Sunday, August 16, 2015

How Sweep It Is - Bucs Come Alive Late To Take 8-1 Victory

Matt Harvey worked a scoreless first, stranding The Kid after a two out double. Jeff Locke did likewise, but it was a harder row. He gave up a leadoff single to Juan Lagares, and an out later, the Mets got a gift when A-Ram fielded a slow roller and nonchalantly flipped an underhand toss to second; everyone was safe. It didn't result in a run, but it did cost Locke 11 pitches to get that extra out on a day the bullpen could use a nap.

Pedro got the Bucs on top when he ripped a 2-2 fastball over the wall in center; Harvey then K'ed two of the next three hitters. The lead didn't last long; Travis d'Aranud dropped one into the left field seats (it would have been a loud out with the old Citi Field set-up, but the wall was moved in) to make it 1-1 after two. The Pirates again tried some two out lightning when Starling tripled, but The Kid couldn't cash him in. The Mets went down quietly, getting a two out walk; you'd like to see Locke work a couple of quick frames.

A-Ram had himself a day (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
In the fourth, the Bucs got a leadoff single from A-Ram and left him there. NY got a two-out double followed by an intentional walk before Harvey whiffed. Pedro Florimon walked to open the fifth; Locke promptly bounced into a DP on what may have been a botched hit-and-run. Of course, Gregory followed with another two-out extra base hit when he tripled. It would have been a four baser, except Polanco was shoe gazing while going up the first base line, and he was stranded when Starling was called out on a borderline 3-2 pitch. Cespedes beat out an infield knock to third with two outs; the Bucs challenged and it was rightly overturned, so Jeff tossed his first clean inning.

A-Ram singled with an out in the sixth, and Ishy singled an out later, but Stew's at 'em liner was gloved in right. Daniel Murphy rolled a single up the middle with an out, and Michael Cuddyer was nicked in the foot by a 1-2 curve. Oh, and it's pouring rain, too, just to add to the dark and gloomy scenario. As Clint came out to swap Jeff for Arquimedes, a booming thunder crack sounded, and the umps called for the tarp. After 42 minutes, Caminero returned and put the inning to bed.

Bobby Parnell came in, and the Mets fell apart. He walked Florimon, then Michael Morse hit a one hopper back to the box. Parnell threw a strike to second; Tejada wasn't there, and the Bucs had runners on the corners. S-Rod came in for Morse, and Gregory singled home a run. A Starling fly to right sent S-Rod to third, and he scored on a passed ball as a curve popped out of d'Arnaud's mitt. The Kid walked, and A-Ram rolled one into left to plate Gregory; the throw got away as Polanco scored,but hit the wall and bounced right back to the catcher; Walker was DOA trying to come in behind El Coffee. Eric O'Flaherty took the ball and gave up an RBI knock to Pedro. Ishy followed with a swinging bunt single before the fun ended at 5-1. Antonio Bastardo took the ball and whiffed a pair in a 1-2-3 Met half.

S-Rod doubled with an out and went to third on Gregory's dribbler; he was originally ruled safe at first, but the call was correctly overturned. Carlos Torres was called, and Starling did beat out a bleeder to short to bring home a run. The Kid walked and A-Ram short-hopped the center field wall with a double to chase home two more before the gate shut when AB took his third at-bat since 2009 and looked at every pitch; he was by rights walked on a 3-2 pitch, except for the ump calling a mercy strike with an 8-1 count favoring the Bucs. AB picked up another pair of Ks, working a second clean inning to spare the pen.

Stew singled to open the ninth, but the Bucco run had come to an end; he never got to second. Joakim Soria toed the rubber, and two K's and a roller later, the Bucs had a sweep.

The Mets got a schooling in keepin' on. The Pirates screwed up fundamental plays all during the series, yet they just kept grinding and doing enough things right to tale home a W. And don't let the score fool ya; if Tejada is there for Parnell's throw to turn the DP, it's another cliffhanger in Gotham.

Baseball in August is all about that grind. The survival stretch against the Cubs, Dodgers, Cards and Mets ended up an 8-3 run for Pittsburgh. Now they go home to face the Snakes, with Gerrit Cole v Jeremy Hellickson. Oh - the Cubs & Cards lost today. Just sayin...

  • A-Ram had a four hit day, his first since 2013 as a Brewer. Natch, it was against the Bucs.
  • The Pirates used everyone on the bench but Fran Cervelli & JHK today, and 10 of the 11 reached base with a hit or walk except for Michael Morse.
  • Pittsburgh has a MLB-leading 13 sweeps; the Mets contributed a pair of them. In fact, NY never led once in the six games played. It's the first time in team history that the Pirates have taken the season series from NY.
  • The Bucs have a 10 game home run streak. Pedro's long ball ended a 16 inning scoreless stretch by Harvey.
  • This is the fifth straight start that Jeff Locke hasn't completed six innings.
  • Old trooper: After working three frames last night yet knowing the pen was short, Joe Blanton told Clint he'd be good for a couple of innings today if needed. Mark the Shark was out for sure; yesterday was his third straight appearance. Clint isn't treating his bullpen with kid gloves, remember that the next scheduled off day is August 31st.
  • Neal Huntington said during his Sunday radio show on 93.7 The Fan that they have reached out to Travis Snider's reps and that there is some interest after he was DFA'ed by the Os; he didn't say at what level.

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