Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Big Bombs, Tony & The Shark Down the Reds In Opener 7-6

Well, geez, what a start. The first four Reds singled off Jeff Locke (tho Pedro could have easily been charged with an error on one) to make it 1-0. Then a force at home (that had to be made on review; the umps missed it live as Fran barely tapped the dish) gave the Bucs a breather. But the respite was short; a ground ball to Pedro should have gotten the Pirates out of the inning, but Jordy's relay to first after the force was a little behind Locke covering and he couldn't make the tough catch; two more runs scored to make it 3-0.

After striking out his first MLB batter, Josh Smith proceeded to walk the bases loaded. For some reason, Josh thought that was a reason to swing away, and he bounced into an inning-ending DP. The Reds again loaded the bases in the second with one out, but this time Locke wiggled out of it with a pop and bouncer while the Bucs left another walk go unpunished.

Cincy was held to one hit in the third. Gregory opened the Buccos at-bats with, yep, another walk. He was quickly erased trying to steal, again on review, not exactly picking the most opportune time to go. No diff; Marte K'ed after going for several pitches off the plate and Cutch bounced out; the Pirates are doing about everything wrong possible so far.

Billy Hamilton opened the fourth with a bunt single and stole second. An out later, Pedro booted a ball and a walk loaded the sacks; a slow bouncer brought home another run. An intentional walk juiced the sacks, but another bouncer ended the frame. The Reds have already batted with the bases loaded seven times, and are 1-for-7 in that spot.

The Pirates broke through big time in their swings. The Kid drew a free pass, Josh singled, Pedro doubled, Fran homered and viola, it was a tie game; exit Mr. Smith. With two outs, the game was untied when Gregory tripled, scored on an error that allowed Starling to reach base, followed by Cutch going deep. Locke joined Smith in the shower and it was up to the pens to carry on. Rob Scahill came on and didn't make it through the frame; he gave up a run and Clint called on Jared Hughes to get the last out.

Fran the Man keeps on bopping (photo: Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)
The Pirates stranded a couple in their half, and Arquimedes Caminero came on in the sixth, giving up a first pitch homer to Jay Bruce to make it 7-6. Gregory walked, but was again caught stealing, again after a review. He came of the bag for a split second with the tag on him, and that slip cost as Cutch later doubled.

Arqie gave up a leadoff single to Hamilton; a dribbler and steal put him at third with one down. Caminero reached back and blew a heater past Joey Votto, then Starling saved his bacon with a sweet diving catch of Todd Frazier's liner. The Pirates went down 1-2-3, the first down in order inning for either club. Tony Watson took the ball and returned the favor, striking out the side. The Pirates went quietly again and the ball went into Mark the Shark's glove. Three K's later, the win was in the books as the back end of the pen was money again. For some unknown reason, Rob Scahill was awarded the win; guess it doesn't make much diff who gets it.

Hey, where else can you get to see 13 runs (five unearned), 21 hits, 11 walks, 18 stranded runners and 330 pitches in a mere three hours and 37 minutes? It wasn't pretty, but an ugly win tops a pretty loss any night. Gerrit Cole takes on Mike Leake tomorrow night in a game that hopefully should be a little more artistic.

  • The Pirates seven run fourth was their biggest inning of the season. In fact, it was their biggest inning in over a year, when they put up an eight spot against the Brewers on June 6th, 2014.
  • The Shark converted his 22nd consecutive save opp.
  • Gregory Polanco twice was called safe stealing second, and both times ruled out on review as he came off the base for a heartbeat during both slides; might be time to master the pop-up. With review, there are no more swipe tags as everyone keeps the glove glued on the runner; it's on El Coffee to adjust.
  • Arquimedes Caminero made his fourth multi-inning appearance and tossed a season-high 30 pitches in his two frames.
  • Billy Hamilton has 32 stolen bases; he's 9-for-9 against Pittsburgh.
  • Per Adam Berry, the Pirates brought Chris Volstad to PNC Park today "as a precaution in case we needed an extra arm," GM Neal Huntington said. No roster move was made, though, so he's just a taxi squad guy called up in case the Bucs burn through their pen tonight after Vanimal's long outing Sunday.

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