Monday, July 20, 2015

Pirates Outlast Royals In Battle Royale 10-7

Yordano Ventura has an easy opening frame against the Bucs; not so AJ v the Royals. Alcides Escobar opened with a single, stole second and scored on Mike Moustakas' knock. MM had happy feet, tho, and tried to stretch his single into a double; Starling said no. An out later, JHK had a ball go off his glove (it was somehow ruled a hit), but no further damage came of it.

The Bucs came out smokin' in the second. Four consecutive knocks by Starling, Jung-Ho, Pedro and Fran, plus a boot by CF'er Lorenzo Cain, plated a pair, and Ishy's opposite field double, missing a long ball by a foot or so, scored two more to make it 4-1. KC bounced back with a pair of hard hit balls to put runners at second and third, and a hit batter loaded the sacks an out later. But AJ hung tough and left them stranded after a lob to short that Kang climbed the ladder to glove and a fly to Cutch.

Andrew started the third with a single, and Starling's knock was followed by a JHK walk to juice the sacks. Pedro K'ed, going after two pitches way off the dish and then whiffing at a curve down Broadway. Fran hit sharply into a first-to-home force, and Ishikawa went down on three straight off speed pitches, so both sides have left ducks all over the pond. Burnett continued to show rust in his command after his AS layoff, but worked a 1-2-3 frame anyway.

Starling had three hits against KC (photo Fox Sports)

Ventura put S-Rod away on three pitches. Gregory actually took some pitches and banged a 3-1 sinker into right for a double. He came in an out later on Cutch's two-bagger to left. Marte went down on a curve in the dirt; Ventura does have seven K's to go with the five runs. with two gone in the KC half, Alex Rios doubled and Jarrod Dyson dribbled a single to second. AJ picked Dyson off and he got into a rundown; JHK couldn't decide what to do when when Rios broke home on the throw to second, allowing him to score and Dyson to reach second before Burnett closed it out. Where's your little league coach when you need him?

Must have lit a fire; Kang led off with a double, chasing Ventura and bringing on Kris Medlen, fresh off the DL. Pedro continued being Pedro; swinging at two pitches off the plate while taking a fastball down the middle. Fran joined him, looking at strikes two and three. Ishy made it all better, tho, catching a belt high sinker and dropping it into the LF seats to make it 7-2. Moustakas opened for KC by taking a curve off the foot. Cain worked AJ hard, but Burnett got him to bounce a 3-2 sinker into a 4-6-3 DP. Eric Hosmer singled against the shift on a center cut 0-2 sinker, and it cost as Kendrys Morales got a sinker in the lefty sweet spot and drilled it off the foul pole in right, making it 7-4 after five.

Medlen was much sharper this frame, keeping everything on the edges, and got a pair of whiffs on two strike swing-and-miss curves. Lead off man Omar Infante walked. A fly, force out by Dyson and balk put a Royal at second. Fran had to step in to keep a steamed AJ from being tossed over the call (it was a balk; he moved his front foot toward home before a pickoff try) and Ray Searage joined in to calm his pitcher down. Dyson stole third to rub salt in the wound, but was stranded there after a tapper to first.

Starling opened the seventh with a single and stolen base, and Kang's fly to center got him to third. The small ball worked as Pedro's soft grounder brought him home thx to 1B Hosmer, who picked a chopper that was heading foul and tagged Pedro as Marte scored. Take the sure out, we guess. Moustakas led off crushing a homer to counter the Pirates gift run and for the first time tonight, the Buc bullpen stirred.

Cain followed with a single, and Antonio Bastardo took the ball. During his warmups, Fran was visited by the trainer and removed from the game; dunno what that's about. Anyway, Hosmer tripled to cut the lead to a pair; make that one as a grounder sent him home. That brought on Jared Hughes. Salvador Perez singled off S-Rod's glove, but Jared pumped out another grounder and got an inning-ending 6-3 DP.

Ishy had the hot stick tonight (Photo Charle LeClaire/USA Today)

Ishy keeps on pounding the ball; this time, he pulled one for a double to right. They asked S-Rod to bunt; he fouled off a pair before rolling one back to the box; Travis was caught going to third. Gregory's bloop single moved Rodriguez to the hot corner and Luke Hochevar took over for Medlen. The Kid cranked his first pitch into right, bringing home a pair (and saving S-Rod's bacon) as he steamed into third when the throw went home (he ended up credited with a triple). Cutch went down quietly on strikes, missing a couple of hittable pitches and looking at one that just caught the knees. Marte couldn't cash in Walker, and the way this game has gone, every run counts. Tony Watson strolled in. He got the first pair of Royals easily before Escobar singled on a 3-2 pitch, then Moose was plunked with a 1-2 fastball. But Cain lifted the next pitch to left and Starling; one more inning to survive.

Pedro dropped a one-out single into center, and Stew followed with another knock. But the mighty Ishy struck out and S-Rod lined out, so it was up to Mark the Shark to finish it up. He didn't start off well, walking Hosmer. It got better when Morales banged into an around the horn DP, and ended well with a whiff. It wasn't easy, but the Buc bats finally had a night, and they needed it. There are some crazy games here in KC.

There were 17 runs and 31 hits combined, with the Bucs going 6-for-23 with RISP (that's a lot of runners on second and third!) and whiffing 13 times. Makes for some dramatic ball, that's for sure. Gerrit Cole and Jason Vargas get it on tomorrow night.

  • Neil Walker has a 10 game hitting streak. Stew has an eight-gamer.
  • Cutch passed Jack Wilson for most hits in interleague play for a Pirate with his 133rd hit against the AL. He also has a 12 game hitting streak against the junior circuit (13 if you count the ASG!)
  • Ishy's homer was his first since his dramatic long ball for the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.
  • This was Watson's 300th appearance for the Bucs since making his debut on June 8th, 2011.
  • Fran Cervelli was removed from the game due to "discomfort to his right wrist." He is being treated and evaluated. We'll see where that leads...
  • The Pirates have allowed four steals today for the fourth time this season, per ESPN Stats. That's twice as many as any other team in the majors.

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