The first action was a one-gone double by S-Rod in the third, and an out later, Gregory walked on four wide ones. That set up Starling, who ripped a knee high fastball to center for a two run two bagger. Marlon Byrd (in CF today) slid to stop the ball from getting to the wall; no diff as Gregory was flying. Cutch reached after a 10 pitch at bat on an error by the SS Eugenio Suarez, but JHK bounced out on a nicely made, redemptive play by Suarez to end the music. Ivan DeJesus Jr singled to right with an out. Sampson K'ed trying to bunt him over. Good thing as Brandon Phillips singled. A grounder left the runners aboard.
The Kid opened the fourth with a first pitch triple to right; it was close enough to a long fly that the blue crew reviewed it, and then waved him around; it didn't hit a railing, but a bad-hands fan. The Bucs went down in order afterward, and so did the Redlegs. It was 1-2-3 for the Bucs in the fifth. With two Reds gone, DeJesus singled again. Rookie Kyle Waldrop grabbed a bat for Sampson and went down swinging in his first MLB at-bat.
Pedro Villarreal took the ball in the sixth and sat Pittsburgh down. Skip Schumaker singled with one down, but no damage came of it. Charlie is cruisin' at just 69 tosses. Villarreal 1-2-3'ed the Bucs in the seventh - they only have three hits - and Charlie took the hill for his red flag frame. Bunch of shifts for him - S-Rod moved to first, Pedro Florimon to short, and JHK to third. After two routine grounders, Suarez doubled to right. After a long at-bat, the second the Reds put together this frame, Charlie got his nemesis DeJesus swinging.
Charlie was done after laboring through the seventh and Jaff Decker hit for him. He walked on four pitches, the first runner Villarreal has allowed. A one-out tapper moved him to second. With two down and an open base, Cutch was plunked (likely payback for Byrd's beaning last night), but JHK couldn't cash in the runners; they're going soft on him today.
|No, yo' mama! (image from Root Sports)|
Jumbo Diaz picked up a pair of whiffs in the ninth along with a tapper, and Mark the Shark took over. Not for long, tho. He gave up a leadoff double to Jay Bruce on a two-strike pitch he left upstairs. After an out, Fran set up inside on Barnhart, and the pitch clipped him in the elbow; the mild-mannered Shark was ejected in a pretty iffy bit of umping. Everyone pleaded their case, but Joe West said the crew had no choice after the warnings were given, and in came Joakim Soria. Ironically, it was only the second guy Mark had nicked all year. Joakim did his job, coming in cold, and a fly and bouncer later, he had his first save as a Bucco, his 24th of the season. That extra back-end arm sure came in handy today.
Seven innings, no runs, five hits, seven K; when Charlie throws strikes and keeps the ball in the park, he's a front liner. Let's hope this outing gets him on a roll so he can step up and replace AJ. As for the brouhaha, live by the sword...the Pirates are the most hit team, and the pitchers lead the league in hit batters. One other noteworthy stat: Pittsburgh had three hits today and needed all that good pitching to win.
Anyway, there's something about Cincy that seems to bring the pot to a boil. Now it's back home to meet the Cubs; Frankie is slated to meet Jon Lester.
- Charlie got a break today, as the afternoon game was a break day for Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto. Not only are both murder on the Bucs, but they're both LH batters, too.
- Michael Morse reports tomorrow; interesting decision to see who gets the ax when he arrives.
- OF Keon Broxton has reached base safely in 26 straight games, the longest Indy streak since Brian Bixler's tear in 2009.
- SS JaCoby Jones, who the Bucs traded to Detroit for Joakim Soria, hit three homers in AA today.