Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cole, Kang & Marte Partay Down For 3-2 Win Over G-Men

First inning went as advertised: Gerrit Cole gave up a two-out walk and Mike Leake tossed a clean frame with a couple of whiffs. There was nada for either side in the second (altho Starling pulled back a HR ball hit by Brandon Crawford at the 383' sign in LC) nor the third. Buster Posey singled in the fourth with two outs and Cutch walked, also with two down, and was quickly caught stealing, so neither side got a guy to second.

The Bucs gave away a run in the fifth. A one out walk to Gregor Blanco turned into a triple shortly thereafter when he stole a base and went to third on a poor throw by Stew; he scored on Ehire Adrianza's broken bat bloop single. Pittsburgh came right back; JHK led the inning off with a liner that cleared the CF wall (est 435') to tie the score.

Matt Duffy opened the sixth with a single and stole second. An out later, he made it to third when JHK's try to cut off the lead guy misfired; he had Duffy dead, but couldn't finish with an straight toss. That put G-Men on the corners. There they stayed as Cole Train punched out Marlon Byrd and Crawford. 8-9-1 for the Pirates went down 1-2-3.

Gerrit was every inch an ace today (photo Charles LeClaire/USA Today)
Blanco walked to open the seventh, with Gerrit now at 104 pitches. A wild pitch that Stew usually blocks moved him to second and he was bunted to third. In kind of a poser, Leake - who is a good hitting pitcher - was lifted after just 77 pitches and one hit. It almost worked - Kelby Tomlinson hit the ball on the nose, but right at The Kid. Nori Aoki grounded out, and Cole left the hill king of PNC, with the sellout crowd on their feet and roaring.

Hunter Strickland took over, and Starling greeted him with a two-bagger. An out later, the Bucs tripped over their own two feet again; Marte was picked off breaking to third. But this JHK's world today; he drilled a fastball into the bullpen some 425' away to make it 2-1.

Joakim Soria took over in the eighth and walked Matt Duffy on five pitches, sheesh. Brandon Belt followed with an infield single. Joakim got Buster Posey to roll one to JHK to start a 6-4-3 DP, but hold the elation; a wild pitch brought in the tying run (looked like a case of crossed signals) making both scores gifts - and both on walks. George Kontos took the hill against the 6-7-8 turn of the order and sat them down.

Mark the Shark worked a quick, six-pitch ninth, and Michael Morse hit for him to open the Bucco half. He went down looking and Gregory went down swinging. Not so for Starling; he ripped the first pitch out of the yard, and bingo - the Bucs had walk off win as the Marte partay fist-pumped its way around the bases.

It'd be nice if the Bucs wouldn't walk guys, if Gerrit would hold runners, or would just play sound defense. On the other hand, if you're gonna get just four hits, it's even nicer that three go yard. As Chuck Noll used to say "Whatever it takes." The Bucs go for the series clincher on national TV tomorrow night with Frankie Liriano taking on Ryan Vogelsong.

  • JHK joined Hee-Seop Choi and Shin-Soo Choo as the only South Korean-born players with a multi-HR game. He also became the first Bucco this year with a pair of 425'+ homers in the same game per @ESPNStatsInfo.
  • Jung-Ho and Starling each had two hits, with three homers and a double between them. The only other Pirate to reach base was Cutch, who walked.
  • The Pirate relievers won their 18th straight decision in bullpen-v-bullpen matchups, closing in on a record of 22 set by - who else? - the 1909 Buccos. It's a long tradition.
  • Today's attendance of 38,259 was the 21st sellout of the season.
  • Jordy went 1-for-4 in the Indy Indians 6-0 win this afternoon. Another couple of guys in the Bucs' future did OK, too - Tyler Glasnow went 6-1/3 IP, giving up four hits, two walks and whiffing nine, while Alen Hanson went 2-for-4.

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