Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Buc Bombs Overcome Early Hole, Pirates Rally For 5-4 Victory

Good start for Jeff Locke, tossing a clean, 12 pitch first frame. Cutch and Gregory singled with an out off Rubby De La Rosa, then Starling reached via a boot on a chopper to juice the bags. Freeser whiffed and S-Rod smoked a liner to third; *sheesh* the Bucs and bases loaded! More problems; there was a delay between innings. Plate ump Chris Guccione took a foul off the mask earlier and apparently was feeling the aftermath, leaving the game to crew mate Sean Barber and two base umps.

Lamb walked on four pitches after two were gone in the second, and it cost when Chris Owings bounced a changeup down the line for a double. Then Yasmany Tomas golfed another change of pace, inside and low, deep into the LF seats to make it 3-0. Both pitches were decently located two strike offerings; give the Snake 7-8 hitters credit, they were prob sitting on the change. Stew doubled with an out and moved up on Jeff's tapper. He became the Pirates fourth stranded runner and the club is already 0-for-5 w/RISP.

S-Rod homered and flashed some leather tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Nick Ahmed opened the third with a first pitch single. Two pitches later, a 6-4-3 DP mopped that up, started by a great glove play by Jordy, to key a quiet frame. Gregory slapped a heater to left with an out; he stole second as Marte whiffed chasing a shoe-top slider. Polanco became another base statistic when Freeser bounced out. The D-Backs had back-to-back one out singles in the fourth; then go figure -  Locke got Owings and Tomas on changeups. S-Rod solved the LOB conundrum by drilling a hung curve into the second deck to make it 3-1.

With two gone in the fifth and two strikes on Rickie Weeks, Locke hung a changeup and watched it bang high off the LF foul pole. Jeff needs a finishing pitch; every big bop tonight has been with two strikes. JJ opened with an opp field rap, and Cutch followed with a knock. Gregory doubled home a run; the last two hits were with two strikes, and it's De La Rosa's turn to flop at finishing batters. Starling's grounder plated Cutch, then Freeser sent a two strike slider, down the middle, thigh-high, into the Bucco bullpen 451' away to give Pittsburgh the lead. Exit Rubby; Jake Barrett came in to close down the frame.

It was a clean sixth for Locke, a great follow after the Bucs big inning. Then he legged out an infield knock with one away against Barrett, tho dying at first. With an out in the seventh, Tomas caught an elevated change (Locke's first of the frame) and doubled, the ball just eluding Polanco. Clint tried to get seven out of Jeff w/o Watson; it didn't work and in came Jared Hughes. Two grounders silenced the Snakes. Zac Curtis gave up a two out walk before finishing up the frame.

David Freese's long ball was the game winner (photo Marty Morrow/Pirates)

Neftali Feliz took the ball in the eight against the 2-3-4 D-Back hitters. Weeks opened with a knock, then Neftali blew 98 MPH heat past Paul Goldschmidt. He had Wil Castillo whiffed too, but the ump missed the call. It proved a blessing as the next pitch was lined to S-Rod at second; he flipped to first to double off Weeks. Tyler Clippard gave up a two out, two bagger to Matt Joyce, but Jaso couldn't chase an insurance run home.

It was up to The Shark in the ninth, with Clint shifting Freeser to first and bringing JHK in to man the hot corner. With two gone, Owings just missed tying it, hitting one high off the Clemente Wall for a double. But Mark had one more out left in him and retired Tomas for save #16.

Jeff used his change a ton tonight, and a couple of times it bit him. He also was a bit snake bit; Tomas' homer was closer to bouncing off his shin than crossing the plate and Weeks' ball hit the pole. But for the sixth time in seven starts, he's given the Bucs six competitive frames or better. And the Pirate bench continues to dazzle; S-Rod and Freeser homered while Joyce doubled. Nice team win, and another series is in the bag with a possible sweep tomorrow afternoon.

  • Gregory Polanco has had three-hit outings in four of his last nine games. He went 3-for-4, and with Cutch combined for a 5-for-8 evening.
  • Jordy's eight game hit streak ended. 
  • The Pirates have won 8-of-10.
  • A couple of sources posted that Ryan Vogelsong underwent surgery for his facial fractures today, although there's been no official word from the Pirates.
  • Congratulations to Tony & Cassie Watson on the birth of their son, Theodore.
  • Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects wrote that Jameson Taillon is due back on the hill Sunday.

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