The fourth was a little busier. Starling singled, but was picked off breaking to second. It went as a caught stealing; we register the bad read as another TOOTBLAN in a series full of them. That hurt when Fran unloaded a bomb to left center to make it 1-0. The Kid also had a knock, but was stranded. The Tigers made a bit of noise, too, but a single and walk ended up harmless; Jordy helped the cause by getting a heads up force at third.
Josh and Sean Rodriguez opened the fifth by drawing walks on just nine pitches, and that brought on Al Alberquerque. Jordy bunted them up a station, and the small ball resulted in a run as Cutch lifted a sac fly to right. After a K (Bras Ausmus got tossed protesting the borderline third strike call), Nick Castellanos dropped a single into center between Starling and Josh; talk to each other, boys. No damage was done; Castellanos never made it to second.
JHK and Fran started the sixth with singles to put Bucs on the corners. Lefty Blaine Hardy came in to face The Kid, who singled home Jung-Ho. El Coffee fouled off a pair of bunt tries and K'ed; small ball doesn't always work as planned. That may have cost the Pirates a tally when S-Rod flew out, then Josh went down 5-3. the Bucs keep adding on a run at a time, but it's tough to put together a crooked number when giving up an out every inning. Frankie gave up another walk in an otherwise calm frame.
|Jordy's glove was as valuable as his stick today (photo Charle LeClair/USA Today)|
Jordy cranked out a double to lead off the seventh, and a Cutch fly to right moved him up 90'. He jogged home when Marte bounced one through a drawn-in infield; a JHK DP ended the frame. With two down, Bryan Holaday singled on a bleeder to third and Jose Iglesias walked on four tosses. Francisco has labored this inning and may be running on fumes at 101 pitches, but had enough left to get an inning-ending grounder from Rajai Davis.
Joba Chamberlain gave up a one-out knock to Neil and Gregory walked behind him, but the Bucco scoring streak stopped at four innings. Antonio Bastardo toed the rubber and Ian Kinsler greeted him with a single. AB missed badly working to Miggy and walked him. A quick chat with Ray Searage fired up Jordy more than Antonio as the SS made a great running over-the-shoulder catch to sit down Victor Martinez. He fell behind Yoenis Cespedes, but got him on a 3-2 fastball on a fly to right.
Then he got in the hole to JD Martinez 2-0 and his luck ran out; JD drove an knee high, outside half fastball over the wall in right center to make it 4-3, upheld on review after a fan caught the ball, but above the fence. Tony Watson came in to shut down the frame; Clint stuck with a struggling Bastardo a batter too long.
Bruce Rondon climbed the hill, and Jordy opened the ninth with a knock to left and stole second. Rondon pumped 97 MPH heat to Cutch, and he sent it back, doubling Jordy home. Starling singled Andrew to third, then stole second. JHK went down, grounding out against a drawn in infield while facing triple digit heat.
Fran got plunked in the elbow with a 98 MPH heater to juice the bases. That brought up The Kid and brought home two more ducks as he doubled to left center; pretty good response inning by the Buccos. Gorzo answered the call and walked Gregory to load them up again. A grounder plated another run before the corral gate closed. Vanimal spun the horsehide with an 8-3 lead, and gave up a couple of doubles and a single. That brought Mark the Shark in to get the final out, which he did, escaping with a couple of fastballs down the middle that Victor Martinez fouled off to earn his 25th save.
Hard to believe that you could sweep a series stranding 41 runners while mixing in a handful of base running blunders, but when you push 22 runs across the plate, that sure makes up for it. Now the Bucs come for for a ten game stand with Charlie Morton hooking up with Cleveland's Trevor Bauer in the opener.
- Neil Walker had a four hit day, as he did yesterday; he's 10 for 17 in the series with seven RBI.
- Cutch's hitting skein is up to nine games. Starling and Jordy extended their hitting streaks to eight games.
- Frankie's ERA was 4.15 in mid June; now it's 2.99. He's gone seven innings or more in five of his last six starts.
- Victor Martinez made the last out in all three games.
- The Bucs' nine series sweeps lead the majors.
- Dan Plesac and Bill Ripken break down Gerrit Cole on MLB Tonight.
- Indy's 2B Alen Hanson, C Elias Diaz and LHP Blake Wood were named to the International League All-Star Team.
- SS Cole Tucker, last year's #1 pick, had his first four hit game as a pro yesterday for the West Virginia Power.
- The Astros called up old Bucco OF Alex Presley from AAA Fresno.