batter and gave up a bullet to left that brought on Antonio Bastardo, who punched out a pair of pinch hitters. Burke Badenhop took over and tossed a 1-2-3 frame, even with a couple of balls hit on nose.

Tony Watson worked a clean eighth. JJ Hoover started by walking Cutch, followed by a 4-6-3 DP hit into by The Kid. Pity; JHK and Starling both singled afterward, and the Bucs still came within a step of the lead when Fran's shot into right center was run down by Marlon Byrd. Mark the Shark got two quick outs, followed by single dropped into center. Then Jordy was tested twice; a ball in the hole was beat for a single, tho he had a force at second; we assume there was just bad communication there. He ran down another slow roller in the hole, and this time beat the batter by a hair.

Ryan Mattheus came on for the Reds. Pittsburgh left runners at first and third when Cutch flew out, and it was extra frames. Vanimal tossed a scoreless 10th. Hamilton dropped a pop into no man's land for a single, but was caught stealing (finally) when he got a bad jump, tried to get back to first, stumbled and was run down for the out.

Carlos Contreras took the ball and the Bucs bailed him out. The Kid walked, and was forced at second when JHK channeled his inner Starling Marte and hacked at everything. A botched bunt by Vance and pop out by Fran ended the frame quietly.

Vance gave up a pop single (TY, no-doubles D), wild pitch and intentional walk to start the 11th, but a whiff and a couple of grounders cleaned that up. Aroldis Chapman came on and the Bucs again proved they have mostly warning track power as Jordy and El Coffee both flew out to the track in center. It took Worley four pitches to retire the Reds in the 11th. In came Pedro Villareal.

Cutch doubled off the wall in left and The Kid was intentionally walked. Jung Ho lined an at 'em ball to Votto; Walker was off on contact instead of freezing and was easily doubled off. JT pinch hit and was walked, but Fran's bouncer ended the frame. It was Rob Scahill's turn, and he got off to a bad start when Phillips blasted one over the fence in left. That won it as Villareal won his first MLB game with a 1-2-3 13th.

We mentioned before the series to watch for the long ball; the two games the Red won, they went long; the one the Bucs won, they homered. Earl Weaver would approve. Atlanta comes to town tomorrow with Frankie going up against Williams Perez.

  • The Pirates have lost 5-of-6, and forget the Cards - the Cubs are on their tails right now. 
  • The Reds have taken seven of nine from the Pirates this year.
  • Pittsburgh has given up 17 first inning runs in the past four games.
  • AJ has a career high four RBI this season; it was also his first multi-RBI game. Pitching wise, he passed Sudden Sam McDowell on the all-time K list to take over #36.
  • Tony Watson had a string of five consecutive strikeouts broken in the eighth when Phillips grounded out.
  • The Bucs drew 35,016 tonight
  • Bucco prospect Austin Meadows has been in a slump, landing him a spot in Baseball America's "Not So Hot" Prospect Sheet.

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