Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bucs Take Late 3-2 Win From Padres

Pretty tidy start for Frankie - a K, a tapper and a grounder, all on nine pitches. The Bucs went down in order to Tyson Ross. After two were gone in the second, Will Middlebrooks lined a shot off Frankie's arm that continued on into right; Liriano shooed away the docs and kept tossing. Pedro and Sean Rodriguez singled in the Buc half and were left stranded.

In a throwback moment, the PNC PA played "Don't Stop Believin'" when Clint Barmes came up. Clint got a nice hand from the crowd and the Bucco bench. Clint being Clint, he K'ed, earning another hand. Ross singled off The Kid's mitt. After a force, rain and strong winds gusted across the field, and the crew ran out, struggling to control the tarps. It was so bad that half the team helped the grounds keepers, while Cutch Gregory & S-Rod had to come to rescue of a worker who was buried under the tarp. (video here)

Pirates to the rescue (image via WPXI)
After an 1:48 delay, Clint elected to send Frankie back out; didn't seem like a great idea at the time (tho it did pan out) when he walked the first guy he faced and then gave up a two-run double to Matt Kemp on an 0-2 hanging slider. The Bucs got a run back in their half, and only another obligatory TOOTBLAN kept them out of a big frame against reliever Frank Garces.

Gregory wlaked and The Kid lined a shot to left. El Coffee hesitated until he was sure it would drop (the ball fell at Justin Upton's feet). Upton fielded it cleanly and fired to second; Gregory slid in on what looked to be a close play (props to Upton for that) and popped up, but short of the bag, and became a force out. Cutch's double brought in Walker, but the Pirates left the bases loaded.

A couple of runners were exchanged until the fifth, when Walker scored on JHK's one-out triple. He was left on third when Jordy & Pedro couldn't cash him in. And it too could have been a bigger frame; Upton, a one man wrecking crew in the field, went way above the fence to bring back Cutch's bid for a homer.

The Bucs left a couple of more ducks on the pond in the sixth. Jared Hughes took over for Frankie in the seventh, who was strong again except for that burp after the rain delay, and put up another zero.  Cutch led off with a knock, but it ended up another quiet frame for Pittsburgh.

In the eighth, Tony Watson danced through some figurative raindrops. He gave up couple of singles and tossed a wild pitch, but also rang up a pair of whiffs to keep the Friars at bay. With Joaquin Benoit on the hill, Sean Rodriguez got plunked and was bunted to second. Pinch hitter Steve Lombardozzi whiffed, but El Coffee banged out his second hit of the day, a liner to The Notch that went for a triple and put the Bucs up 3-2.

Mark the Shark (photo Charle LeClaire/USA Today)
Mark the Shark was touched up for a single, but handily nailed down the save as the Pirates at long last took a home series from San Diego. Stranding 11 guys didn't help, but they did squeak out enough offense behind another solid pitching performance. And the good news, in the short term, is that Gregory and JHK looked fine in the field and the plate as they settle in for a long run with everywhere man Josh on ice.

Charlie Morton and Andrew Cashner close out the three-game set tonight.

  • Cutch has a personal-best 14 game hitting streak.
  • Mark Melanocn's 26th straight save conversion tied the franchise mark set by Joel Hanrahan. He's one behind the most saves by All-Star break, a mark currently held by Jason Grilli. 
  • Pittsburgh has won seven of its last eight games. And by taking the first two matches of this set, they've guaranteed their first series victory ever over the Padres at PNC Park.
  • The Cubs swept the Cards; Pittsburgh is 4-1/2 back in the NL Central. More bad news for the Cards; Kolten Wong is being evaluated for a concussion.
  • Fran was scratched an hour before the game, with Stew going behind the dish. It was announced as a manager's decision; Clint decided to give him a blow, even tho the catcher wanted to go.
  • News from the Bradenton Marauders: RHP Clay Holmes has been activated from the DL; he did Tommy John rehab in the GCL and is ready to join the starting rotation later this week. Also, OF Harold Ramirez (.356 BA) has been placed on the Temporarily Inactive List. He will be participating in the Pan-Am Games for Colombia.

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