Thursday, July 21, 2016

Frankie's 13-K, Joyce's 4-RBI Lead Bucs To 5-3 Rubber Match Win

Nice touch; the Bucs opened the game with a moment of silence for Chilly Billy Cardille. And there was a late change in the lineup: Gregory will play LF and Matt Joyce right as Starling was scratched with the flu.

Good Frankie in the first with a pair of whiffs, tho he was deep in the count to all three Brewers. Gregory drew a one-out walk off Matt Garza; ditto for Cutch. Matt Joyce, subbing for sick puppy Starling, lined a heater over the Clemente Wall and the Bucs were off and running. JJ doubled with two down and was wild pitched to third but got no closer. The Brew Crew managed a single in the second  while the Pirates went down without a peep.

Matt Joyce did the heavy lifting with four RBI.

Francisco collected another pair of punch outs to start the third, then made his first goof of the night, trying to blow an 0-2 heater (96 MPH but center cut) past Jonathan Villar, who drilled it out of the yard. Pittsburgh answered. Gregory opened with a knock and kept on going to second when the ball was misplayed. Cutch followed with a ripped single to puts Bucs on the corners. A right side bouncer by Joyce brought a run home before Freeser's 4-6-3 DP closed the shop. It was a clean fourth for Liriano. With two gone, Eric Fryer dropped a soft single to right and Frankie followed with another rap. Fraze kept the parade going with a RBI single and Gregory added a knock to load 'em up before a Cutch pop up ended the fun at 5-1.

Frankie cruised through the fifth. His line so far is one run on two hits, no walks and nine K after 70 pitches. The Bucs went quietly. Not as quietly as the Brewers in the sixth, though - Filthy Frankie struck out the side swinging. Jhan Marinez tossed a clean frame.

Ryan Braun opened the seventh with a fisted roller into right, and a wild pitch moved him to second. After a K, Frankie hung a 3-2 change and Hernan Perez banged it for a run-scoring knock, taking second when the bag was left uncovered. That hurt; Frankie tossed away a pick off throw, and that combined with a bouncer made it 5-3 on the gift-wrapper tally. Neftali came on to get the final out as Frankie was at 103 tosses. Cutch legged out a bleeder with two gone, then Matt Joyce walked, with Josh coming in to run for him, but Freeser's fly to right kept the scorekeeper sitting.

Gregory had two hits, drew a walk and scored twice.

Starling Marte (must be feeling better) went to left, Josh to second, S-Rod to first and Tony Watson took the hill in the eighth. He gave up an opening single, then threw away a grounder that had twin killing written all over it. A bunt put Brewers at second and third. A pop up left it up to Watson v Braun, and Tony won, getting a roll-over grounder to short to escaped unscathed. Blaine Boyer took the ball and gave up a one-out knock to Jordy. Fryer's hit-and-run single send Mercer to third. No help; S-Rod had the green light on a 3-0 pitch and grounded into an around-the-horn DP. The Shark put it to bed.

That's the way to take it during this schedule underbelly, a series at a time. So step one was taken. And if Frankie is rounding into shape, and his last two outings have been strong, the Pirates pitching, once Cole Train knocks off the rust, looks to be ready for a stretch run.

  • Gregory, Cutch, & Eric Fryer led the 11-hit attack with a pair of knocks apiece.
  • This is the 25th time in Frankie's career that he's struck out 10 or more batters in a game. The big lefty punched out 13 tonight; his career high is 15. Liriano's 13 strikeouts without a walk are the second-most by a Pirates pitcher in a game in the last 100 years (Jose DeLeon, 14-0, in 1985) per @ESPNStatsInfo.
  • Jordy has a six-game hitting streak.
  • Tony Watson made his 197th career outing at PNC Park, tied with John Grabow for the most in the park's 15-year history.
  • If you were curious about why the Bucs were in camo, it had nothing to do with the RNC. They hosted Heroes Supporting Heroes, a military support group that received tonight's 50-50 take. It should have been a nice pot; there were 35,978 fans jammed into PNC.
  • Indy's Trevor Williams continues to be on fire. He went eight shutout IP, giving up three hits, walking none and whiffing five. He won 1-0; Lobster came in to earn the save.
  • Ryan Vogelsong is in town for an exam. He pulled himself after four innings at Altoona yesterday with neck tightness. 
  • Curve OF Harold Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games tonight.

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