Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Down To The Wire: Bucs Grind Out 4-3 Win

With one gone, Starling singled off Jeff Samardzija and stole second. He went to third on Cutch's rap to left and scored on Gregory's nubber. The Shark threw home late, so the Bucs still had two aboard. It didn't help, tho, as JHK chased a slider way off the dish and rolled into a 4-6-3 DP. Jameson Taillon gave up a soft infield knock to Denard Span. He broke for second just before Angel Pagan rolled one through the vacated SS hole, and a swipe put Giants at second and third. Wee Willie Keeler would approve of the SF offense. After an out, JT hung a hook to Buster Posey and the ensuing ripped two-bagger made it 2-1 G-Men. He moved up on a bouncer, but Jamo put an end to it.

After a rough opening frame, JT settled in (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Fran and JJ opened the second with back-to-back doubles before Jordy walked. JT didn't help his cause by bunting into a 2-5-3 DP (the ball looked foul, but the ump decided otherwise and it's not reviewable), so it sits at 2-2. But he is paid to pitch, and struck out the bottom third of the order on 11 pitches. The Shark tossed a 1-2-3 third frame in response. The Giants all bounced out in their half. Samardzija is settling in, with a clean fourth. SF made some two-out noise with a double and walk, but JT silenced the rally.

With an out in the fifth, JT singled for his first MLB knock. Josh hit into a force, then stole second where he remained. Taillon tossed a calm frame, even though he was charged with an error for dropping a foul pop that was all JHK's. Cutch opened the sixth with a stand up triple and scored on a bouncer. A Posey single, Brandon Crawford double and grounder tied the match. Hunter Strickland took over for SF in the seventh. With two gone, a walk and a bunt single set up Starling. Derek Law was waved in and he fanned Marte. Antonio Bastardo took the hill and gave up a double but preserved the tie.

All of the sudden JHK has been happening... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Cutch walked with an out in the eighth and was erased easily on a caught stealing. It hurt some, but was soothed a bit by JHK's bomb of Law, a 415' shot to dead center. Neftali Feliz climbed the hill and walked the first batter, then got the red hot Posey to bang into a 4-6-3 DP. A whiff carried the game into the ninth. Santiago Casilla shut down the Bucs. Tony Watson came in for the close, and hit a bump when Jordy booted a one-out garden variety grounder. A double put G-Men at second and third.  The Bucs started to intentionally walk pinch hitter Ehire Adrianza, but had an opportune change of heart after a wide toss and got him to pop out. Span rolled one to Josh, and Tony and the Bucs dodged the bullet.

Blowing a couple of early chances almost cost Pittsburgh, but these guys can grind. Now they have another series in the bag and look for the sweep tomorrow. Who'd have thunk it after the Milwaukee-Atlanta fiasco?

  • Cutch had two hits and a walk. Fran and Josh each reached twice with a hit and base on balls.
  • The Pirates are 8-of-11 and have won four straight series. In the last three years, they're 7-1 at AT&T Park.
  • Starling's 41st swipe tied his season high.
  • Bob Cohn of the Trib has a great piece of baseball lore about the history of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
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