Charlie tossed a scoreless first the hard way - a Baltimore chop single, 6-4-3 DP, ground ball knock and finally, a throw-out at home. AJ Pierzynski rattled one in the RF corner; Polanco took forever to get to the ball, but Nick Markakis isn't exactly American Pharaoh, and Gregory's relay to The Kid was followed by a strike home to easily nail the galloping outfielder. Oddly, the Braves challenged; the out call was quickly confirmed.
The Bucs had themselves an inning against Julio Teheran. With an out, The Kid singled. Cutch got popped behind the elbow and had to leave the game; that bummer seemed to fire the Pirates up. Starling singled home a run; he and pinch runner JHK moved up a station when the throw home got away. Petey doubled them across, and Fran knocked him home. Gregory walked and Jordy singled to center to make it 5-0. After a bunt, Josh got the distinction of making the first and last out of the inning. But a steady drizzle and Cutch's condition left a gray cloud over the frame.
It rained a little heavier, and Charlie gave up a leadoff knock. Two outs later, he clipped Adrelton Simmons in the back foot; that earned a warning to the benches. At any rate, he K'ed Teheran to close it out just as a storm warning was being issued. The drops quieted down some, though, and so did the Bucs, who went down 1-2-3.
With an out in the third, Cameron Maybin hit a little league triple - a pop fly that landed just inside the line; the throw to second got away, and ditto for the throw to third (he was ahead of both of them). That was followed by back-to-back singles; Charlie can't get his sinker down. He wiggled out, as the Braves have seven hits but just one tally.
The game went on without drama, with Charlie going more to his curve and Teheran surviving a couple of blasts by Polanco and Walker that hooked foul, landing beneath the Pirate Charities sign. Then the rain returned (tho the sun was shining; go figure), and the tarps went down with one gone in the fifth, just two outs shy of a regulation game. Took a half hour, but the game resumed; it took Charlie six pitches to finish it up.
The Pirates stole a run with two down. Marte and Pedro were on the corners, and Petey jogged to second, setting up a rundown that the Braves executed pretty poorly, and Starling beat a weak throw home to make it 6-1.
The wheels fell off for Charlie in the seventh. Back-to-back singles, a hit batter and a bases-clearing double by Jace Peterson made in 6-4 in a heartbeat, and Arquimedes Caminero rushed in with nobody out. He got the first out, then Clint, in a rare match up move, hooked him for Antonio Bastardo with lefties Markakis and Pierzynski due up. He got them both on high, lazy flies, although a wild pitch put the Braves a single away from tying the game.
That woke the Pirates up against Nick Masset. Marte singled, went to second on a wild pitch (just prior to that, he did a somersault when he dove into second on a steal attempt cancelled by a foul and stuck in the wet dirt) and scored on Fran's double. Jordy's single brought him home, and 8-4 is a much more comfortable tally.
|Deolis gets some bro love from Fran (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
The brooms will be wavin' tomorrow as Jeff Locke takes the bump against Alex Wood.
- Starling had three hits, three runs scored, an RBI and a steal of home. Four other Pirates - Neil, Pedro, Fran & Jordy - had two knocks each. Cervelli scored twice with a pair of runs batted in.
- The five runs in the first match the Bucs opening inning high for the season, equalling their outing against the Chicago White Sox.
- Starling's set-piece delayed steal of home was the Pirates first since 2013 when Cutch was on the front end of a double steal; on the back end, it was El Toro's first swiped sack of the campaign.
- X-rays on Cutch's elbow came back negative, so that's a positive sign. Maybe he'll add an elbow pad to his outfit in the future; he's been brushed back every at bat lately, it seems. He has a different plan in mind, tho, as he told the press gang after the game: "Maybe I need to drop-kick a pitcher."
- Fran was the perfect guy to shepherd Guerra through his first outing; they were teammates in the Venezuelan Winter League.
- Great crowd of 36,417 - and a lot of them stayed to the end despite the rain.