Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bucs Survive Bullpen Implosion, Battle To 12-10 Win In 13 Innings

The Bucs did there usual thing against Robbie Ray; they drew a bunch of pitches, loaded the bases, and stranded three. The D-Backs went about things more traditionally; Paul Goldschmidt banged a two-out homer off Frankie (one that El Coffee almost stole from the pen) to put the Snakes up 1-0. Gregory and Stew had terrible at bats in the second, both whiffing. The next two Bucs reached on an error and single; Cutch fanned and it's five LOB. Arizona got a bloop and a walk, but they died on base too.

Pittsburgh put runners on the corners with no outs in the third and they were both cashed in on Jason Roger's triple. S-Rod knocked him home to make it 3-1. With two gone, Liriano gave up a walk, single, and another homer, a liner that barely cleared the wall and kissed the foul pole, to Welington Castillo who's been feasting on Pirate pitching. Just as quickly, the Bucs were back in the hole 4-3.

The Pirates again opened with guys on the corners, and that got Ray the hook; Tyler Wagner grabbed the ball. A walk juiced 'em and Starling's single knotted the score. JJ pinch hit for Rogers; he bounced to first and an airmailed throw home let the lead run plate. An out later, Gregory bled one through the left side, and two more runs scored. Stew's knock brought in another tally to make the score 8-4. Frankie liked it; he used a dozen tosses to strike out the side.

Frankie finished strong, but is still a concern (photo Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)

The Bucs tried to add on in the fifth when Marte doubled with Freese aboard, but he was cut down at home, withstanding a challenge by Clint (looked like a plate-block, but guess not). It was another clean inning for Liriano. Gregory doubled with an out in the sixth, but Stew and Frankie couldn't get him home. Castillo walked to open the D-Back half (Frankie was squeezed on a couple of pitches), but no damage ensued. That was it for Liriano - six innings, four runs on five hits and three walks with six whiffs after 97 pitches.

Randall Delgado took the hill in the seventh and had an easy frame. Ryan Vogelsong trotted out and put up a zero, stranding a two out double. The Bucs went down quietly in the eighth. V-Song was touched for a leadoff homer followed by a walk, bringing on Tony Watson. He got two guys, but the third tripled.

It's a ballgame at 8-6. Andrew Chafin took the hill in the ninth, giving up a walk and single, but a DP kept his slate clean.  Melancon started dancin'. With one away, he gave up a dink knock followed by another Goldschmidt homer. Like the first, it was an opposite field liner and so on to the 10th. Sidewinder Brad Zeigler 1-2-3'ed the Bucs. Pittsburgh sent out Kyle Lobstein, and a walk followed by a wild pitch put him in a quick jam. A bunt moved the runner up, but S-Rod, now at first, made a nice backhand play with the infield drawn in to gun the runner down at home, and the Lobster got an inning-ending whiff.

Daniel Hudson answered the bell for the 11th. He walked Gregory with two gone and left him at first. Lobstein gave up a one out, opposite field double and wisely walked Goldschmidt intentionally, and worked out of more hot water, getting a K and Castillo bounceout.

Tyler Clippard stepped in for the 12th. Pinch hitter Fran greeted him with a single and was bunted to second. A pickoff throw to second skipped away a short distance, a break for Colorado as Cervelli was caught trying for third, out by four or five steps. Cutch walked, and Freese jumped on the next pitch, doubling Andrew home. Starling singled him home and then was thrown out at second (close play but right call, tho it was reviewed), so it's a two run, two TOOTBLAN inning.

Neftali gave up two runs in his frame and still got the win (photo Joe Guzzy/Pirates)

Neftali Feliz came in looking for his first Bucco save. So of course he walked Jake Lamb, the first batter, on eight pitches, Feliz's first free pass of the year. It took him 10 pitches to fan Nick Ahmed on a borderline call, getting an irate Ahmed tossed. With no bench players left, Zack Grienke pinch hit and banged a sharp infield single that Freese couldn't handle. Peralta got a fastball down Broadway and doubled home Lamb; Shelby Miller, running for Grienke, stopped at third. Jean Segura bounced a seeing-eye single into left on an 0-2 pitch to tie it. Neftali picked up a whiff on his 32nd pitch, and then walked Goldschmidt to load 'em with two gone. That was followed by another K and so on we go.

Evan Marshall was the new hurler. Josh greeted him with a double and S-Rod followed with another. A roller moved him to third, and Stew was intentionally walked. The Buc bench is bare, too, and Jon Niese grabbed a stick. He fouled off five pitches, ran the count full, and then singled home Rodriguez. A DP ended the fun, and Arquimedes Caminero toed the rubber. He gave up a leadoff single, followed by a lineout to center. Another pitcher, Patrick Corbin, had to pinch hit and he went down on strikes, with Shelby Miller, pitcher-turned-LF, on deck. He fanned too, and it was over finally.

Jon Niese did it was his bat, not his arm, tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Not much to say about a 5-1/2 hour game that featured 510 pitches, 22 runs, 35 hits, bullpen meltdowns, pitchers pinch hitting and playing the field, errors, TOOTBLANS, 43 players used, et al except we're glad it's over and that Pittsburgh won. Expect a callup from Indy; AJ Schugel and Rob Scahill are the only guys that didn't appear today, and Jeff Locke is slated for the hill. But with Cory Luebke and Jared Hughes both working at Indy tonight (and not very well), it'll be an interesting choice.

  • Starling Marte had four hits; David Freese and Gregory Polanco, three each. Marte and S-Rod both scored twice and had two RBI. 
  • Every Pirate starting position player had a hit and scored/driven in a run by the end of the fourth inning. Eight different Pirates scored; 10 had RBI.
  • John Jaso's hitting steak ended at 12 with an 0-for-3 day after he came on as a pinch hitter in the fourth frame.
  • For the fourth time in his career, Cutch got to wear the golden sombrero for striking out four times, all swinging.
  • Not a good day for rehabbing Bucco relievers - both Jared Hughes and Cory Luebke were touched up for AAA homers; Luebke gave up back-to-back blasts.

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