The second was better. Gregory doubled to open and an infield single followed by a walk loaded them up for Jordy, who shot a two-run single up the middle (bonus points - it was the seventh pitch of an 0-2 count!). To boot, Verlander took 37 pitches to get three outs. Niese looked good, until Nick Castellanos took a two out, first pitch heater yard to make it 3-1. Pittsburgh manufactured an answer when Joyce doubled and came around on a bouncer and sac fly; Jonathan had clean inning.
|Fran had three hits today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Josh doubled to open the fourth, S-Rod drew his second free pass, and Jordy bunted them up a station. JJ's fly plated Harrison to make it 5-1, while Niese tossed another quiet frame. Justin and his 91 pitches tottered to the hill, but after a one-out Marte double and Fran single, Drew Verhagen got the call. Gregory greeted him with a RBI double. Josh walked to load the bases and S-Rod's bloop brought home another. JD Martinez led off for Motown with another homer, again on a first pitch fastball. It's 7-2 after five.
Logan Kensing took over and gave up a couple more knocks, but a DP saved his bacon. Jon got one, too, but gave up a pair before it came on a walk, error, blooper and ground ball single; 7-4 is a little more exciting than it should be. It was another Buc zippo in the seventh, and Neftali Feliz got the ball. Niese went six, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits (two HR) with five K and a walk after 88 pitches. Detroit went down 1-2-3. Mark Lowe took his turn for El Tigres in the eighth and tucked the Bucs away without a peep.
|So did El Coffee (photo Gene Puskar/AP)|
A little late maneuvering by Clint took place, with S-Rod going to first, David Freese to third and Tony Watson to the hill. He put up another zero, and Kyle Ryan claimed the bump for Detroit. He gave up a couple of two out knocks, running the Bucco total to 17, but kept them off the board. It was Shark time, and a single, DP and whiff put this baby to bed. Niese got his first Bucco win, Melancon his third save and Neftali/Tony earned their third holds.
Back at it tomorrow afternoon, when Juan Nicasio faces Anibal Sanchez.
- Every Pirate starter had a hit today. Cutch moved to 22nd place on the Pirates all-time hit list today with knock #1,159, behind Carson Bigbee at 1,205. (S/O to @John Dreker of Pirates Prospects)
- Gregory and Fran had three hits each; JJ, Matt Joyce, Starling and Josh added a pair apiece.
- Every Pirate starter either scored or drove in a run; four did both.
- Lots of twin killings; the Bucs hit into four DPs and turned three.
- Today was the first time since his rookie season in 2006 that Justin Verlander threw 100+ pitches without getting through the fifth frame. He got 13 outs, and two were sac flies, two were caught stealing and another was a sac bunt.
- JJ is adjusting to first; he's not only made a couple of nice fielding plays, but has picked a couple wayward throws. He's not a natural yet, but the FO looks like it won the dice roll with him so far.