Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jay, A-Ram Lead Bucs to 4-3 Win Over the Rockies

Jay Happ had a good start with a clean first frame. Chris Rusin didn't have such a great opening scene. With one gone, Josh and Cutch singled, then A-Ram crunched a sinker over the LF wall 400' away, and the Bucs had an out-of-the-gate 3-0 lead. The Rox got a two-out single (actually, Ben Paulsen hit it off the Clemente Wall, but didn't feel like challenging Gregory) in the second, which was a hit more than the Pirates came up with.

Brandon Barnes opened the third with a double and Rusin singled, not the ideal way to navigate through the bottom of the order. A force play brought in a run, and Charlie Blackmon then stole second and went to third on a bad throw by Fran. Jay worked out of it to limit the damage. The second out was a fly to right; the Rockies fortunately opted not to challenge Polanco, whose throw was a mile off target, so street cred saved a run. Cutch singled with two gone and was left aboard.

A one out walk and two out single (lined off Happ's butt; he stayed in) stirred the pot in the fourth, but Jay got a grounder to shut it down. Fran had a pesky one-out at bat and walked. Pedro bounced out to first; Paulsen took the out, then threw the ball away trying to catch Cervelli, who ended up at third. The Kid was intentionally walked before Jay K'ed.

Jay keeps rollin' along (photo Frank Franklin/AP)
The fifth was a quick and quiet frame for Happ. Josh singled with an out but was picked off on his break to second, and Cutch popped out. CarGo led off the sixth with a bunt single, and an out later DJ LeMahieu reached on JHK's throwing error. After a force, Clint waved in Arquimedes Caminero; Jay was only at 86 pitches, but hasn't hit the 100 mark as a Pirate, probably by design. Anyway, it worked - one pitch, one out. Rusin walked Fran with two outs and left him; the Bucs hit a couple of hard balls, but couldn't find the grass.

Arquie worked a clean seventh. It took him 16 pitches to get four outs, nine on Blackmon alone before he blew a heater past him. Jason Gurka came in for the Rox, and The Kid greeted him with a single. Michael Morse grabbed a bat and dropped a bloop into right, with Neil scampering to third. Starling ran for Neil and scored on a force at second by Gregory. The lefty was pulled for RHP Gonzalez Germen, and he closed out the inning.

S-Rod went to first, Starling to left, Josh to second and Tony Watson toed the rubber for the eighth. Nolan Arenado singled with two gone; his ball was smoked to the left field wall, but he decided not to test Starling. Tony had to toss 10 pitches to get LeMahieu, but get him he did. Fran drew a free pass with two gone and S-Rod singled. Starling hit the ball squarely, but right to short to end the music.

In came The Shark and Jordy, as JHK moved to third. Paulsen singled to open, and Nick Hundley homered on a 2-1 fastball, crushing it over the left field fence and into the rotunda. Barnes rolled a single to right, and it's getting a little quiet in the park. Daniel Descalso popped out. Blackmon hit a liner on the nose, but right at Josh; he made the grab and doubled Barnes off first, so *whew*. Maybe working your closer for a third straight day with a three run lead isn't the way to go, but it is Clint's way, and he survived the decision.

Another good outing by Jay, and A-Ram's first homer in his second stint was the key blow. Jay is reminding us of last year's Vanimal - seems like he's always surrounded by runners, but stays in command and more often than not dodges the raindrops. Charlie Morton goes for the brooming tomorrow afternoon against Jorge De La Rosa.

  • A-Ram's homer was his first as a Pirate since July, 2003.
  • Cutch had two hits; it's his eighth multi-hit game in the last eleven. His BA is up to .305 after being at .292 going into August 18th. Andrew's definitely the straw that stirs the Bucco brew, batting .345 in games the Pirates win and .237 during their losses.
  • Melancon's 43rd save ties him with Jose Mesa for the #2 spot in saves during a season; he's three behind Mike William's 46, earned in 2002. 
  • The pre-game honored the 55th anniversary of the 1960 Bucs. The Clemente kids, Maz, Bill Virdon, Bob Friend, Vern Law, Dick Groat, Joe Gibbon, Hal Smith, Bob Oldis and Joe Christopher among others attended.
  • Tonight's attendance was 35,838, just short of a sellout.

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