Friday, April 22, 2016

Bucs Rock Friars 11-1; Off to Arizona

The Cole Train gave the Bucs what they needed - six excellent innings. And they were excellent; he shut out the Padres on four hits with seven whiffs and nary a walk while tossing 97 pitches. One runner reached third against him. It was the break the beleaguered long guys needed. After multi-inning outings the past couple of days, Ryan Vogelsong, AJ Schugel and Kyle Lobstein weren't available, and Gerrit didn't need their help.

Cole Train rollin'... (photo Ronald Martinez/USA Today)

The Bucs, thanks to J-Hay, had built up a 3-0 pad off James Shields by that point. With two gone in the second and no one aboard, Starling doubled and Josh's knock brought him home for the game's first run. In the fourth, the same pair teamed up on the Padres again. Marte opened with an infield knock, moved to third on a pair of bouncers and scored on Harrison's dink to right. Josh then stole second and came around on two wild pitches.

The next couple of frames went by quietly before the Pirates broke it open. Josh reached on first on a wild pitch K; Padre pitchers issued three walks and beaned two batters. The Buccos on their own rattled off five hits, three of them two baggers. They scored eight times, and the bases were loaded when they made the third out. Pittsburgh sent up 13 batters; pinch hitter Matt Joyce was the only one that didn't reach base.

Cole actually batted twice that frame, and was one of the guys bopped; that was the only downside of the inning. He was likely slated to go another inning, but between the length of the frame and the bruise, Clint opted, wisely enough, to send him to the hot water. After he left, the bullpen cruised to the finish line; Neftali Feliz, Rob Scahill (he gave up the run on what was maybe a payback HBP, grounder & single) and The Shark, getting in some work, took it home.

J-Hay all day... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

It was good to see the Bucs break out of their scoring doldrums (6-for-12 w/RISP, yay), albeit against a AAA guy who just got called up. Josh did his Energizer Bunny thing today, sparking the club's attack. Gerrit showed a good change again; with his high 90s heater and slider, that third pitch is becoming a devastating tool.

The Pirates are off to open a three game set against Arizona tonight with Jon Niese facing Patrick Corbin in the opener.

  • JJ, Starling, Fran, El Coffee, and J-Hay collected two hits. Marte, Polanco and Harrison scored twice; David Freese, Cervelli and Harrison had a pair of RBI.
  • John Jaso has the longest hitting streak of his career, stretching the string to 11 games in a row. 
  • Five of Pittsburgh's starters are hitting at a .300 or better clip - JJ (.368), Fran (.340), Starling (.328), Gregory (.302) and Josh (.302). David Freese (.283) and Jordy (.273) are both more than holding up their ends; imagine the attack if Cutch (.230) wasn't having another slow star.
  • The eight run inning was a season high for the Pirates and 11 runs the season high for a game.
  • After back-to-back games, Jung Ho Kang sat out last night's Indy contest out. Cory Luebke (hamstring) began his rehab stint with two scoreless frames, and Jared Hughes worked a perfect inning on the back end of consecutive appearances.

No comments: