Promising start to the fourth; Gregory singled on a rope and Starling legged out an infield hit. Cutch threw some cold water on that by banging into an around the horn DP on a ball he drilled on the button. A-Ram walked, and The Kid picked Cutch up by dropping a soft lob into right to score El Coffee. Fran dribbled another infield hit. Ramirez bumped into Carpenter going to third; but there was no interference call because A-Ram stopped at third after Carpenter's throw to first; the ump pointed at the base where Aramis stopped, so prob in his judgment, that was as far as A-Ram was going; we'll never know now. Pedro flew out to leave 'em juiced. .Cole kept on rollin' though - it was 1-2-3 for the Cards.
Jordy opened the fifth with a walk. He was bunted over and went to third on a Gregory knock to the opposite field. But Starling continued the Pirate MO of the night by grounding into a tailor-made 4-6-3 DP. Sheesh! As Rob Biertempfel of the Trib noted "Through five innings, the Pirates have left four on base, grounded into three double plays, are 3-for-6 with RISP and lead 1-0. The Redbirds collected their first two hits, a pair of quails, but left runners at the corners.
The Pirates went down noisily in the sixth, with a pair of bullets to left by Cutch and A-Ram that Stephen Piscotty hauled in. Gerrit cruised through the frame aided by a nice barehand play by A-Ram, playing the left side alone during a shift.
|Rollin', rollin', rollin'... (photo Associated Press)|
The Bucs persistence finally paid off a bit in the seventh. Pedro doubled with an out, and Gerrit, who does a little bit of everything well, blooped a two-out single into center to score S-Rod, who ran for El Toro. El Coffee's deflected single put Bucs on the corners (great hustle by Cole), but Starling couldn't cash them in. 2-0 ain't much, but it sure beats 1-0. Cole Train whiffed a pair of Cards in their half; he's at 98 pitches and hit 100 on the gun this frame.
A-Ram added some welcome breathing room after an out when he popped a 2-1 curve over the LF wall, which brought Steve Cishek to the mound. Neil lined out to left (the Bucs have hit a lot of balls on the nose tonight), then Fran doubled with two away. The Pirates continued to square up on Cishek; S-Rod bombed a sinker delivered down Broadway over the right center fence, and the Pirates could finally take a deep breath even after Jordy lined out. Tony Watson put the Cards away quickly.
Tyler Lyons took the ball in the ninth. Josh reached on an error to start, and an out later Ty grooved one to Starling, and he pulverized it over the CF wall as the score piled up. That brought on Mitch Harris - gotta love September bullpens - and he walked Cutch. JHK hit into another DP to end the frame, but this one doesn't hurt quite as much. Joakim Soria came in to mop up. He gave up a leadoff double, and a single brought in a St. Louis run. Then he settled in, got the next three outs routinely and the Bucs had the series in hand.
After a shaky start, Cole Train showed his ace stuff (7 IP, 2 hits, 3 walks, 7 K). His curve worked in the middle, his slider bit hard at the end, and his heater was upper 90s, and that's a great sign. The Bucs hit the ball pretty hard most of the night and finally lost a few to tuck the game to bed. Great win, but those pesky Reds are next, with a struggling Jeff Locke going against Anthony DeSclafani tomorrow night.
And in other kinda big news, the Pirate brass has made a decision about AJ's return after his bullpen session today, but haven't revealed just what it is - they want to discuss it w/those impacted by the move. Sounds to us like he'll be back soon. After a sim game Friday, he would be clean to pitch Wednesday, when the Bucs play the Reds. The big question: does he replace someone or just bump the rotation schedule for everyone else back a day?
- Sean Rodriguez is 6-for-7 with two doubles and a home run in this series. Talk about showin' up... He's on fire, going 12-for-19 (.632) in his last 15 games.
- Gregory Polanco’s 23 hits against the Redbirds are the most by any player in the league this season. He had three knocks tonight, with Starling, A-Ram and Fran adding a pair.
- Pirate starting pitchers allowed one earned run over 20 IP during the Card series.
- Oddly enough, at 8-8 the Cards are the only NL Central team the Pirates don't have a losing record against.
- The Bucs are also 4-0 on Sunday Night Baseball (thx, ESPN!).
- Tyler Glasnow went 7-1/3 innings at Indy, giving up no runs on six hits with eight whiffs on 90 pitches. Also, in two rehab games for the Tribe, Travis Ishikawa is 2-for-7 with two doubles and a walk; he'll be back with Pittsburgh shortly.