Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Late Fireworks Light Up the Padres 5-2

Didn't take San Diego long to dent Charlie; Matt Kemp sent a two-out,1-2 sinker into the batter's eye to make it 1-0. Yangervis Solarte then doubled, but Morton escaped further indignities. The Bucs went down quietly to Andrew Cashner.

The second wasn't much better. A one-out walk to Wil Venable turned into a run when Melvin Upton Jr doubled him home, then Cashner walked before Charlie got the last two outs. JHK led off the Bucco half with a double of the SS's glove, hustling into second as the ball died in shallow center. The extra base paid off when a grounder and sac fly by Pedro plated Kang. The third went by quickly and calmly.

Charlie stranded a walk at second in the fourth while the Buc bats remained quiet. In the fifth, the Friars left a lead off single on first. Pittsburgh continued its frustration at the dish; Pedro even tried to bunt against the shift for a hit, but rolled it back to Cashner. A sixth inning single by SD made it to second when Pedro whiffed on a pick off toss, but an intentional walk and K of Cashner kept the Padres off the board. But Chuck's at 104 pitches, so this was his last frame. For the Pirates, it was the same ol'; Cashner has retired 15 in a row.

Deolis Guerra took over in the seventh and worked a 1-2-3 frame. Then finally, a hit - The Kid led off with a double. Cutch battled, spoiling a couple of changeups, before drawing a walk. JHK's fly to center sent Walker to third. Clutch tag; Fran's fielder's choice (Alexi Amarista made a big play to keep the ball from going into left) tied the game.

Deolis Guerra gets the W after a solid start by Charlie (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Guerra stayed on the hill and tossed another clean inning. Travis Ishikawa drew a two-out pinch hit walk, and Gregory became a hero again, smoking a center cut heater into right for a double to plate Ishy, who was off on the sprint from the moment of contact, sliding in ahead of the barely of the throw. That brought on Brandon Mauer, who lost Walker. A short wild pitch got El Coffee to third, and he jogged home when Cutch roped a single to left. Kang then rolled a knock into left, and it was 5-2. That stirred Kevin Quackenbush, who got the third out on San Diego's sixth try.

Antonio Bastardo took the ball; Clint is smartly saving the Shark for the Card series, unless AB has a meltdown. Walking Clint Barmes to open the frame wasn't a good start, but he finished well with a couple of K to ice the sweep.

An impressive two-out burst by the Bucs again, and yet another bout of strong pitching. And don't forget the hustle and base running smarts by JHK and Ishy, which were huge parts of tonight's win. Now it's time for the Cards, with Jeff Locke getting the opening honors against Carlos Martinez. PNC ought to be rocking for this showdown series.
  • Andrew's hitting streaking is now at 15 games, the Pirate's longest since Josh's string late last season.
  • Tonight's save was Antonio Bastardo's first since July, 2013. And for Deolis Guerra, it was his second win in four MLB appearances.
  • We harp on the Buc's inefficiency at driving home runs often enough, but tonight they made the most of not much, scoring five times and stranding just three runners.
  • This was the Pirates MLB-leading tenth sweep of the season (it also ties the franchise record of sweeps before the AS break, set in 1990), and the fourth straight come-from-behind victory.
  • Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Bucs, among others, had scouts to eyeball Scott Kazmir tonight. He was pulled after three innings with "triceps tightness," so the scouts didn't get to see much.
  • The diagnosis on Josh of torn thumb ligaments was confirmed and he had surgery today. His estimated time to miss is seven weeks. Jameson Taillon also had his hernia surgery today, and is expected to miss two months. In better news, Starling says his oblique tweak feels much better today, FWIW.
  • Clayton Richard got the call for the Cubs again tonight as Jason Hammel left early with a hammy injury. Clayton gave up seven hits and four rune in 2-2/3 IP of emergency work.

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