Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cole Rolls, Two-Out Lightning Strikes & the Bucs Take the Series by a 3-0 Tally

The Pirates started off with a little smoke, as Josh doubled and a two-out walk to Marte left Buccos on the corners against Alex Wood. Jung-Ho banged one deept to the shortstop hole, but it's tough to get anything past Andrelton Simmons, who turned a single to left into a 6-3. Atlanta also put a pair aboard without pushing anyone home. Pittsburgh went quietly in the second and third.

Atlanta loaded the sacks with one gone in the third thanks to a plunked batter and a pair of singles, but Gerrit reached back to K Nick Markakis and get Juan Uribe on a bouncer to JHK. There was a little more excitement for the Bravos in the fourth when Andrelton Simmons took a 99 MPH laser in the back, but he just managed a nasty stare at Cole as Stew escorted him down the line to first.

The Pirates broke through in the fifth. A walk to Cole and singles by Josh and Jordy loaded the sacks with an out. Wood looked like he would wiggle out of it, whiffing Cutch and getting ahead of Marte 0-2. But Starling ripped a single the opposite way on the next pitch, a hung spinner, to plate a pair. JHK followed with a knock to left (he finally got one past Simmons, who had robbed him twice) to make it 3-0. Wood yapped at the man in blue on his way to the dugout, apparently displeased with his strike zone, and got his afternoon cut short as plate ump Mark Carlson gave him the ol' heave-ho.

The Braves tried to answer with a pair of two-out walks in the sixth, but left them stranded.

The Braves made their point when a pitch to Cutch in the seventh send him dancing; the plate ump issued a warning and there was once again peace in the valley. The bottom half ended another day at the office for the Cole Train. He was at 98 pitches after six, but came out and saved a bullpen arm a frame. He threw 116 pitches. during the outing, giving up six hits, three walks and two plunks with seven punch outs. And when he strolled off the mound after the inning, he hit the dugout with a NL leading 1.73 ERA. He would also have the league lead in wins six outs later with nine.

Gerrit Cole - a Cy Young in the making? (photo - Eric Risberg/Associated Press)
The Bucs went down easily in the eighth, and Arquimedes Camonaro gave Tony Watson a blow, coming in to add another goose egg with a walk, a tapper, foul pop and whiff. The Bucs opened the ninth with a pair of knocks, but a 4-6-3 killed the frame, and in came Mark the Shark for a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts to notch his 18th save.

So lots of action, but only one inning's worth of points, and they all went up on the Bucco side of the scoreboard. The Cole Train keeps rolling. The only downer we can see is Clint using The Shark again with a three run lead, but that's his MO; let's hope it doesn't bite the club in the dog days.

The Pirates begin an eight game home stand tomorrow, with AJ Burnett kicking it off against Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson.

  • Josh had three hits and Jordy ran his hitting streak to six games. Gregory Polanco's streak ended at 10 games when he flew out in his only at-bat, entering the game late as a defensive sub.
  • Gerrit's 116 pitches were a career single-game high.
  • Cutch gave the fans a scare when he pulled up running out a grounder, but he took the field and shrugged it off afterward as discretion being the better part of valor.
  • A side note for sure, but when a lefty starts and Corey Hart sits again because of his weak fielding (and he's surely been bypassed by JT and Sean Rod on the depth chart), maybe it's time to let him look for work in the junior circuit as a DH.
  • The Pirates went 7-3 on their road trip, the first time they've done that well since 2005.
  • Not only are the Bucs coming home, but tomorrow is the first day of the baseball draft. The draft is said to be more deep than elite, and that should serve the Pirates with overall selections #19 and #32 in hand.
  • Altoona's Josh Bell made the list in Jake Seiner's MiLB Prospect Roundup.
  • Ex-Bucco Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 15 day DL with a groin issue. Ohlie's 1-0-1 out of the pen with the Rangers, his fifth MLB club. 
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