Pittsburgh has had first inning blues. First, they stranded a pair in their opening at bat. On the other side of the pillow, they've allowed opening inning scores in seven of the past nine games), and shown a recent propensity to airmail balls during steals, and both continued tonight. With two on (one a hit batter on an 0-2 pitch), the Blue went for a double steal, and it worked out in spades when Stew zipped his throw into left.
That plated a run, and another scored on a two out single in the second. The Pirates were patient in the early going, working the count and getting on the board via The Kid's 14th homer, a first pitch, 420' blast, to make it a 2-1 game.
|The Kid was a bright spot last night (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
The Bucs got Greinke out in the eighth after a single and walk to lead off the frame. Starling's knock off reliever Chris Hatcher plated Stew and made it 6-2, but that was the end of the line for the evening.
So we had another night when Jeff struggled - he gave up eight hits and five runs (four earned) over 6-1/3 IP, while Zack Greinke held the Bucs to four hits over his seven innings. Yah, Lester, Arrieta, and Grienke are a tough threesome to face in four games, with Clayton Kershaw next in line against Frankie tonight, but when the playoffs arrive, there aren't going to be any back enders on the hill.
- The Kid and Stew each had a pair of hits; the rest of the team added just two more.
- Pittsburgh has lost four in a row with Clayton Kershaw to face tonight and just a one game lead over the Cubs for home field advantage.
- Starling threw out another runner last night for his 14th assist; doesn't the rest of the league scout anymore?
- Grienke became the fifth pitcher in the last 25 years to have 30 consecutive starts of six innings or more.
- If it weren't for bad luck... The Pirates announced that RHP Brandon Cumpton had right shoulder subacromial decompression (basically, shaving a bone spur and ligament work) surgery yesterday, performed by Dr. James Andrews. This is following his TJ surgery; he's now expected to miss another 13-15 months.
- Indy rallied for the second night in a row at Victory Field to defeat Columbus 5-4 and send the International League championship to a final game today, shown on MiLB TV at 7:05. Josh Bell went 4-for-4 and had the walk-off hit to win it as the Tribe scored three times in the ninth.
- Joe Maddon likes the Cub's to play hardball, but isn't quite so OK with other teams doing the same. Asked about JHK's injury after he was taken out in Pittsburgh, he said it was "all baseball." Then, after Matt Holliday was drilled in the helmet last night, he called Anthony Rizzo's retaliatory plunking "insane." We suspect he and the Cubs will be getting a crunch-time physics lesson from the NL Central re: Newton's Third Law of Motion - "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."