Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bucs Use Leather & Lumber To Top Giants 8-5

Matt Moore introduced himself to the Pirates by tossing a 1-2-3 opening frame. Ryan Vogelsong, a fan fav in SF, got a cheer when his name was announced pre-game and an ovation when he took the mound; guess you can go home again. He got himself into a pickle with one away after a couple of well placed rather than well-hit raps and a walk jammed the sacks. V-Song got Hunter Pence, but missed badly with Joe Panik up and walked in a run. JHK saved his bacon by sweetly converting a weak roller into the third out, his second sharp bit of glove work already.

In the second, a pair of two-out walks caused a little noise, but Gregory's opposite field at 'em liner ended the music. The Giants put together a walk, bunt and single to no avail; Starling and Fran combined to cut down a runner at home to keep it at 1-0.

Vogey struggled today but left with the lead (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Nada for Pittsburgh in the third. A Brandon Belt double opened the G-Man half, with a fly moving him to third a batted eyelash ahead of Gregory's bullet. Clint took a chance and brought the infield in; it cost him an out when Pence bounced through the middle to make it 2-0. Vogey fed an 0-2 meatball to Eduardo Nunez, who doubled to right when Gregory made an ill-advised dive instead of conceding the knock. The Giants were frustrated again when a Cutch-to-Freeser-to-Kang relay chopped down Pence, who rounded third and hit the brakes too late to return (it looked like he would have scored standing up; thx Hunter.)

Freeser got the first Bucco hit with an out in the fourth, Starling followed with the second, JHK's rap juiced the sacks and Fran's four-pitch walk pushed across a run. Gregory dinked one gently into right; it dropped and two more Pirates plated, leaving runners at second and third after the throw home. Unfortunately, leave them is exactly what they did. Ryan K'ed and J-Hay swung at a head-high pitch, fouling it to right. Pence tracked it, tripped over the bullpen mound and still caught the ball while on his back. With two gone, the Giants raised some dust with a knock and catcher's interference call on Fran, but no damage resulted.

Gregory had a pretty good day for an eight-hole hitter with four RBI (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pittsburgh went in order in the fifth as Nunez flashed leather twice behind Moore. V-Song has been dodging bullets, but went back out and spun a five-pitch frame. Fran singled with two away in the sixth, and it paid off big time when Gregory smoked a ball on the line over the RF wall onto Levi's Landing (the cheap seats at AT&T Park) and into the Bay on the boing. Nunez got one back with a leadoff longball, and two outs later, Denard Span banged another that dropped into the front row in right. Clint's gamble for one more frame came up craps. Antonio Bastardo was waved in and finished the frame.

George Kontos climber the hill in the seventh. Josh and Jordy (on a hit-and-run) singled to put Corsairs on the corners. Sergio Romo took over and gave up a flare to Cutch to add a run to the tally. Starling cracked a double one out later; the Giants saved one run when a fan (wearing an Altoona Curve cap, sheesh!) grabbed the ball and the blue crew froze Cutch at third (dunno what the umps saw; Cutch was on his horse and would have scored easily). It hurt when Kang K'ed fishing for a slider and ditto for Fran. Felipe Rivero rolled the rosin and gave up an opening single and walk. In between K's, he tossed a wild pitch. Neftali Feliz came in to match up with Nunez, who's been hot tonight. Double switching also happened, with Freeser going to third and JJ to first. Neftali won thx to Cutch, who made a diving bit of backhanded robbery to save a pair of runs.

It's a bird; it's a plane...it's Cutch! (image MLB.com/Pirates)

Will Smith worked the eighth. He walked a couple and paid when Cutch hit a two-out, 0-2 fastball into right to chase a run home, tho Jordy was nabbed behind the play trying for third. Bless Naftali's soul for tossing a drama-free frame. Jake Peavy, who lost his rotation spot, toiled in the ninth. A Freeser single was erased via a 4-6-3 DP keying an easy inning. Tony Watson came in, even up by a four spot, and gave up a lead off knock. There was a passed ball, walk and single mixed in to allow a run (hey, Clint can call Tony in now for the three-run save...oh, wait) but Watson pulled the plug finally.

The bats are liking the left coast, but it was the gloves that won tonight's game. Both teams, as odd as it may seem in an 8-5 game, cleaned up a whole bunch of squaring up. Tomorrow's starter, Jeff Samardzija, more often than not gives Pittsburgh fits, so getting a leg up in the series by beating Moore, a solid workman, is a big boost for a team that has to keep on taking series.

  • The 3-4-5 hitters (Cutch, Freeser & Starling ) had a pair of knocks, as did the #8 guy, El Coffee. Polanco had four RBI, Cutch had a pair, and eight different Pirates scored.
  • After giving up one walk in the Dodger series, the Bucs issued five free passes tonight. But they continued to be patient - they also drew five.
  • Pittsburgh has won 7-of-10 and are 60-56. They were 69-47 at the same time in 2015 while piling up 98 wins.
  • Tyler Glasnow was pulled from his rehab; he'll throw a bullpen session today to see how his arm holds up. The Bucs say the rigamarole is cautionary, and we'll find out soon enough.
  • Alen Hansen continues his dog days' rampage. He hit a walk-off grand slam tonight to led the Indy Indians to a 5-2 win.
  • An early look at guys who should see qualifying offers by MLB Trade Rumor's Mark Polishuk has Neil Walker listed as a no-brainer, so the deal to NY paid off for him. Mark the Shark won't qualify as you have to be on the same team for a full season to be eligible for a QO. That should help him too, as he won't have draft pick compensation weighing him down in the market.

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