Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ex-Cards Freese & Fryer, Shutdown Pen Lead Bucs To 5-2 Win Over Redbirds

Mike Leake gave up a two out knock to Cutch in the opening frame and promptly atoned by picking him off (the original call was overturned on challenge, rightly). Steven Brault's first frame was 1-2-3 the hard way -  a one out knock followed by a liner to JJ, who stepped on the bag for a thank you ma'am DP. The Pirates went down quietly in the second; Gregory dropped Stephen Piscotty's fly for a three base error and a single scored him. In the third, Brault picked up his first MLB hit, tho the rest of the order declined to join him on base. He then got a lesson on the importance of a third out; with two down, Steven walked Aledmys Diaz, who stole second and scooted home on Matt Holliday's knock to make it 2-0.

The Bucs again went down without a peep in the fourth while the Cards left a pair aboard. Brault has tossed a lot of pitches; his count is already at 82.

Steven Brault pitched as advertised tonight; too many tosses but good results (photo Pgh Pirates)

Freeser opened the fifth with a two bagger and Josh knocked him home two pitches later, then swiped second. A bouncer moved him up a base and he strolled home after Eric Fryer's single to center. Brault was hit for; he went four, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits, two walks and five whiffs, pretty much matching hi profile. Fryer went to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a boot (Matt Joyce was first rung up; the Bucs challenged and won as Matt Adam's foot was clearly off the sack). A grounder hung up Eric, but his textbook dance allowed the runners to reach second and third behind him. The ducks stayed on the pond as Gregory whiffed on three pitches without taking the bat off his shoulder. Juan Nicasio came in, and with an out, an infield knock and HBP got him in hot water, but he coolly worked out of it.

Andrew started the sixth with a knock, went to second on a passed ball, third on a grounder and touched home on Freeser's rap through a drawn in infield. Jordy's double after Josh's line out put Buccos at second and third, and both were chased home on Fryer's dink double inside the RF line to make it 5-2. Juan stranded a walk. Tyler Lyons worked the seventh cleanly. Arquimedes Caminero joined the fray and matched him, hitting 101 on the gun.

Freeser had a good day at the dish and in the field against his old mates (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

In the eighth came Trevor Rosenthal, and Starling greeted him with a soft lob to right and stole second, eventually dying 90' from home. Tony Watson caged the Redbirds, helped by a sweet Freeser-to-Rodriguez combo with nice picks at both ends. JHK drilled a pinch hit single with one away in the ninth, the only ding off Rosenthal. The Shark took the ball, with Adam Frazier going to right; that says all you have to know about Gregory's leg. After two fan jobs, Randal Grichuk took a cutter the opposite way to keep the Cards alive, but Mark quickly pulled the plug for his 25th save.

So far, so good - the Bucco ship hasn't sailed across the River Styx yet. And the second half is favorable as far as opponent matchups, so don't stop believin'. Now if they can get six or seven innings out of a starter...

  • The big story: Chicago police are investigating a sexual assault accusation against Jung Ho Kang over an incident that allegedly took place when his team was in town last month, a police spokesman confirmed to the Chicago Tribune today. No charges have been filed, but this is, needless to say, some serious biz. The Pirates have no comment other than the matter is in the hands of the Commissioner's Office, and it's monitoring the situation.
  • Cutch, Freeser and Fryer each had a pair of hits. Eric had three RBI, Freese two runs tallied and a run driven home while Cutch scored once. 
  • The Pirates are 6-of-7 on this road swing and have won six in a row, with two games left at Busch.
  • The Cards made a move today, too. Brandon Moss was placed on the DL with a sprained ankle and OF Randal Grichuk was recalled.
  • No Pirates were voted onto the All-Star roster, but Mark the Shark (his third nod in four years) was selected for the team while Starling and Gregory were left holding their hats, although Marte will be on the fan vote for the final spot along with Brandon Belt, Jake Lamb, Trevor Story and Ryan Braun. 
  • Cole Train went three shutout innings for Indy, giving up two hits and fanning six on 45 pitches.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball offers some links to prospect reports, and he has eight Pirate pups on his list.

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