Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bucs Ride Adam Frazier, Big Inning To 5-3 Win

Mike Foltynewicz had an easy opener with a couple of K. Gerrit walked the first Bravo then settled in for three routine outs, avoiding his usual first frame drama. Starling drew a free pass to start the second and JHK banged into a DP two pitches later. Another walk, another grounder, another zero. With one gone, Atlanta dinked a single and Ender Inciarte won a 10-pitch at-bat with a double. AJ Pierzynski followed with a seven-pitch appearance, but Cole Train whiffed him and a comebacker ended the action.

The Pirates went quietly in the third. With one away, Eric Aybar slapped an outside two-seamer over third for a two-bagger but stayed planted. At 53 pitches, there will be no back-to-back CG's for Cole. No peeps from the Bucs in the fourth. Inciarte dropped a lob into center with two outs and moved up a station on a passed ball. Pierzynski was a pest again, more successfully this time. He chopped the ninth pitch toward second; Fraze booted it (literally) into foul territory, trying to make a play where there probably was none. It was kindly ruled an infield double to make it 1-0.

Gerrit labored but had enough to pick up win #7 (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

With one gone in the fifth, Fran got beaned, the ball banging off his helmet. He wobbled to first after a quick check by the trainer, but Nick Leyva waved the staff back out and the medicos yanked him. The Pirates either have the hardest headed players in baseball or need a new protocol. Eric Fryer took his spot. Fraze battled and drilled the 13th pitch for a double and Jordy's rickety roller to third tied the game.  The Bravos got a lead off rap and a tapper moved him up; they've had a runner at second every inning so far. Matt Kemp got a four-pitch walk with two away, and a single put the Bravos back in the lead. Kemp was caught going to third on a 7-3-5 for the good news; Cole is at 97 pitches is the bad.

JJ walked to begin the sixth and he moved up 90' on a grounder. The Bucs challenged the out at first; the Bucs lost. Matt Joyce responded by banging one up the middle to tie the game again. Starling added a knock, and JHK's double off the wall in left put Pittsburgh up. Folty headed for the showers as Jose Ramirez took the ball. He got a whiff, then Fraze drilled a two-run knock to make it 5-2 (and stole second) before Ramirez could put it to bed. Antonio Bastardo got the call and tossed a clean, eight-pitch frame.

Welcome back to the pen, Antonio (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Ramirez got an out in the seventh, then Hunter Cervenka came on to face the lefties. He did his job. Felipe Rivero toed the rubber, with Freeser taking over first base. Felipe gave up a one-out walk and an infield single. He picked up his second whiff and Clint called for Neftali Feliz. He wild-pitched the Bravos up a base but atoned nicely by blowing some heat past Kemp. Ryan Weber won the ticket for the eighth and worked it quietly thx to a couple of at 'em balls. Neftali gave up a bomb to Nick Markakis on a shoetop change well off the plate. With two outs, Pierzynski doubled weakly again. His grounder ticked off Jordy's mitt and died in no man's land, but a K left him there.

Weber pitched the ninth like the eighth; two smoked outs and a bleeder. Tony Watson's era began with a walk. He got a force next; a weak throw by JHK squelched any DP hope. Freddy Freeman dumped one to right, but Gregory was there (Fraze had moved to LF, S-Rod to second), and a K of Kemp earned Tony his first save of the campaign.

Tony earned his first save of 2016 (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Matt Joyce and Adam Frazier were right in the middle of the Buc's big inning, with Jung Ho Kang's double the keystone. Cole Train hung tough even though he didn't have his good heater today. The new guys in the pen got in and did their job. So it's a good start to a team that just lost a couple of popular teammates and needs to step it up a gear.

  • Fraze had two hits; Starling reached twice with a knock and a walk.
  • Fun fact: this was Tony's third save opp of the season; he had blown the first two (and four in a row since 2015). He has five career saves, with his last on April 22nd, 2015, against the Cubs.
  • Felipe Rivero (2), Neftali Feliz (3) and Watson (1) fanned six Bravos in three frames.
  • Jon Niese worked out of the bullpen for the Mets tonight; he pitched a clean inning with two whiffs.

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