Friday, August 5, 2016

JT Sharp, JJ Clutch & S-Rod Walks It Off In 3-2 Bucco Win

With an out in the first, a flare into no man's land by Zach Cozart dropped and Joey Votto singled the opposite way. Jameson Taillon picked up a whiff, but Brandon Phillips, of course, slapped a two-strike sinker to right (ah, the shift) to give the Reds the early lead. Cutch reached on a boot after getting some cheers from the faithful, but that was all the damage against Anthony DeSclafani.

After a dazzler by Josh, Tucker Barnhart doubled, another opp field hit. With two outs, JT lost Billy Hamilton but ended the frame without further ado. The Pirates went down quietly, as did the Reds in the third. Josh singled with two gone and was erased, picked off as he tried to swipe a sack. Jameson cruised through the fourth. Cutch walked with an out, recovering after going down thx to foul off the foot. He didn't have to test it as a quick DP ended the frame.

JJ's double was a key blow in tonight's win (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Hamilton singled with one gone in the fifth; that rarely ends well. Cozart had a foul fest of 12 pitches, helped by the ump missing strike three. The good news is he K'ed; the bad news is Hamilton stole second on the swinging strike. The better news is that JT got Votto on one pitch. Freeser walked to open the Bucco half. JJ was either robbed by Hamilton or Billy plucked a carom off the wall. The umps called out, the Bucs challenged and won (it hit glove, wall, glove) to put runners at second and third. Fran's sac fly was just enough to chase Freeser home with JJ taking third on the throw. Jordy laid down a squeeze perfectly and the Pirates were up 2-1.

Phillips singled off Jordy's mitt with an out in the sixth and stole second with two gone. There he stayed. It was JT's swan song at 102 pitches, giving up a run on six hits (three in the first) with one walk and six strikeouts. Cutch drew another free pass with two out and stole second but Matt left him stranded. In trotted Felipe Rivero for the seventh (Adam Frazier also replaced Matt in a double switch), and he fanned a pair in a clean frame. Michael Lorenzen took the hill. Freeser singled to open and Fran added a knock an out later, but it led to naught.

Neftali Feliz claimed the bump with S-Rod moving to first in the eighth. He lost Votto with one away and also Phillips an out later after being up 0-2. Neftali recovered his aim and whiffed his way out of it. Blake Wood took the hill. Starling got a knock with an out and swiped second, moving up to third when the throw went astray. Cutch K'ed looking and pinch-hitting Gregory was walked intentionally. Freeser flew out to right to put out the fire.

S-Rod walks it off (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Tony Watson walked Eugenio Suarez to start the ninth and he was bunted up; imminent disaster was averted by Fran, who made a great scoop and toss after the ball went off Tony's mitt. Suarez then stole third and came home on a sac fly by ex-Bucco property Ramon Cabrera; leadoff walks kill. Ross Ohlendorf was the Reds' choice. It wasn't a good one; S-Rod sent a 2-0 heater 413' into the left-center field seats for a walkoff win.

A win's a win, and this one was sorely needed. We wouldn't worry about Tony quite yet; it was his first home save opp and he was surely pumped. We would worry about the offense. They're not going to wring three runs out of six hits all that often. We'll see what Ivan Nova has tomorrow night and if he can keep the string of nice starts by V-Song and JT goin'.

  • No Pirate had two hits. Freeser reached twice on a knock and walk while Cutch drew a pair of free passes.
  • S-Rod's walkoff homer was the second of his career. The first was on May 22nd, 2014, v Oakland.
  • JJ's double snapped an 0-for-20 string with his review approved double.
  • Jameson Taillon twirled a MLB high 102 pitches tonight. His MiLB tops was 105 tosses.
  • Gregory, btw, has a sore shoulder and that's why he was out of the lineup again. He can pinch hit but his throwing is limited.
  • Tonight's crowd was 28,882.

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