Friday, July 31, 2015

Kang, Marte Lead the Way To 5-4 Win

Gregory opened with an infield knock and immediately stole second, against a pitch out. Starling then took a pitch to the hand (called a foul, then overturned to a HBP). Two outs later, JHK drilled a ground rule double to plate one run. That big hop cost as Starling would have scored easily had it stayed in play, but it is 1-0 against Michael Lorenzen. With two outs, Joey Votto walked after being behind 0-2 and reached second on a wild pitch but Jeff Locke left him there by whiffing Todd Frazier.

The second went quietly enough for Pittsburgh with just a walk; not so for the Reds. Marlon Byrd singled of A-Ram's glove, and an out later, Ivan Dejesus Jr. sent a first-pitch change over the wall to make it 2-1. Lorenzen singled and hey, why not walk Billy Hamilton while we're at it? Locke left an 0-2 curve over the plate, and Brandon Phillips lined it to left to load the bases. Jason Bourgeois made it 3-1 on a 6-5 fielders choice, a heads up play by JHK & A-Ram. A double steal and another walk to Votto loaded the bases, but Locke got Frazier.

1-2-3 went the Bucs in the third, as did the Redlegs. JHK continued to rake, doubling to open the fourth. An out later, Pedro banged one through the right side, and it was 3-2 after Jeff tossed another clean frame. with two gone in the fifth, Lorenzen tried to sneak a heater away to Andrew; he drilled it into the RF seats. Bourgeois opened with a knock, but was erased by his happy feet when he was doubled up by Gregory after Votto's lineout to right. Another out took us into the sixth 3-3.

JHK keeps raking (photo Ezra Shaw/Getty)
Someone tugged on Kang's cape tonight; he opened the frame with his third straight two-bagger. Two outs later he was at third, and Fran was intentionally walked to get to Locke; Clint sent up Ishy. A short wild pitch got Fran to second, and Travis eventually walked. The Reds brought in Jumbo Diaz, a hard throwing righty, to face Gregory as Cincy has been challenging him with fastballs tonight, whiffing El Coffee twice. Kinda backfired; a wild pitch brought in a run and moved the Bucs to second and third. Polanco walked to load them once again. Starling singled in another run on a liner to left, but Ishy was cut down by a mile trying to score. Put the blame for that TOOTBLAN on Rick Sofield, who could chill with the arm waving, especially with Cutch on deck.

Jared Hughes came on, and Byrd greeted him with a huge homer to center to make it 5-4. Brayan Pena followed with a double; sheesh, the bullpen. But Hughes settled in and left him stranded. JJ Hoover stopped the Bucs in the seventh. Joakim Soria got his first call as a Bucco; after two easy outs, he walked Votto, Frazier singled and Byrd drew an eight pitch pass. Clint kept him in, after 27 pitches and with a lefty, Pena, up. Soria fell behind 3-0, but came back to get him two pitches later on a liner to the box, a textbook "lookee here" snag.

Burke Badenhop took the ball in the eighth and worked a rocking chair inning. S-Rod took over first and Tony Watson took over the hill, working a clean frame with two punch outs. Ryan Mattheus retired the Pirates in order in the ninth.

Mark the shark gave up a lead off single to Phillips on a hung 1-2 curve. he was bunted to second, and Votto drew a walk; can't get a call when he's up. After that, it was no longer Melancon's game; it was a Marte partay.

Frazier singled to left past a floundering A-Ram (maybe when Pedro comes out, so should Ramirez) and Jim Riggelman waved Phillips home; Marte cut him down like he was standing still (tho the play did have to undergo a plate-blocking review, the dumbest rule in baseball). Then Byrd got ahead 3-0; the Shark came back to make it a full count, then Marlon hit a sinking, hooking liner to left. Starling dove and tumbled, snatching the ball an inch or two above the grass to preserve the win. Pasture mates Cutch and El Coffee tipped their caps to him; Mark gave Starling a very unshark-like hug in the post game lineup.

The Bucs did enough to win and finally get off the schneid at GABP. Tomorrow, Gerrit Cole goes against Raisel Iglesias. The Bucs missed Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, both due to pitch in this series, because of trades; hopefully Pittsburgh can take advantage. Give the Reds credit, too - the team lost a couple of long-time teammates and top gun starters, yet they're still playing hard in their yard.

  • Starling has a 10 game hitting streak.
  • Pittsburgh had seven hits; Jung-Ho had three of them.
  • After a meeting pre-game between Clint and AJ, Burnett ended up on the 15-day DL because of right elbow inflammation; LHP Bobby LaFromboise was called up to replace him. For LaFromboise, it's his second stint with the big club this year; he was up once last season, too, and has pitched creditably well. He went 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 43 IP for Indy this season. 
  • The Bucs added another pair of players to the roster. 1B/OF Mike Morse joined the club from LA for Jose Tabata, and LHP JA Happ was sent to Pittsburgh by Seattle for Indy RHP Adrian Sampson.
  • Not a big surprise: RHP Deolis Guerra was DFA'ed to clear roster a spot for Joakim Soria, who is in uniform tonight.

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