Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rangers Ride Big First Inning To 5-2 Win

JJ welcomed Yu Darvish back to the show with a second pitch knock. He settled in; Cutch K'ed and Gregory lined out. That rope perversely enough moved Jaso to third when the DP toss to first landed in the dugout, but a bouncer left him there. The well rested Juan Nicasio was nicked for an infield hit to open, then some high heat was turned into a double by Ian Desmond. A weak grounder brought in one run. Adrian Beltre fought a nine pitch duel and won; Nicasio served a center cut, 3-2 fastball that was launched over the wall in straight center. He escaped after that, at the cost of 36 pitches.

Yu was feeling it in the second; seven pitches, two Ks. Juan got through the frame yielding just a single. Figgy walked with an out in the third. JJ K'ed chasing a full count slider as Figueroa stole second, his first MLB swipe. Cutch looked at two balls down the middle, then golfed an ankle biter slider softly to short. Texas went down in order on six tosses. The Bucs went quietly in the fifth; Texas added on when Mitch Moreland, behind 0-2, worked the count full and lifted a slider over the RC wall.

Figgy took advantage of his first Bucco start with a hit, walk, SB & RBI (photo Ron Modra/Getty)

Fran singled and stole second in the fifth, and Figgy punched a two out, full count slider to right to plate him. Juan gave up a two out double, then a walk, and was up to 105 pitches. AJ Schugel came in to put out the fire. Tony Barnette replaced Yu in the sixth - great outing for Darvish - and got into one out hot water. Cutch just missed going yard, then Gregory blooped a single and Freeser reached via the boot route. A Marte force and steal put Bucs at second and third, but Fran flailed at a 3-2 curve in the dirt to kill the frame. AJ worked a quiet frame.

Jake Diekman put away the Pirates in the seventh; not so for Jared Hughes. A Jurickson Profar triple came home to make it 5-1. Matt Bush worked the eighth, and was greeted by back-to-back JJ and Cutch singles, but he barely broke a sweat getting out of the pickle. Daddy Watson took the hill and got in a dozen pitches, retiring the side 1-2-3. Sam Dyson looked to close it out. He did, although he was dinged for a Matt Joyce triple and grounder RBI by Jordy.

The Bucs have been managing to ring up a big inning pretty regularly, but tonight the clutch hit wasn't there, with a 1-for-10 w/RISP. Juan did nothing to change his spot as the pitcher most likely to be replaced by Jameson Taillon; he just had too many balls that were up and over the dish. Still, but for an icy first frame by Nicasio, it was a pretty competitive, well pitched game. Tomorrow afternoon will decide the series.

  • JJ was back in his AL milieu, and he was the only Buc to have two hits tonight.
  • Well, that was quick. Tony Watson was reinstated from the paternity list (congrats on baby Theodore to papa Tony & mama Cassie) and Kyle Lobstein was optioned back to Indy. 
  • Even with the loss, the Bucs are 10-4 on the road against AL teams in 2015-16
  • 2014 first round pick SS Cole Tucker was promoted to the High-A Bradenton Marauders. He missed the second half of last season with labrum surgery, so it's good to see him back in the saddle and riding high.

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