Thursday, September 24, 2015

Petey and the Pen Sweep the Rox 5-4

The Buccos continued to sprint out of the gate. Jaff Decker drew a walk from Chad Bettis, went to second on Cutch's infield hit and scored on Starling's single. Jeff Locke worked around a two-out Nolan Arenado double to keep the Rox off the board. Stew singled for the only Buc action in the second and Colorado went down 1-2-3.

Pittsburgh stranded Starling in the third, and the Rox took their first lead of the series. The Bucs couldn't convert a roller into a DP after a walk (to the pitcher!) and single, and Arenado made them pay by banging a two-out, two run double. The fourth went quietly, with both sides leaving a runner at first.

Josh led off the fifth with a double, and Decker followed with knock up the middle to tie the game. It was frustration afterward; Cutch banged into a DP and Starling was thrown out at second after his third hit, a call that was upheld by review. In the bottom half, Corey Dickerson singled on a hopper that Petey couldn't glove that was generously ruled a single, and that hurt when Cristhian Adames' tripled to right to take the lead back for Colorado.

Pittsburgh went down in order in the sixth, while the Rockies added on. Kyle Parker singled, stole second and came home as Alvarez was handcuffed by Ben Paulsen's two-out grounder. Scott Oberg took the ball in the seventh, and left Josh at second after his two-out two bagger. Joe Balnton got the call for Pittsburgh, and it was a messy but scoreless inning. Blanton missed Pedro's toss on a grounder, but that was negated by a caught stealing. With two outs, CarGo singled and went to second on Jaff's misplay. Justin Morneau was intentionally walked, and Joe got out of it with a pop out.

Pedro's glove gave a couple, but his bat took a couple today (photo Gene Puskar/AP)
Jaira Diaz climbed the hill in the eighth. Starling and The Kid singled with an out, but Jordy whiffed. Then Pedro of the lead mitt stepped up and atoned, drilling a 2-1 fastball over the right center wall to put the Pirates up 5-4. You chalk that one up to Walt Weiss; the Rox manager had a lefty loosening, but stuck with righty Diaz. Antonio Bastardo took Tony's usual eighth inning role (Watson was on a rest day) and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth.

John Axford came in, and the Bucs threatened with two outs when Jaff blooped a single and Cutch walked, but he got Starling for the first time today on a hopper to second. Mark the Shark has been absolutely untouchable lately, and he threw a clean ninth with a couple of K for his 50th save.

Well, the good, the bad and the Pedro came through today; seems like a different hero every outing. The Bucs close out September visiting the Cubs and hosting the Cards with 3-1/2 games, as of now, on either side of standings. Gerrit Cole and Jon Lester start the fun tomorrow at Wrigley.

  • Mark the Shark became the 12th member of MLB's 50-save club.
  • Starling has 13 hits this series, tied for the most in a four-game series in Pirates history with Pie Traynor from August 2-4, 1928.
  • The top four Pirate hitters - Josh, Jaff, Cutch and Starling - reached base 11 times today via nine hits and a pair of walks.
  • The Bucs scored in the first inning of all four games of the series.
  • The Pirates recorded their first four-game sweep on the road since July of 1997 at St. Louis. It was also their sixth win in a row. Hopefully, the pen doesn't get into a jam with the Cubs and Cards coming up; no starter made it through the sixth against the Rox.
  • Today is Pirate win #10,000 in NL, which the Bucs joined in 1887 and use as the franchise starting date. The franchise actually started its major league days in 1882 as the Alleghenys of the American Association and from that point of time, this is win #10,236.

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