Gregory walked to open the Bucco half against Mat Latos. Starling dropped a soft lob into center; Polanco hesitated to make sure it fell, and was forced at second when he went in standing; a hard slide would have beaten the throw. Marte then stole second and was sent back; reason unclear. The ump indicated it was a foul tip on Cutch, but that's a live ball. It was speculated that since the backswing hit Ellis, it was considered unintentional interference and a dead ball; dunno about that. Anyway, Starling stole it again and came in on Cutch's fister. A-Ram rolled into a DP to end what has been a very odd inning of baseball.
Liriano shows no command of any breaking pitches; Latos opened with a single. Two outs later, Kendrick rolled one up the middle; The Kid stopped it, then ran past the ball when he whiffed on a glove flip, allowing Latos an extra base. That cost a run as Latos scored when Gonzalez grounded a single against the shift, which isn't working too well so far today.
|Frankie didn't go long pitching, but he did at the plate (Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
The lead didn't last long; a leadoff walk was followed by a Hernandez bomb on a 3-1 fastball right down the middle. Frankie struggled through, leaving a runner and was even visited by the trainer but stayed in; let's hope he's just strong after his rained out start and not hurt, tho he's been rubbing his right side. Cutch opened the Bucco half with a double, stole third and came in on JHK's bouncer. The Bucs added one more when The Kid went yard, slamming one into the top rows in right center to make it 6-4. Latos was lucky, too - two of the three outs were nicely made plays by his fielders. Frankie was done; Joe Blanton took over.
He gave up a hit and whiffed two in the fourth; Latos tossed a clean frame. An A-Ram error and walk put Joe in a hole in the fifth, but a 5-4-3 DP (review overturned a safe call at first) and tapper got him out of it. Pedro Baez came on. Cutch singled with an out and A-Ram blasted one high off the fence in left. Cutch was held at third on the throw that went straight to second, nailing Ramirez ridiculously easily. The inning ended with Cutch stranded.
Blanton gave up a two out bad hop single in the sixth, but got a long fly to finish his third frame of shutout relief. Baez tossed a 1-2-3 inning, and Joakim Soria took the hill in the seventh. He gave up a one out bloop single that fell between three Pirates, but got a quick 4-6-3 to close it out. Luis Avilan took the ball, and whiffed a pair, beaned Marte, walked Cutch, and then whiffed A-Ram. Someone had to tell the fielders the inning was over.
Tony Watson answered the eighth inning bell. He gave up a soft lob to right center, then got a glove on a shot up the middle, slowing it down enough to be turned into a 1-4-3 DP. Rollins flew out to the track, and there were three outs to go after Joel Peralta tossed a routine frame. Mark the Shark came out looking to get them. he did, but it was a struggle.
Melancon hung an 0-2 curve at the belt that Kendrick slapped into right. Gonzalez roped a shot to left, but Marte had it measured. Van Slyke got a cutter that ran over the plate and creamed it into the gap; a diving Cutch came up short and the two-bagger made it a 6-5 game. Puig hit a ball to JHK at third; he looked back the runner, and his double clutch throw was a bit wide and high; S-Rod's toe came off the bag and Yasiel was safe. Or was he? Replay showed that Rodriguez's toe stayed glued to the sack until a millisecond after the catch, and NY overturned the safe call. Joc Pederson walked, but Mark ended it by getting Yasmani Grandal to fish for a curve, and that was it, finally. Big props, btw, to Joe Blanton; he did truly deserve the win for his work.
Well, the last two games may not be primers for coaches, but making enough plays and pounding enough hits goes a long way. Frankie's homer was, when all is said and done, the key blow; hopefully he didn't hurt himself cranking it out. Charlie Morton and Alex Wood close out what has been a very entertaining series tomorrow night.
- In the post-game interviews, both Clint and Frankie said there is no injury to Francisco (altho Liriano did say he felt "a twinge," so...). A bad day at the office+79 pitches over three frames are the reasons why Liriano was yanked per the Skipper.
- Cutch's third hit was #1,100 of his career. He's the 29th Pirate in to reach that mark and the first since Jack Wilson in 2007. Andrew also passed up Dick Groat for 17th place on the all-time Bucco doubles list with 227 two-baggers. BTW, he went 3-for-3 with a walk.
- From @AceballStats - Slash after 985 games: Roberto Clemente .299/.333/.433; Barry Bonds .272/.377/.497; Andrew McCutchen .299/.387/.499.
- Today's attendance of 38,981 was the 17th sellout of the season. The game lasted 3:42 as the first three innings took forever, but a Fan Jam crowd is a captive audience. Decent game, too.
- The official scorer explained Marte's recall - it was ruled unintentional contact with the catcher by Cutch. The umps did not have a bad day, despite all the challenges and overturns. Every call was bang bang; they really took super slo-mo to determine.
- Forgot to mention in yesterday's notes that Rob Scahill worked two clean innings in his GCL rehab debut.