Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bucs Overcome Themselves To Take 5-4 Win In Opener

Gerrit Cole's command was a little off in the first, but it was again Bucco fielding that allowed the Cubs to score. Dexter Fowler beat out a hit to short, stole second and went to third when Stew's throw was off line. He came in on a sac fly. The Bucs used a little Jason Hammel lack of command to answer. Gregory walked and The Kid was bopped by a pitch. Cutch singled in El Coffee. An out later, Petey walked and Travis Snider singled off Addison Russell's glove, bringing in a pair. Jordy and Stew left Pedro at third, but it was 3-1.

The Cole Train gave up a knock in the second and the Bucs went down in order. Chicago left a leadoff single and two-out hit batter, both reaching with two strikes, in the third, with a couple of well stroked outs in between. Cutch led off with a single and stole second as JHK whiffed; he had been ahead 3-0. With two gone, Lunchbox was walked intentionally to get to Jordy for the righty-righty faceoff. Good move; Mercer bounced out on the first pitch.

Gerrit spun a clean frame, showing some very good off speed stuff. He then singled with an out, went to second on a wild pitch, third on a bouncer and touched home when The Kid hooked a double off the bottom of the Clemente Wall. That was it for Hammel; Trevor Cahill got the ball and retired Cutch on a hopper to third.

Cole Train didn't get the W but tossed a strong outing (photo Associated Press)
Cahill opened the fifth by slapping a one hopper to right; Polanco threw him out with room to spare. Given the gift, Cole whiffed the 1-2 batters for another calm inning. JHK opened with a knock - the Cubs tried to throw him out from right after a slow start out of the box - and he went to second on a wild pitch while Pedro and Lunchbox went down looking, both on generous (and consistent) corner calls. Jordy ripped a one hopper to short, screened by Jung-Ho, but Russell made a nice play to stay with a big hop to end the frame. It was a K, tapper, pop for the Cubs in the sixth. After Chaill whiffed a pair, Maddon made a move, bringing in lefty Zac Rosscup to face Gregory and finish the frame. the Cubs had a run left.

With an out, Miguel Montero singled off a diving Pedro. Gerrit's foot got in the way of Starling Castro's probable DP ball, deflecting it to third for a knock. Then PH Tommy LaStella sliced one the opposite way, doubling just inside the LF line, and that was it for the Cole Train. Joachim Soria got a line out, then with two gone, his pitch went through Stew (it was called a wild pitch), and it was 4-3 with a Cubby on third. Fowler walked, and a 2-2 pitch to Kyle Scwarber also went to the backstop (both were 55' inside curves thrown into the dirt), tying the game before finishing the frame. Pedro Strop 1-2-3'ed the Pirates.

Tony Watson took over and worked a clean frame; Cutch cradled the last out off Kris Bryant's bat just in front of the bullpen fence *whew*. Justin Grimm lost Pedro on a 3-2 pitch, and it hurt him. P-Flo came in to run; he stole second and went to third when Montero's short hop was short-armed by Castro. He came home on Starling's sac liner to left. So it's Shark time in the ninth. Three up, three down (tho he did go 3-0 on Javier Baez) and raise the Roger.

Gift runs have been the bane of the Bucs all year; recovering from them has also become a hallmark, and today was no different. Bad throws, wild pitches, balls deflecting off fielders; ho hum, another day at the office. Still, great to open the set with a win; the pressure is all on Chicago now.

  • Mark Melancon has tied Mark Williams single season saves record at 46; he has 26 at home, which is also the team standard.
  • JHK has a seven game hitting streak.
  • For a 5-4 game, the pitching was pretty tight; both sides finished up with just six hits.
  • The Pirates lead the NL with 32 OF assists; Starling leads the league with a dozen.
  • The Bucs drew 31,488 to today's daylight opener.
  • Joachim Soria threw no wild pitches while a Tiger but has five in six weeks as a Pirate.
  • It's Cy Young week comin' up for Pittsburgh. The Pirates are scheduled to face Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw over the next five days.

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