Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Buc Sticks Take Care of Business Early; Bullpen Does the Rest in 6-3 Win

Josh started the game with a single to right off Chris Rusin. He was forced by Gregory, and that was followed by (surprise) a Cutch walk. A-Ram flew out to medium right; El Coffee challenged CarGo's arm on a tag to third and won. Starling doubled to right; it may have ended up a triple, but Andrew stopped at third; couldn't tell if Rick Sofield threw up the arms or if Cutch just lost the ball. It did cost the Bucs a run as Fran followed with a whiff. It was 1-2-3 for Jay in the opening round.

In the second, Michael Morse walked. Jordy bounced into a force out, and was bunted up. Josh banged a two bagger down the line in left to bring home Jordy, and Gregory singled up the middle to plate Josh. Wil Rosario hit his sixth homer on a high 3-1 heater for the Rockies to cut the lead to 3-1.

With two gone in the third, Fran singled and went to second on a balk. Morse broke his bat on an 0-2 fastball, but managed to drop the ball into center to plate Cervelli. Jordy then walked to turn over the order. The Rox strung together three singles and two stolen bases - ay carumba, that run control game! - to put up a pair against Jay, and it looked like a Coors shootout was brewing as it was 4-3 after three.

Gregory singled, walked, scored twice and had an RBI tonight (photo - USA Today)
Gregory drew a four-pitch walk to begin the fourth. A-Ram then tripled off the center field wall (Charlie  Blackmon bounced off the fence trying to make a leaping catch while the ball ricocheted back to the infield) and scored on Starling's infield single, a softly hit ball that kicked off the third base bag for a Bucco break. That burst of running eventually took Ramirez out of the action; he left the game a couple of innings later with a tight groin. The Rox led their half off with a couple of knocks, but a fly and a couple of whiffs carried Jay through the frame without any runs.

Gonzalez Germen worked a quiet fifth for the Rockies while Jay got a punchout, single, and nicely turned DP started by A-Ram to put away Colorado. Germen walked the bases loaded in the sixth, but the Buccos couldn't cash in. Happ exited with one on and one out in his half; Jared Hughes came in, fired two pitches and got another DP to close the frame.

The Buc bats were done after that, although they did leave a pair on in the ninth. No diff; after Hughes' quick inning, the Bucco bullpen was flat out brilliant. Antonio Bastardo tossed a clean seventh and Joakim Soria worked the a strong eighth, striking out the side after a harmless opening single. Mark the Shark finished it up for his 49th save. The four worked 3-1/3 frames, giving up a hit and whiffing five, about as good as it gets, especially at Coors Field.

Jay was human today, maybe due to the Coors factor. But between his eight whiffs and tight infield D, it was strong enough for him to notch his 10th win of the year. Charlie Morton goes for the series clincher tomorrow against Christian Bergman.

  • All the Pirate runs came home after two outs tonight.
  • A-Ram collected his 2,300th career hit. His groin injury isn't thought to be serious; he felt it grab while rounding second, but was moving without any problem after the game. 
  • With his first inning free pass, Cutch had drawn nine walks in 12 plate appearances!
  • The Pirates are 91-60 and have now won four in a row. Their magic number for a playoff berth is one as the Giants took a 4-2 decision to stay on life support. The Bucs didn't hang around the locker room to watch the SF-SD game, but went back to the hotel for some shut eye (though we're sure they fell asleep to the TV).
  • Cards won, Cubs won (Jake Arrieta's win #20). Ho hum.

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