Monday, July 13, 2015

Un-Buc'ing-Believeable - Pirates Score Three In the 10th To Walk Off With a 6-5 Win, Cut Lead to 2-1/2

Frankie had a calm first; a leadoff walk erased by a DP and a routine fly made it a 1-2-3 frame. The Kid singled with an out off Tim Cooney, but went no further. Jason Heyward walked to open the second, not exactly the preferred protocol, and Yadier Molina singled him to third.Then the Bucs turned a DP on a comebacker; Frankie let the run score to turn two. An infield single went to third on another knock; every ball has been a grounder this inning, but most are finding their way to the OF. A short wild pitch got the back runner to second, but Liriano escaped when Cooney lined out to right.

Pittsburgh came back. Fran tripled to right center on a ball that appeared to just tick off Peter Bourjos glove.S-Rod popped out to right, freezing Fran, and though it was lefty-on-lefty, the Cards elected to walk Gregory to get to Frankie. He ripped the first pitch into the RF corner, plating both runners, but stopping at first to admire Polanco's run around the bases. He cost himself a run by doing that when Jordy followed with a single. The music ended when The Kid flew out to the track in left center with the Bucs up 2-1.

The lead was short lived. Frankie got three ground outs, but left a two-out, 3-2 change over the plate to Jhonny Peralta who drilled it into the left field seats. Cooney made Cutch and Starling look silly, K'ing them with mainly off speed stuff before walking Kang. Molina made JHK look silly in turn by throwing him out stealing from his knees, though the replay was awfully close, but not enough for the Bucs to challenge this early.

Frankie gutted out 6-2/3 innings tonight (photo Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)
The Redbirds went down quietly in the fourth. The Bucs got a one out double from S-Rod into the RF corner and he scored on Gregory's well placed grounder through the right side to regain the lead. The fifth went calmly by for both sides. Frankie's streak ended at eight Cards in a row with a walk in the sixth, but there was no further ado. Carlos Villanueva climbed the hill and got three soft grounders; onto the seventh.

Frankie began to labor. With an out, Randal Grichuk softly golfed a ball that dropped in center and Bourjos walked on a 3-2 pitch. That brought Jared Hughes into the game, and he got Tommy Pham to bounce one to third; JHK's throw was a little high, getting the force but squelching a shot at the DP. Antonio Bastardo came in to face Matt Carpenter. AB won the matchup, getting a first pitch fly to Cutch.

Lefty Randy Choate came in to face El Coffee, who dropped a bunt for a hit. Mike Matheny channeled his inner Tony LaRussa and immediately called for Seth Maness. A swinging bunt by Gorkys Hernandez moved Gregory to second, but Jordy and The Kid put together a pair of disappointing at bats to leave him stranded.

Tony Watson came in, and tonight he couldn't plug the dike. With an out, a HBP and single was followed by an error when Jordy charged a Baltimore hop that came up on him to juice the bases. JHK knocked down a grounder, but only had a play at first as the Cards tied the game. Another walk loaded the sacks, but Tony whiffed Bourjos to end it.

Kevin Siegrist had a little luck on his side in the Bucco half. Starling lined a shot over the third base bag right into Carpenter's mitt; he was hugging the line in the no doubles D. After a walk to JHK, the count went full to Fran, whose fly fell a step short of the Clemente Wall. The Shark took the ball and retired the Cards in order in the ninth. Sam Tuivailala stepped in for St. Louis. He made it look easy, getting S-Rod and Polanco looking (though Sean's was off the dish) and Pedro on a pop up.

Arquimedes Caminero came in and was a disaster. Back-to-back singles and a one-out HBP loaded the bases, and Grichuk sent the first pitch he saw into the gap in right center scoring a pair with a third Card tossed out at home. Trevor Rosenthal came on with a 5-3 lead. It wasn't enough.

Gregory Polanco (photo via Pittsburgh Pirates)
Jordy led off with a jam shot single, but the magic looked done when The Kid flew out to the track in center and Cutch bounced out. Starling, with Mercer now at second, singled to right to make it 5-4. JHK's knock moved him up a station, and that was close enough when Fran cued a two strike pitch into right to knot the score. Ishy pinch hit and walked on four pitches to load the bases. Gregory drilled the next pitch into right, Kang jogged home, and the Bucs had their second walk-off in two nights. But hey - they still owe the Cards one from that series at Busch.

Too bad we have to go into the All Star break. We'd love to see the Cardinals and Pirates play every game from now to the end of the season; what a trip these last two games have been.

  • Cutch had his hitting streak end at 18 games.
  • Gregory had three hits tonight; maybe this is the game that launches his season.
  • The Pirates and Cards are tied at five wins apiece in their series. Five of those games have been decided by extra inning walkoffs.
  • This is the first time this season Trevor Rosenthal has been scored on in back-to-back appearances.
  • The ultmate LOOGY - Randy Choate has made 44 appearances and pitched just 18 innings.
  • Jeff Locke was available from the pen tonight (Charlie Morton was the last man left last night, tho they didn't need him.) along with call-up Wilfredo Boscan.
  • Cutch joined Willie Stargell and Ralph Kiner as the only Pirates to hit five walk-off homers. Pretty fast company...
  • Last night's win was only the second time in Pirates history in which they erased deficits twice in extra innings. Roberto Clemente hit a walkoff in the 17th to defeat San Diego 4-3 on July 15th, 1971 for the other comeback.
  • The US won the Futures Game 10-1; Pirate prospects 1B Josh Bell hit a two-run homer while going 1-for-2 and C Elias Diaz went 0-for-2.


Anonymous said...

Two of the best Pirates games I have seen in a long time.
Saturday's thriller was one for the ages - Sunday nights win has me thinking World Series.

WOW! Lets Go Bucs!!!
-Cincy Bucco

Ron Ieraci said...

Pitching tells, and that's why Pgh & StL are the two best. We'll see how the offenses play out to support those arms, Dave - it's no coincidence that the Cards return to the field and Matt Holliday being out happened at the same time. But yah, this could be the team that wins the division, and let the crapshoot begin from there. Going to the ASG?

Anonymous said...

May scalp a ticket tomorrow. Pretty much reserved for REDS season ticket holders.
Decent seats are pricey - Would rather pay up for WS tix :)

Your right about the hitting and the Cards fall coinciding with the loss of Matt H.
Johnny P has been big for them - but he needs help.

Taking the Cards series 3-1 in dramatic fashion was HUGE. Team confidence has to be sky high right now.

Trading deadline will be interesting, we may not be able to do too much. Would love to see us get Marlon Byrd back - he can't cost much for the stretch run and would probably love to come back. I would target him as a 3/4 outfielder/PH/DH. Can certainly see us adding a quality reliever to the pen.

1B is probably our biggest issue - good old Pedro.

Kang is a joy to watch. credit to the FO for taking the risk. Heck of a player.


Ron Ieraci said...

JHK and Fran were really solid gets in the off-season; who woulda thunk it at the time? My toughts at the deadline is that the FO's not going to go all in - not their style, and given the market, prob a good idea - but will go after a seventh inning guy and a RH bench piece (why is it so hard to find an old-fashioned 1b?OF in this modern era?).

I myself would bring up a Pedro Florimon/Gift Ngoebe type to fill in while Josh is on the DL; otherwise JHK-Jordy-The Kid will never get a day off, and there are precious off days in September, so saving their legs would be a good thing. But their bench could use a shuffle.