Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bucs Do It The Hard Way, Tame Tigers 5-4 In 14 Innings

The Bucs managed a hit and three walks in the first frame against Justin Verlander, but somehow managed not to score, thanks to The Kid getting tossed trying to move up on a short wild pitch and a scorched one-out at 'em ball by Starling. It was 1-2-3 for the Cole Train.

Pittsburgh did get on the board in the second. Jordy singled with an out, went to third on Stew's two-bagger and came home after a Gregory sac fly. The Tigers got runners on the corners in their half, but Gerrit left them there. In the third, Starling bunted for a knock and went to third on Pedro's double. A grounder and sac fly brought them home to make it 3-0 as Cole tossed another clean frame.

The Pirates tried for a little two-out thunder in the fourth when Cutch singled and Starling was HBP (unintentionally), but JHK grounded out to end the threat. The Tigers went down quietly except for Victor Martinez, who was plunked. Then Pedro got drilled with a pitch in the fifth as payback, resulting in a warning and nothing else as he was erased quickly on a DP. Detroit led off with back-to-back singles, one a grounder into center and the other a shift-buster. Then James McCann nearly tied the game; his double to right was a review away from a homer (a fan touched the ball) to make it 3-1. Gerrit went into ace mode and shut it down.

It was a quiet sixth for Verlander. A lead off single followed by a two out bloop put Tigers at first and second, but in between Gerrit struck out the side, so no damage.

The only Pirate who remembered where first base was tonight.
Cutch opened the seventh with a walk, and with Justin at 103 pitches, Al Alburquerque took the ball. Cutch stole second. That open base got Pedro a two-out intentional walk, and it worked as Fran whiffed at a 3-2 slider in the dirt. McCann started the Tigers with a single off Jordy's glove and a grounder moved him up a notch. After a K, Cole left a 95 MPH heater up to Ian Kinsler, who spanked it for a run-scoring double to cut the lead to one. In came Jared Hughes to face Miggy, and he polished him off in two pitches 6-3.

Stew singled after a Jordy line out and lefty Blaine Hardy came on to face El Coffee. Gregory kinda won the matchup by getting ticked on the leg by a two-strike heater.The Kid hit into a force and Joba Chamberlain took over to work to Cutch. He fed him nothing but 96 MPH heat, and Andrew banged an 0-2 pitch into left to plate an insurance run. Joba went to breaking stuff with Starling and K'ed him on four pitches.

Tony Watson toed the rubber and gave up a leadoff single. An out later, JD Martinez yanked a 95 MPH sinker on the inside corner at the knees over the wall in left center, and just like that, it was a tie game. Tony got the next two quietly after the cow left the barn.

Joakim Soria punched out the first two Buccos in the ninth before Fran rolled a soft infield single to short and Jordy walked. Soria went right after Stew and whiffed him on four pitches. Arquimedes Caminero came in for the Pirates. he surrendered a one-out single. he K'ed Ian Kisnler, but Anthony Gose stole second, leaving an open base for the Bucs to give to Miggy. Lefty Victor Martinez was up with two hits to his credit, and flew out to the track in left.

Bruce Rondon was the Tiger choice in the 10th to face the top of the order. Cutch walked with two outs before Starling whiffed. Mark the Shark took his turn. Nick Castellanos singled with two outs and went to second on a wild pitch (a two strike curve in the dirt; we blame Stew for that one) and was replaced by Andrew Romine, but Melancon closed the door.

Alex Wilson climbed the hill in the 11th. JHK opened with a single and was bunted to second. Another grounder moved him to third where he stayed after yet another grounder. Antonio Bastardo toed the rubber. With an out, Rajai Davis spoiled some nice pitches before beating out an infield single. After a popout, he went after Miggy with fastballs to get ahead 0-2 and after a couple of fouls and a chase pitch pumped a 96 MPH laser past him.

Wilson stayed on and gave up a two-out single to Neil, then K'ed Cutch, foul tipping high heat. Deolis Guerra's number was called, and he worked a 1-2-3 12th. Wilson gave up a two-out triple to S-Rod when Davis missed a diving attempt, but Fran flew out to leave him 90' away. After a K, Deolis gave up a single to McCann. He was nailed stealing to end the frame.

Stew singled with an out, then old bud Tom Gorzelanny came on with Gregory and The Kid due up. Josh hit for El Coffee while Gorkys ran for Stewart. Josh hit a gapper, Hernandez, who was running, thought it would be caught (it almost was), headed back past second for first, didn't retouch the bag when he reversed direction and was called out on appeal. Jaff Decker, pack your bags; we think you'll get a call soon. Some of the sting was removed when The Kid poked a 3-2 fastball six inches outside the plate into right for a double, scoring Josh.

Deolis went out for his third inning while Gorkys went to right (he found it OK), Josh to second and Fran put on the gear. Kinsler singled with an out, with Miggy and Victor Martinez behind him. Cabrera singled to put runners at first and second. Guerra had the right stuff, though, getting Martinez to roll into a DP to earn his first MLB victory.

The Bucs won despite themselves, but boy, do they ever grind even with one foot almost shot off (blowing a 3-0 lead and stranding 19 runners along with an epic TOOTBLAN qualifies). And yes, the bullpen gave up the lead, but they also went 7-2/3 IP against a talented hitting club giving up just those two runs off Tony; nice to see the team pick him up. AJ Burnett faces Alberto Simon tomorrow; let's hope for the same result, but a few innings sooner.

  • Jordy has a six game hitting streak, as does Cutch, who reached base five times tonight. On the other side, Starling whiffed four times and The Kid three times.
  • Tonight was the Pirates longest game of the season; they also went 14 against the Cards. The Bucs used six pitchers (Vanimal didn't get in) and Detroit went through their entire relief staff. None of the Pirate pitchers worked over an inning by Guerra, so with the day off yesterday they should all be good to go tomorrow.
  • The Pirates used some productive outs to their advantage tonight. With a runner at third, two sac flies and a grounder to second brought in the first three runs.
  • JD Martinez has 11 home runs this month. The only Pirate with more over the season is Starling Marte with 12.
  • Per Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Journal & Courier, LHP Clayton Richard has a 72-hour clause in his contract that was triggered today. If any team agrees to put him on a active roster, the Pirates must either promote Richard or trade him to the interested team. If the other clubs pass on him, he remains at Indy.
  • 1B/OF Corey Hart (shoulder impingement) began his rehab assignment tonight at Indy. he singled, drove in a run and scored.

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