Sunday, October 4, 2015

Home Field Down To The Last Day: Buc Bats Silent In 3-1 Loss To Reds

Don't blink; almost all the game's offense was generated in the first frame. With one gone in the first, Eugenio Suarez singled of AJ; he was shortly on third after a pickoff throw went astray. A grounder brought him in, and a little two out damage by the Redlegs added another. Brandon Phillips singled the opposite way, stole second and came home on Todd Frazier's two-bagger. A walk and bouncer ended it; the Bucs were down 2-0 that quickly.

Brandon Finnegan had his early issues, too. Josh opened with a triple and came in on El Coffee's grounder. An out later, an A-Ram walk and Starling single had the Pirates in business, but Michael Morse whiffed.

The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth frames went just ducky for the pitchers, with each team collecting a single and walk over that span. With one out in the seventh, Adam Duvall went yard to right center, and a pair of walks sandwiched around a K was the coup d' grace for AJ, struggling and at 107 pitches. He left the game to a standing ovation and curtain call ("Going back out there, you can ask me a million times what it’s like, but I can’t tell you, man.") before Jared Hughes shut the gate. The Bucs again went quietly to Burke Badenhop.

"Best night of my career, hands down." (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Bobby LaFromboise got Joey Votto to start the eighth, then Joe Blanton got the call. He gave up a knock to Phillips, picked him off (upon review) and finished up with a bounce out. Michael Lorenzen nailed the first pair of Pirates, then El Coffee singled. That brought out Aroldis Chapman, sniffing for a four-out save, and he collected the first one with a swinging whiff of Cutch to end the frame.

Arqimedes Caminero tossed a clean ninth, and Chapman finished off the Pirates with just a little drama. He bopped Marte with an out, but left him on first to save the Reds' 3-1 win.

Well, Batman overcame a slow start - and who knows if his wayward toss to first may have been the key play of the game; it was followed by a grounder - and worked his strongest outing since coming off the DL with nine whiffs. But the Pirate bats, frustratingly cool as the weather, generated no action. So home field comes down to the 162nd game of the year.

The finish is still in Bucco control; a win (or Cub loss) and they're at PNC Wednesday.  Jay Happ will try to collect that win against Josh Smith this afternoon.

  • AJ has 2,513 K's in his career. He passed Christy Mathewson for 31st place all-time on the major league whiff list. Burnett told the press after the game "That’s a big name. It feels like, like I said, I’m old and I pitched a lot."
  • The Reds ended a historic 13 game losing streak. Joey Votto ended his on-base streak at 48 games, tied with Pete Rose for the franchise record.
  • The Pirates need a win or Cub loss tomorrow to get home field advantage. The club is a game up in the loss column, but if they finish with the same record as Chicago, the Cubbies hold the tie breaker by winning the season series 11 games to eight.

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