Friday, July 24, 2015

Mad Max Touched For Three Bombs As Bucs Outblast Nats 7-5

The first was a quiet frame for Jeff Locke and Maz Scherzer; Washington had a calm second, too, Pittsburgh didn't. Jung-Ho singled in the Bucco half, and then Pedro lost a ball 453' feet from the plate in right center to make it 2-0; it went one hop off the River Walk and into the Allegheny. The third went by scorelessly. In fact, Jeff Locke hasn't allow a baserunner over the first three innings. You know what happens next, right?

The lefty threw 43 pitches in the fourth; nine batters took a turn as he surrendered three walks, a single, double, and homer, with throws to the wrong base and a sac pop up thrown in the mix to make 4-2 Nats. Starling and JHK led of the fourth with knocks, but never moved.

In the fifth, Harper took advantage of Cutch and Polanco, stretching a bloop to the RC no man's land into a double as the pair ho-hummed playing the ball. That put Nationals at second and third, but a diving grab over the bag by The Kid saved any damage; all four balls hit this frame were bullets. The Bucs responded again. Jaff Decker walked, the El Coffee (in a brlliiant appearance; he was 0-2, fouled off six balls & finally found one he liked) and The Kid went deep back-to-back, and who'd a thunk the Pirates were up 5-4 on Scherzer?

Vanimal entered in the sixth and gave up a homer to Ian Desmond, and it was tied again, 5-5. Sammy Solis took the ball, and gave up a Fran single with an out. With two gone, Brent Morel doubled in Cervelli and Gregory's roller up the middle put the Pirates up a pair.

Gregory drove in three tonight (photo Mike James/Baseball America)
Jared Hughes toed the rubber in the seventh, and Flo bounced the throw for a lead grounder that S-Rod couldn't pick. A force, stolen base and tapper moved Michael Taylor to third with Bryce Harper up; Jared worked around him, then got serious and closed out the frame. Aaron Barrett got the call for the Nats, and Cutch opened with a single but went nowhere.

Tony Watson climbed the hill and it was 1-2-3, although the Nats were swinging it; they lined out twice in the frame. Casey Jannsen strolled in for Washington. Fran doubled with an out and went to third on a Flo roller, but stayed 90' short as Ishy whiffed swinging at a 3-2 hook.

It was Shark time, only his second appearance since the ASG. Emmanuel Burris opened with a bunt knock, but two pitches later, a 3-6-3 DP ended that early bit of drama. Taylor lined the next pitch into the grass for a single but no sweat; three pitches later, Melancon had his 31st save to bag Vance's 4th win. AJ and Gio Gonzalez tangle tomorrow night.

  • JHK has a six game hitting streak, all multi-hit performances.
  • Every starting position player but Pedro Florimon had a hit; Gregory, The Kid, JHK and Fran had a pair each. On the flip side, the Bucs rang up their fifth straight double digit strikeout count.
  • For Mark the Shark, it was his 29th save opportunity in a row converted, a franchise record that grows every outing.
  • Two big at-bats came of the Pirates' maligned bench; B-More doubled in a run and scored with two outs while Jaff Decker drew a lead off walk and plated.
  • This is the first time Max Scherzer has given up three HRs in a game since Sept. 15th, 2011 against the NY Mets. His five inning outing was his second shortest of the year; he was yanked once earlier after 4-2/3 IP against the Reds.
  • Tonight's attendance of 38,371 was the 13th sellout of the season.
  • Maz was honored pre-game for his selection as a member of the "Franchise Four."

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