Gregory Polanco opened with a single off Sean O'Sullivan, and it then became a matchup of El Coffee running and the Phils fielding like little leaguers. He stole second when the throw tailed away. Gregory went to third on a bouncer to short; Freddie Galvis' toss to get the lead man caught Polanco in the back. He was off on contact on a ball hit to third; the throw was in time but Carlos Ruiz dropped the ball trying to swipe the tag. The Kid then obligingly hit into a 4-6-3 DP, but Josh lined a single to left to make it 2-1. Pitch and catch were proving tough skills to master for both clubs.
The Phils stranded a pair in the second, and Starling ran the Bucs into two more runs. With second and third occupied with two outs, he beat out a tapper to second, then his hustle into second on Cutch's ball up the middle beat Utley's throw after a nice diving stop, allowing another run to plate.
|Starling Marte makin' it happen (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
The Phils got one back in the fourth when Maikel Franco opened with a double, well placed off the edge of the railing, and came across two grounders later. Cole has allowed the opening hitter each inning to reach. In the Bucco half, Polanco's luck ran out. He doubled with one gone, but was out trying to score by a hair on Marte's single; the Pirates left the bases loaded before the third out; they've stranded seven in four frames.
As the gray clouds rolled in, Gerrit finally worked a quick, 10 pitch, 1-2-3 inning. O'Sullivan returned the favor with his own clean frame. There was no damage in the sixth, other than the last frame for both pitchers - Cole finished with nine batters retired consecutively and 12-of-13 set down, with two runs (one earned), seven hits and seven K on his worksheet.
Arquimedes Caminaro handled the seventh; he gave up a double on a ball misplayed by Polanco, but got out of it by retiring Andres Blanco, who battled him for 12 pitches. The Bucs went down quietly to Rocky DeFratus. Not so the Phils.
Tony Watson gave up three straight hits to make it 4-3, then walked Ryan Howard after being up 0-2 to load the bases with none down. Then the real Tony kicked in, inducing a pair of forces at home and getting a 4-3 from Galvis after falling behind 3-1. The Bucs hit a couple of balls hard off Jeanmar Gomez, but had nothing to show for it. No prob; the Shark come in and got a pair of broken bat grounders and a won a 10 pitch battle with Ben Revere, K'ing him to seal the deal.
This was the one game of the series the Bucs had to have because of the matchup, and though it was knee-knocking, a win it was. AJ goes for the series sweep tomorrow against Cole Hamels.
- Starling Marte has back-to-back three hit games.
- Mark Melancon has converted 18 straight save opportunities.
- Philadelphia has lost nine straight road games. They went 1-for-13 with RISP for the second straight contest.
- Chase Utley may be 36, but he made a handful of nice plays at second this afternoon.
- Gerrit is the first Buc pitcher to win 10 games by this date since 1956 when Bob Friend turned the trick. Elias adds that the last Buc pitcher to earn his 10th W of the season by the team’s 61st game was Vern Law in 1960. More Cole trivia: he's 28-2 when the Bucs score three+ runs for him.
- The game drew 37,516 for the fifth sellout of the season.