Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bucs Outslug Cubs 7-5; Cutch, El Coffee Go Long

Jeff Locke was off to a good start; ten pitches and he was through the first frame. The good news continued; Gregory Polanco led off with a homer against Dan Haren. An out later, a walk, single and boot loaded the bases. The Kid popped out to left, but Pedro came through with a knock, scoring one run but losing another as A-Ram was thrown out at home on a bad read by Rick Sofield, especially with hot hitting Fran on deck. Still, 2-0 is a good start.

It was 1-2-3 for Jeff again in the second, and the Bucs went down in order. Chris Denorfia opened the third with a single and was bunted to second, where he died. Cutch joined El Coffee on the HR trail, banging one 431' into the center field shrubs to make it 3-0.

Kyle Schwarber was served a two-strike change that hung at the belt and started the fourth with a double. A wild pitch moved him to third and a sac fly brought him in to make it 3-1. The kid opened with a walk, and he went to second on a wild pitch by Haren. Pedro K'ed on a pitch he couldn't have reached with a selfie stick. Walker was picked off trying to get to third on Fran's bouncer, and Jeff's flyout ended it.

Jeff tossed a clean fifth. Starling legged out an infield hit with one gone and stole second an out later. A-Ram rolled over on a cutter down and away, but caught enough to roll a seeing eye ball into left to plate Marte. JHK followed with another knock but the two out magic ended with a Walker line out; he and Cutch both squared it up, but ended up with at 'em balls.

Dexter Fowler walked with an out in the sixth, and it hurt an out later when Schwarber drilled a hung curve over the middle of the dish out of the yard (and barely over a leaping Cutch at the wall) to make it a 4-3 game. Rizzo followed with another long fly on the next pitch and just like it, it was a tied game.

Antonio Bastardo - one pitch, one win (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
That was it for Locke; Jared Hughes got another early call. Jorge Soler singled off him and stole second, then Starling Castro walked. Denorfia took some borderline pitches and got the call on all of them, walking to jam the bases. Lefty Chris Coghlan came up to pinch hit, and Antonio Bastardo got the call, retiring Coghlan on the first pitch, a grounder to Pedro.

Travis Wood toed the rubber. Fran singled with an out, and Michael Morse came in to pinch hit. He singled to left on a 3-2 heater. Gregory made it a trifecta with a knock to right, scoring Cervelli. Pedro Strop answered the phone after that. He lost Starling to juice the sacks, with S-Rod coming in to run for Morse. Cutch sent a liner to right; it was run down but went as a sac fly to make it 6-4 before A-Ram whiffed to end the fun.

Joakim Soria climbed the hill in the seventh. It took 11 pitches, but he finally punched out the pesky Addison Russell. A grounder and another K finished up the frame. Jason Motte tossed for the Cubbies and got three flies to left, right and center to work a clean frame.

Tony Watson answered the phone for the eighth. Kris Bryant greeted him with a single, but a whiff of Rizzo and a DP quieted those seas. Fran got a 3-2 fastball down the middle and ripped it into right center for a triple. S-Rod battled Motte for 10 pitches and won, rolling a single into left to make it 7-4. That brought a call for James Russell. Rodriguez got happy feet; he was caught taking off by Russell and tagged out on his way to second. Russell got the next two routinely, and it's Shark time.

Starlin Castro started with a single. An out later, pinch hitter Matt Szczur doubled on the first pitch, a cutter down the pipe, to put Cubbies at second and third. A grounder brought in a run and a whiff ended the game for Melancon's 34th save.

The Bucs came back for the sweep in a homer-filled contest (the wind was blowing out at 10 MPH) and get a day off. Friday the Dodgers come to PNC Park with Gerrit Cole on the hill.

  • Gregory's homer was his first leading off a game. He and Cutch combined for four RBI and three runs scored; Fran plated twice from the eight hole.
  • Mark the Shark surrendered his first run since June 5th, ending a 22-1/3 IP scoreless streak.
  • Both homers off Jeff Locke were by lefties.
  • The Bucs drew a nice Wednesday night crowd of 35,759. 
  • Quick Healers: Josh Harrison will begin his rehab assignment at Indy on Tuesday, and Jordy Mercer is expected to join him on Friday.
  • Clint Hurdle is using the Thursday break to reshuffle his rotation: Gerrit Cole will go on Friday, followed by Frankie and Charlie.
  • RHP Deolis Guerra was claimed by the Cleveland Indians. He was DFA'ed when Joakim Soria joined the club.
  • Clayton Richard is becoming a human yo-yo. He was called up by the Cubs for the third time today as Rafael Soriano went on the DL; Calyton's made it through waivers twice.

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