Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Buc Bats Bang Out 9-3 Victory At Colorado; Starling & Jordy Lead Way w/4 Hits Each

Well, this is a welcome change - the Bucs are ahead in the first! Jon Gray served up gopher balls to Starling Marte, who crushed one to left (443'), and A-Ram, whose drive (408') kept carrying over the wall in right center, while AJ served up three grounders for a 1-2-3 frame and a quick 2-0 advantage.

Pittsburgh added on in the second when Fran singled on a swinging bunt and raced home on Jordy's double inside third; lotsa outfield acreage to cover in Coors Field. Justin Morneau singled for the Rox with one gone, but another grounder was converted into a 6-3 DP, so no damage. Cutch walked with an out in the third. A-Ram's second at bat didn't match his first; he went down swinging on a 3-2 pitch, and never saw a strike. Andrew stole second, but was left there. It was three up, three down for Colorado. The toughest out was Gray's; AJ made a sliding stop but his throw was off the base; Pedro applied the finishing tag.

Fran opened the fourth with his second hit, and again he was chased home by a Jordy two-bagger up the 3B line. El Coffee's two out single brought him home to make it 5-0. Starling singled him to third on a hit-and-run, but Cutch left the ducks on the pond. Jose Reyes singled for the Rockies but never advanced. The Kid singled with one gone in the fifth and stole second. Gray whiffed Fran - it's his fifth, despite being hot around - and a lefty was called out to face Pedro after Gray's 81st pitch (he's on a count of about 80). Christian Friedrich trotted in and put away El Toro on three pitches.

Morneau started the Rox off with a single up the middle. DJ LeMahieu bounced into an apparent DP, except Pedro forgot to catch a perfect relay for an error. Corey Dickerson followed with a knock and then Tom Murphy dropped one over the wall to make it 5-3; maybe that dropped throw bothered AJ's focus (or maybe it was just a bad pitch; Batman's velocity has dropped a couple of ticks this frame).

Jordy had four hits and started a pair of DPs tonight (photo Justin Aller/Getty)
An out later, Charlie Blackmon got HBP and stole second, then third. AJ is laboring and lost Reyes on four pitches to bring up CarGo, who walked on five pitches. Clint is asleep at the wheel; nobody was up in the pen, and Ray Searage came to visit to buy some time as Nolan Arenado stepped up. AJ had one more hurrah left, tho, and sat him down on three pitches.

Simon Castro took the ball in the sixth and was greeted by Jordy's third hit, a single to left. Clint let AJ hit, and he bunted Jordy to second. Lefty Rex Brothers came in to face Gregory, and got him on a fly out. Walt Weiss then waved in righty Scott Oberg; WW must be channeling his inner LaRussa. This one didn't work; Starling ripped a center cut heater for a double off the top of the wall, barely missing a homer (the Bucs challenged the call and lost), to plate Jordy. Marte was wild pitched to third as Cutch walked. A-Ram left them in place. Dickerson doubled with two outs for the Rox, followed by walks to Murphy and pinch hitter Ben Paulsen. That brought on Antonio Bastardo, and he got Blackmon to line out to right.

Jason Gurka toed the rubber in the seventh and worked a clean frame. Joakim Soria gave up a bloop single to Gonzalez. With two gone, Morneau rolled his third hit of the night into center, but Soria finished up by getting LeMahieu on a liner speared by The Kid; the Bucs have been fortunate on some hard hit balls so far tonight. The Pirates went down in order in the eighth. Tony Watson walked Dickerson to open, but a soft fly and 6-4-3 TCB.

Brooks Brown climbed the hill for the ninth, and Starling singled on his first pitch. Cutch walked on four pitches, followed by an A-Ram knock up the middle, scoring Marte and sending Andrew to third. Keon Broxton made his MLB debut by running for Rodriguez. The Kid's tapper brought in a run and moved Broxton up a station.

Keon showed off his wheels by stealing third and coming home on a bad throw. Fran legged out a hit to short; it's a bad day at the office for Brown. After whiffing S-Rod, Jordy banged out his fourth hit before Josh ended the show with the score 9-3. Bobby LaFromboise took the mound and gave up a leadoff knock to Blackmon. After a pop and a K, Clint called on Arquimedes Caminero to fiace Arenado with two outs and a six run lead; some very odd bullpen management tonight. Arqie started out with a wild pitch, but finished the job.

Score early, score late, and score in the middle - that's the recipe for winning at Coors Field. Still, could have been a different game if Clint's decision to stick with AJ had backfired; Batman has pretty much been a five inning guy since his return to action. But the Bucs kept up with the Jones, and their magic playoff number is down to two. Jay Happ and Chris Rusin get it on in game two tomorrow night.

  • Tonight marked Starling Marte's third four-hit game of the season and Jordy's third of his career. And let's not forget Fran, who had three knocks.
  • AJ is at 2,499 punch outs for his career.
  • Pedro's 21 errors lead the league and then some. Anthony Rizzo is second in 1B errors with eight, with 475 more innings in the field. (S/O to @TheBuccosFan )
  • Neil Walker is 4-for-4 in steals.
  • Jon Gray has made nine starts and is still looking for his first W.
  • The Cubs and Cards both won tonight, beating respectively the Brewers (9-5) and Reds (2-1).

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