Friday, July 29, 2016

Guerra Shuts Down Pirates 3-1

Junior Guerra tossed a clean opening frame. Steven Brault left a two-strike slider over the dish and Jonathan Villar yanked it just inside third for a two-bagger. Almost got out of it; with two outs, Chris Carter crushed a 3-2 slider just under the knees to make it 2-0 in a hurry for the Brew Crew. Starling opened the second with a double; he moved to third after a two-out wild pitch and died there. The Brewers stranded a single and walk at second and third.

Pittsburgh went down in order in the third. The Brewers led off with a dink hit; an out later, it appeared a DP cleaned it up, but a challenge turned it into a force only (the right call; the Bucs were a little lackadaisical converting). The reversal didn't come back to bite, tho.  The Pirates went quietly in the fourth. With an out, ol' Bucco Keon Broxton walked for the second time and stole second, followed by another free pass. A bunt moved them up, but Little Steven played out of the jam.

Steven struggled but kept the Bucs in the game (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Guerra made it 12 sit-downs in a row in the fifth. Brault had a calm inning - out, single, DP. Jordy started the sixth with a knock. Brault bunted into a force. No diff; a K and roller to first followed. Scooter Gennett doubled with an out. Broxton, who's hitting .135, ran the count full and got a meatball of a slider that he banged for a double to make it 3-0.Clint, for some reason, didn't have anyone up in the pen before then (with two days off, thx to the sked & Cole's CG). Fortunately Steven got through the 8-9 hitters in his last frame. He allowed three runs on seven hits, with three walks and three K after 106 deliveries.

The Bucs went down w/o a peep in the seventh. Villar opened with an infield knock and stole second (withstanding a Bucco challenge) against Jared Hughes. He was bunted to third, but was nailed trying to score on Jonathan Lucroy's grounder to JHK, who made a smooth play to get the speedy Villar.  It was 1-2-3 in the eighth for Guerra. Juan Nicasio took the bump and put up a zero. But some bad news; Fran took a pitch off the inside of his ankle (it nicked Gennett and redirected a bit) and left the field without putting any weight on his foot. Looks like it may be more than "discomfort" to us; hopefully it's just a bad bruise.

Starling just keeps on with two more hits (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Matt Joyce opened the ninth with a single and JJ walked. Craig Counsell paid Guerra a visit and kept him in. He got grounders from Gregory and Cutch to allow a run. Starling kept the Bucs alive by smoking a single to center, off ump Brian Winter's noggin. Winters was OK, but Junior's day was done with an out to go. Jeremy Jeffress took over, and one pitch later had the save after a weak roller by JHK.

Brault struggled today; his slider was flat and his fastball command iffy. But he kept the guys in the game. Clint probably stretched Steven an inning too long, tho he was basically a six inning starter at Indy. Before that, he was one pitch away from a zero. It might be time to adjust the lineup a bit instead of always finger pointing at the pitchers. It would also help to find a way to win at Miller Park; Pittsburgh still has nine more games there this season.

  • Starling Marte was the only Buc to reach base twice with a single and double. The rest of the squad added two singles and a walk.  
  • We waited to post after the locker room opened post-game to get a report on Fran's foot. We should have known better - it's "right foot discomfort."
  • OF Austin Meadows will begin a rehab assignment with the Low-A West Virginia (Morgantown) Black Bears. He's missed a month with a hammy injury.

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