Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bucs Sweep Snakes 8-3, Head To Texas After Grand Home Stand

Ugh, what a start for the Cole Train. Fran and Freeser collided chasing a foul pop, and the ball fell free. Given a second life, Jean Segura doubled and came home when Michael Bourn smoked another two bagger. After a K, Jake Lamb drew a nine pitch walk; the next pitch, he pulled off a double steal with Bourn. The contact play cuts both ways, thankfully, as Bourn was chopped down at home on a grounder to JHK. Another roller ended it, with just one run of damage after all that. Cutch walked with one gone and Freeser followed with a knock to no avail against Patrick Corbin.

The Snakes again threatened Gerrit; a lead off double in the second, one out single and two out walk jammed the sacks, but Cole left the ducks on the pond. A boot and Gregory single led to a big inning when Cole Train pulled a Frankie and dropped a bomb (and it was stroked, landing in the Snakes' pen 409' away) to make it 3-0. More Cole-dini in the third. Arizona loaded the sacks again, this time with one out, on consecutive singles and a walk. A whiff and grounder stranded Snakes #6, 7 & 8. The Pirates left JHK aboard after his one out double.

Gerrit was a one man demo squad today (photo: Pittsburgh Pirates)

Cole worked a 1-2-3 fourth thanks to a DP. Gerrit kept up the stickwork with a two out double; he was the only Bucco not to fan that frame. Cole Train fanned the side in the fifth, but it took 24 tosses to do; he's at 105 pitches and done, giving up an unearned run on seven hits and three walks with five K. Corbin worked a clean inning. AJ Schugel took the ball in the sixth. He got the first two D-Backs easily, then the pitcher singled. Segura lined a ball back to the box that AJ could only knock down, and that was followed by a seven pitch walk. So from two outs and the pitcher up to bases loaded for Paul Goldschmidt... Schugel found behind him 2-0, gave him a heater down the middle, and Goldy's single tied the game. Aye carumba, this bullpen.

Fran singled with one gone in the Bucco half and a bouncer moved him up a station. S-Rod walked, and Josh pinch hit for Schugel; RHP Jake Barrett got the call from the pen. With the runners going on a full count, Josh went the opposite way, smoking one off the RF wall to double them both home. It was the Lobster's turn in the seventh, and he was greeted with a knock followed by a four pitch walk; in came Rob Scahill. After missing with his first two pitches, he zeroed in and coaxed a 6-4-3 DP. The next batter hit soft liner, but Gregory was there to haul it in on the slide.

Josh's clutch pinch hit double may have been the key blow of the game (photo: Pittsburgh Pirates)

Randall Delgado took the ball for the D-Backs. He lost Freeser after an out, and JHK followed up with a rap. Marte struck out swinging at a wild pitch; the runners were more alert and moved up 90'. Fran walked to fill the bases with Buccos, at the same time a cloudburst soaked the yard. LHP Andrew Chafin waded in to face Gregory and won the matchup, getting him on a grounder to first. Jung Ho got ahead 2-0, saw a heater and rolled it into left for a pair of breathing room runs. Marte added another with a double before the Pirates were sated.

Though it was 8-3, the Shark came in: we were expecting Jared Hughes, who has worked 4-of-5 games, but only tossed 19 pitches total. Melancon gave up a couple of singles but put up a zero at the cost of 24 pitches to seal the sweep against the Snakes. A most excellent home stand with a brooming and two series wins; the Buccos went 8-of-10 at PNC.

We'd like to see the dominating Cole over the gritty one, the guy who can blow it past people and go seven innings. And geez, both these bullpens raise gray hair.  And while Cole, Harrison and Kang's hit were clutch, the most important part of the day may have been Rob Scahill bailing out Kyle Lostein. To the future: now the Bucs are off to visit Texas and Banny for three games, then to Miami for a four match set (this was the weekend they were suppose to visit Puerto Rico before the Zika scare).

  • Jung Ho Kang has three hits to lead the Pirates; the only other multi-hit day was from Cole Train, with a pair of knocks.
  • Gerrit Cole is the first Pirates pitcher to hit a HR and a 2B in the same game since Danny Darwin, in 1996. He became first Buc hurler with multiple extra-base hits in the PNC era. 
  • The Pirates last five runs all scored with two outs.
  • Josh's big pinch hit was a deuces wild bang - two outs, two strikes, twos runs and a two bagger. But he did get his first MLB win.
  • AJ Schugel's deuces wild is a bit less shiny - he's given up two runs in three of his last four outings.
  • Great news: Ryan Vogelsong was at the park today with his wife Nicole; they came over from Allegheny General Hospital after his release to see the boys and watch some of the game. 
  • The attendance was 30,861.
  • By the by: our favorite diplomat, Tony LaRussa, "stormed" into the Bucco broadcast booth Tuesday night to scold Greg Brown for dissing him per Chris Adamski of the Trib. Brownie took him into a corner (appropriate; that's what the nuns did to us when we acted up) to respond during a "heated discussion," which explains the brief period when Steverino did the Root TV broadcast solo. LaRussa later told the desert media that Brownie spread "inaccuracies" regarding him; Greg replied "liar, liar" and said he expected an apology that never came. Tony wouldn't have much of a shelf life in a Pittsburgh bar, that's for sure.

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