Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bucs Blast Away To 9-3 Romp Over Tigers

The Bucs continued where they left off last night, stranding a pair in the first against Alfredo Simon as singles by The Kid and Starling failed to produce a run. Motown went down in order to AJ Burnett.

There were more hijinks in the second; back-to-back singles by Gregory and Jordy were short circuited when RF'er JD Martinez was rewarded for mishandling Mercer's knock; El Coffee went to third, but Jordy was nailed trying to reach second. Detroit used three singles to draw first blood, one a ball that fell in when Polanco took a very round-about route chasing down; he is like a big gawky kid sometimes.

The Bucs had big fun in the third. Josh's double was followed by a Neil Walker homer. Cutch followed with a single. After a Starling whiff, Pedro drilled a ground rule double up the line in right; that hop over the wall cost Pittsburgh a run for just a minute. Fran's grounder brought Cutch home a batter later, then Gregory's two-out knock chased home Pedro. A wild pitch got him to second, and a single-and-error (Miggy couldn't scoop a bounced toss) on Jordy's grounder to short brought Polanco home. S-Rod added another single before Josh, who led the inning off, bounced out. AJ was liking the five spot and tossed a quick, clean frame.

The Kid had himself a night (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Simon regained his bearings in the fourth and got two groundouts before Marte doubled for the Pirates 12th hit (a new career high for hits allowed by Alfredo), but Pedro whiffed, missing a pair of splitters. AJ got two outs before trying to jam JD Martinez, who has feasted on inside stuff; he singled sharply to third on a ball too hot for Josh to handle. No sweat; Burnett collected his third K to polish off the frame. Simon survived Gregory's third hit, an opposite field double, to put up another zero. AJ worked through a two-out Rajai Davis triple to keep it 5-1 after five,

The Kid singled with an out and took a shot to the head beating out the throw when he was slapped hard by Miggy's mitt reaching for the throw, but was OK. He stole second, and the Bucs had runners on the corners with two down thanks to starling's infield knock when Simon waved the white flag and Al Alberquerque took over. He uncorked a wild pitch and Neil scampered home. Victor Martinez doubled with an out for the Tigers, a wild pitch moved him up a station and a grounder brought him home. JD Martinez reached on an error by Josh before the inning ended, running up AJ's once-comfy pitch count to 86.

Fran singled and El Coffee walked to open the seventh. But the Bucs just can't help churn out TOOTBLANs. A well-hit fly out by Jordy to right turned into a DP when Cervelli couldn't get back to second in time, and instead of adding on, the Pirates put up a zero. James McCann singled to open the Motor City half; he was, oddly enough considering the score, bunted to second; maybe Julio Iglesias was looking for a cheap hit. A grounder moved him to third; a K kept him there. AJ's at 100 tosses and a coin flip to work the eighth.

Joba Chamberlain toed the rubber. After giving up a well struck out to Josh, he surrendered a long fly to The Kid, who went the opposite way for his second homer of the night. An out later, Starling matched him by drilling one out to left center. Pedro got a 3-2 hook down the middle and bang, another ball left the yard. Fran's single chased Joba and Blaine Hardy came on to close out the frame. Jared Hughes climbed the hill and plunked Victor Martinez after an out (on the back foot with a breaking ball, not as payback for his "no respect" remarks; still, the humanity...) After a strikeout, JD Martinez singled; why do they work him inside? Jared worked out of it and the Bucs head to ninth up 9-2.

Hardy almost worked a clean inning for the Tigers, nicked only by a two-out knock by Josh. Arquimedes Caminero came on, and his first pitch, a 97 MPH heater on the inside corner at the knees was knocked out of the yard by McCann; these Tigers love guys coming in on them. He gave up a couple more singles, but no more points, and the Bucs can broom Detroit tomorrow when Frankie takes on Kyle Ryan in the getaway day game after a 9-3 win tonight.

  • The last time the club collected 21 hits was in 2004 against the Rox, an 11-2 victory. All the Pirate starters had hits and seven had two or more, led by The Kid & Starling with four and El Coffee with three.
  • Cutch extended his hitting streak to eight games while Jordy and Starling stretched their's to seven. Starling, btw, leads the league with 25 infield hits while at the same time leading the team with 13 homers.
  • AJ is one strikeout from passing Jim Kaat for 35th in the All-Time strikeout list and five behind Mark Langston.
  • The Pedro countdown continues. His long ball was his 13th consecutive solo homer.
  • Lovin' interleague: the Pirates have recorded double digit hit totals in 7 of their last 8 games against AL teams and are 6-2 in those contests.
  • Alfredo Simon trivia: he allowed 15 hits, the most by a Tigers starter since Scott Sanders gave 16 in 1998. That's tied for most allowed in a game this season by one pitcher with the Giant's Tim Hudson against the Marlins in early May. He also became the first modern era pitcher to give up 15 hits and strike out seven under six innings. It's also the most hits the Bucs have off one pitcher since 1974, when they had 16 agaisnt Burt Hooton in an 18-9 loss to the Cubs.
  • John Holdzkom is on the minor league DL with a right shoulder strain.
  • Neil Walker's dad Tom, who is in Detroit for the series, was named to the Texas League Hall of Fame.

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