Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Buc Bats Silent In 2-0 Loss to Brew Crew

On a drip-drop night, with split-screen fan attention between the Bucs on the field and the future Bucs getting drafted, AJ Burnett and Jimmy Nelson squared off.

The Bucs made the first serious run in the third when Fran Cervelli (walk) and Jordy (single) reached second and third with one down, but El Coffee whiffed and Josh bounced out to squelch that threat. The tarp came out in the bottom of the fourth with The Kid on first. AJ was cruisin', retiring 10 Brewers in a row with five K and one hit surrendered to that point. The showers quit pretty quickly, and the game was again afoot. For how long, who knew - another cell was rolling in behind the one that just passed.

So after a 28 minute delay, Starling Marte bounced into a DP and a Pedro dribbler in front of the plate carried us into the fifth without a score.

It was a dark and stormy night...(photo - Root Sports)

AJ had a long break, and his string was snapped when A-Ram led off with a single. It got worse when Geraldo Parra doubled, putting Brewers at second and third with no one down. A Jean Segura grounder brought in a run and moved Parra to third. And it began to rain again, but AJ got Nelson, who was batting eighth, on a soft tapper. But he walked the nine hitter, Luis Sardinas, after being up 0-2 on him. The count went full on Carlos Gomez, before AJ got him on a fly.

The Bucs tried to counter. JHK walked and Fran singled him to third. But in a crucial at bat, Jordy went down on strikes, just like El Coffee in the third, Then Clint made a decision, considering the weather, that was curious, allowing AJ to bat. He struck out trying to bunt, and Polanco's liner was speared by Segura to end the frame.

AJ soldiered on through seven, ducking literally and figuratively through the raindrops as he used DPs to escape his last two innings. Nelson was replaced by Jonathan Broxton in the Bucco seventh. Fran walked and bunted to second by Jordy. After JT whiffed pinch hitting (he was rung up on a foul tip that actually hit the dirt before the glove, but Jonathan Lucroy sold the call), El Coffee was intentionally walked, and Josh followed with another punch out.

The Pirates, so good with the stick in the past few weeks, flashed back offensively to AJ's April outings. And as if the stranded runners (0-for-10 with RISP) weren't enough, the tarps came out again.

In the eighth, after an hour and 45 minute stoppage, the Brewers tacked on an insurance run off Antonio Bastardo with three straight singles; Rob Scahill came in to get the last out. Jeremy Jeffress gave up a leadoff knock to The Kid, but that was all the Bucs could muster in their half. Scahill and Francisco Rodriguez worked a quiet ninth, each striking out a pair.

Pittsburgh couldn't find the big hit against the Brew Crew tonight, stranding nine runners, and AJ had his winning streak snapped at six. But it was good to see him eat up a few innings and work a solid game after a couple of rough outings. Frankie Liriano takes on Taylor Jungmann, making his MLB debut, tonight.

  • Fran Cervelli has reached base in 16 straight games while Jordy Mercer extended his hitting streak to seven games.
  • The Pirates mustered five hits on the night; Neil Walker had three of them.
  • 18,016 fans braved the elements to attend the game. Not many remained to catch the last out, registered after midnight. 
  • Jameson Taillon's rehab is moving along smoothly. He tossed 47 pitches/four innings at an extended spring training game Monday.
  • RHP Kevin Correia, who just exercised his opt-out with the Giants, signed a major league contract with the Phils. He'll start against the Bucs Friday.
  • LHP Donnie Veal, a Rule 5 guy who the Pirates kept through the 2009 season, was released by the Braves.

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