The first two outs came easily in the second before Santana doubled off the bottom of the LF wall, but a K left him there. The Bucs got another walk in their half, but the bottom of the order missed the soft-toss memo and were quietly retired. Milwaukee was put to bed easily in the third, and Pittsburgh batted around.
Gregory walked and went to second on Josh's knock. Cutch singled El Coffee home, and A-Rams two-bagger inside the LF line brought chased Josh across the dish. The Kid walked to juice 'em, and Fran's single up the middle plated two more, helped by Santana overrunning the ball. Another run scored on Jordy's bounce out - he beat the DP relay by a toenail when the relay was short hopped to first (the Brewers defenders are not exactly covering themselves in glory so far tonight) to make it 5-0 after three frames.
|Michael Morse's first Bucco homer was a big one (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Lohse broke Jeff's streak by blooping a one out ground rule double inside the RF line. No prob; a tapper and a whiff polished off the frame. Josh singled again, but a pair of grounders, one turned for a DP, made it a 1-2-3 frame. The wheels rattled in the seventh. Pedro's flip to first was sky-high, allowing Ryan Braun to reach, then two walks sandwiched around a K brought Jared Hughes in from the pen. A sac fly made it 6-1 before the gate shut.
The Bucs had an answer. Cesar Jimenez loaded the bases on walks with an out, and Michael Morse unloaded them by lining a 3-1 fastball over the Clemente Wall for a grand salami. Joe Blanton got the ball for the eighth with a 10-1 lead and a bunch of subs behind him in the field. A single and Braun's two out double put up another point for Milwaukee. Corey Knebel tossed the Brewer's first clean inning, surviving Elias Diaz's first MLB at-bat; he hit the ball about 395' to center, but the wall was 399' away. Rob Scahill came out to finish. He gave up a walk and bloop double, but an around the horn DP in between kept the Brew Crew off the board and mopped up a 10-2 Bucco win.
Locke pitched well again, in command of his arsenal through six. But when he misses his spots... Clint got him out in time, and the Buc bats, helped by a boatload of walks, did what they should against a beleaguered Milwaukee staff. Frankie will go after the series decider tomorrow afternoon v Taylor Jungmann, arguably the Brewer's ace now.
- Starling was in the original lineup, but was a late scratch. It wasn't due to his shoulder, but because he had a stomach bug. Josh replaced him in LF and as the #2 hitter. Harrison, btw, went 4-for-4 with a walk, the ninth four-hit day of his career.
- Michael Morse's grand slam was the Buccos' first pinch hit grannie since Travis Snider's in 2013. The last time the Pirates hit two grand slams in a week (JHK v the Reds) was 2008 when Luis Rivas and Jason Michaels unloaded.
- In spite of the all-day rain, the Pirates drew 35,479 fans tonight.
- The upcoming Pirate rotation: Frankie tomorrow; Cole-Happ-AJ-Morton v the Cubs, starting with Tuesday's DH; Locke-Frankie-Cole v the Dodgers; AJ & Happ will open against the Rockies, and TBA from that point on...
- The Reds took two from the Cards today; gettin' interesting in the NL Central. The Bucs are just 2-1/2 back now; this could be a September to remember.
- Altoona and West Virginia were eliminated from the playoffs tonight.
- In baseball news, Big Papi joined the 500 homer club today, becoming the 27th MLB player to collect that many long flies.