Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Blame It On The Bossa Nova: Bucs Snap Streak With 7-1 Win

Ivan Nova tossed a clean first, but not Joe Musgrove. He was welcomed with a single, back-to-back-doubles and a trio of singles to make it 4-0. Josh Bell made the first out trying to leg his knock into a two-bagger (Nick Leyva better start tripping those guys when they take a turn!), then a couple of grounders finally stopped the music. The 'Stros got a bunt hit in the second, and the Bucs cooled off in their half. In the third, Houston got a runner to second on a single and bunt. The Pirates had one hit, but it was enough as Gregory went deep the opposite way.

Nova was a shot in the arm for the Bucs tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Three grounders, three outs for the 'Stros in the fourth, while the Bucs stranded Jordy, who had doubled. A leadoff single in the fifth got to third on a pair of groundouts, and a Nova-K kept him there. Tony Sipp took the ball from Musgrove. He struck out the side, but in between whiffs watched El Coffee loss another ball, this one 402' to center, to make it 5-0. The sixth was another easy inning for Ivan. Brad Peacock got the call and put up a zero while stranding a pair.

S-Rod came in to relieve Josh Bell, and Boss Nova continued cruising in the seventh, touched for just a two-out knock. A single and walk opened the Pirates half. Gregory banged one to short for a force, with the relay to first off the mark, plating another Corsair and sending El Coffee to second, where he remained rooted. Ivan issued his first Bucco walk with an out in the eighth, but came right back to get an around-the-horn DP. The 'Stros challenged the out at first for fun, and lost. Michael Feliz climbed the hill and surrendered a walk on the way to the ninth.

Gregory watched of couple of balls he launched leave the yard (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

It was a frame too far for Ivan, who gave up a back-to-back doubles to lose the shutout and Maddux. But he settled down, getting a swing-and-miss on his 98th pitch to finish the game. This is the Nova we've been waiting to see. He gave up six hits with a walk & six whiffs and had a gaudy 15-1 grounder-to-fly ratio.

Good the see the bats fly for a change. Maybe Clint did know what he was doing by throwing Fraze and Joyce at the top of the order; they got on three times and scored three times. There were good days at the dish from Gregory and Josh Bell, too. Maybe the secret is more howling pups in the park.

  • Gregory had three hits, two of which became souvenirs, with three RBI and three runs. Matt Joyce and Josh Bell added a pair of knocks.
  • The Pirates had more consecutive hits (6) to start today's game than they had in all nine innings of last night's contest (5).
  • From the MLB Radio Network - Clint said this of Josh Bell: "I'm going to pencil him into the lineup. We're going to know going into the winter what kind of player we have."

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