Eric Fryer walked to open the third; he was bunted up and touched home on Fraze's knock; another DP killed the frame. Ryan was small-balled. An infield single was followed by another single. A bunt, walk, and another infield knock tied the score. That rap hurt; it went 15-20', far enough that Fryer had to stay home for a play, but in a spot that V-Song couldn't get to in time. He hung tough and stopped the bleeding there thx to a K and a sweet running grab by Starling on the track in center.
|V-Song was a bright spot during a dismal night (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Starling doubled and Josh drew a 10 pitch, two-out walk in the fourth, but Jordy couldn't cash them in. Ryan worked a quiet inning. The Bucs went down quickly in the fifth, ditto the Braves. Freeser opened the sixth by reaching via a boot and Matt walked. Starling had one of those at-bats. He was served six straight balls and still K'ed, and the Bucs left their ducks on the pond. V-Song kept cruising in his last frame and has sat down 11 straight Bravos. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk with six K after 83 tosses, and that run scored on a swinging bunt dropped into no man's land.
Brandon Cuniff took over in the seventh and Jordy welcomed him with a knock, but was quickly nailed stealing on a misfired hit-and-run. Fryer walked, JJ grabbed a bat and lefty Hunter Cervenka was waved in. Jaso grounded into a 3-6-3 DP and barely got out of the box (in his defense, he said post-game he thought the ball was foul). Felipe Rivero rubbed the rosin. A one-out walk and single put him in hot water that JHK brought to a boil. Rivero stepped off the rubber and had Adonis Garcia dead to rights going to third, but Kang missed the throw, allowing him to score. It was ruled a caught stealing, E5. A two-out, two strike single made it 3-1.
|We can't imagine any reason for Freeser to sit (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Chris Withrow toed the rubber in the eighth. After an out, Freeser cut the lead to one with a bomb to the opposite field, teeing up a 3-2 heater. Antonio Bastardo climbed the hill and watched Kang clang another ball, putting a runner on second after a quick steal. A grounder moved him to third. That was followed by an intentional walk. Nice thought, but a sac fly brought the response run home. A wild pitch moved up the back runner and he came home on a double. Jared Hughes came in to finish it up. Jim Johnson swooped in for the save and fittingly, Kang reached via an error. That just delayed the inevitable by an at-bat. The Pirates finished 1-5 v Milwaukee & Atlanta. This was only the second home series the Bravos have won all year.
Great to see V-Song back in the saddle and spinning the cowhide so well. As for the rest of the team, which has been sleep walking lately, here's our nudge to Clint - play your best eight. If fringe guys are grumpy about irregular use, there's a waiver wire to take care of that and a bench for core players who aren't performing. The guys from Indy who should be here, well, should be here. Don't block them. If there's a summer swoon in the cards, at least let it be a teaching moment for the pups who will be key in 2017.
- Josh and Eric Fryer reached base twice; Harrison on a hit and walk and Fryer with two free passes. Pittsburgh only had five hits.
- When V-Song went to the dugout after his outing, the first guys he found to hug were the members of the training staff who helped him rehab. Tough to not cheer for Ryan.
- Toronto hasn't quite figured out how to use Frankie. They're temporarily going with a six-man rotation but are considering a bullpen role with his fastball/slider combo.
- Happy B-Day to Trib writer Rob Biertempfel.