Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Happ's 10 K & JHK's Grand Slam Earn Bucs the Series Winner 5-4

The Bucs manufactured a run of Keyvius Sampson in the first with a leadoff double by Gregory, a bunt by Starling (we assume it was a hit try, but it went in the books as a sac bunt) and sac fly from Cutch. Jay Happ did a little better, striking out the side. The Bucs drew a Fran walk in the second while the Reds drew even thanks to a Todd Frazier blast over the CF wall. Both sides went down in order in the third, and the only action in the fourth was a single by Ivan DeJesus Jr., who the Pirates had stashed at Indy in 2013.

The Kid opened the fifth with a single but died at first; Jay kept dealing. Gregory started the sixth with a single and stole second. Cutch walked on four pitches an out later, followed by a bullet to left by A-Ram to load 'em. Sampson tried jamming up JHK on inside heaters; didn't work, as Jung-Ho yanked the fifth one yard to left, the Bucs first grand slam since Ike Davis' in April of 2014. The Kid walked, and Sam LeCure got the call - guess the third time around was the charm v Sampson. LeCure closed out the inning with Pirates up 5-1. Jay worked another clean frame, notching his 10th K.

Burke Badenhop worked the seventh quietly. Joey Votto led off with a ground rule double, just the Reds' third hit. Phillips swung at ball four, but it worked; A-Ram made his first error at first, leading Jay too much with his flip to the bag. That brought on Joakim Soria with Redlegs on the corners, and Frazier chased a run home with a fly before Joakim barred the gate.
Jumbo Diaz climbed the hill in the eighth, and it took him eight pitches to sit down the middle of the Pittsburgh order.

Happ-y Days Are Here Again... (Photo Archie Carpenter/UPI)
S-Rod went to first as Tony Watson stepped in. Jason Bourgeois opened with a ground single to right. Brayan Pena smoked a double off JHK's glove on an 0-2 changeup, and Cincy was in business with the top of the order up. Billy Hamilton walked to juice the sacks. DeJesus battled for eight pitches before delivering a sac fly to the track on right.

Votto took a strike a little off the plate to make it 1-2. Joey fired his helmet to the ground and went ballistic (Bill Welke's generous zone has favored the pitchers all night and been particularly rough on Votto), getting himself - he had to be held back by half the Reds' bench - and his manager Bryan Price ejected. Old Bucco farm hand Ramon Cabrera took his place and singled on a pitch that was almost in the dirt to load them up again. A swinging bunt groundout from Phillips made it a 5-4 game. Tony then intentionally walked Frazier. Watson's at 30 pitches but stayed in to face lefty Jay Bruce and got him swinging over a slider.

Pedro Villareal worked the ninth. Fran singled with an out and Jordy broke an 0-for-18 streak by slapping a knock to right on a nicely done hit-and-run. Michael Morse grabbed a stick with runners on the corners, and rolled the first pitch to short to start an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP.

Josh came in to play second and The Shark, who had a rough evening last night, took the hill without any insurance but against the bottom of Cincy's order. Bourgeois walked with an out; Welke's zone may be wide but he's not giving up the high strike. In fact, he's tightened up on Melancon; maybe Votto's outburst did pay off. But all it resulted in was a few extra pitches for The Shark; he whiffed Hamilton, and the Bucs took the series with a 5-4 win.

  • Jay Happ's 10 whiffs were a season high. It's the fourth time in his career he's had double-digit whiffs, with his personal single game best at 12 punch outs. With his outing, the Bucs have tossed back-to-back 10+ K games for the first time this year since three consecutive 10+ whiff games in late May. All four Pirate pitchers had a K; the Reds went down 13 times.
  • Tonight was Jay's fifth straight win as Bucco. 
  • This was the first time the Bucs took a series at GABP since late 2013.
  • The Reds fans are voting with their feet on this year's club; Cincy didn't draw 20,000 for any of the three games.
  • The Cards rallied to beat the Cubs 4-3, so the Pirates remain 4-1/2 behind St. Louis and are now three games up on Chicago.
  • Good night for the org: Indy, Altoona & West VA all won their playoff openers. The Curve win was special. Down 7-0, the got a grand slam from Barrett Barnes and then scored three times in the ninth, tying the game on a two-run shot by Austin Meadows and winning it on Jacob Stallings single.

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