Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bucs Battle But Fall Short 6-5

J-Hay opened by getting aboard on a boot. Josh Bell cracked one to left, but with the wind blowing in at 19MPH, it held up for a routine out. Cutch rolled over and bounced one to third - sound familiar? - and the DP took Jason Hammel out of the inning. The wind didn't bother Kris Bryant; he absolutely hammered a hung hook over the LF wall that would have landed in the street on a calm night. Ryan Vogelsong got out with no further damage at the cost of 20 pitches. Starling dinked a double the opposite way with an out and died at third thx to a sweet stop by Bryant on S-Rod's ball to save a run. The Cubs went quietly.

Pittsburgh went down in order in the third as did Chi-town. Gregory tripled with two gone in the fourth and was left standing. Bryant opened with a single and moved up after a wild pitch. A grounder and two-out walk put Cubbies on the corners, then Addison Russell's single made it 2-0. S-Rod walked with one gone in the fifth and Vogey walked an out later. It cost him when J-Hay bounced one toward the hole and off Bryant's glove - he is human - to plate Rodriguez. Bell eyeballed another walk to load 'em for Cutch, who K'ed after falling in an 0-2 hole thx to a non-swing that was rung up. Chicago acted up with two outs with a triple and walk, but V-Song shut the gate.

Jordy had two hits, two RBI and scored (photo Jim McIssac/Getty)

Hammel tossed a 1-2-3 sixth frame, though at 104 pitches his night has ended. Jorge Soler opened with a two-bagger and the next pitch was lined into center to make it 3-1. That was followed by a walk and Antonio Bastardo was waved in. After an out, a wild pitch moved the runners up and a balk gifted a run. A double that Starling misjudged added to the tally; that was followed by a four pitch walk. He wriggled out with the score now 5-1.

Trevor Cahill took the ball in the seventh. Jordy legged out a knock with an out and Matt Joyce walked. J-Hay's single juiced the sacks. Justin Grimm climbed the hill to face Bell; he caught him looking, as Grimm got a pair of  way generous strike calls (the Strike Zone graphic said strike 3 was called a strike 2% of the time. Plate ump Tony Randozza is having a pretty poor night). Then he rang up a pair of outside strikes against Cutch, but he hung in long enough to eventually earn a pass and make it 5-2. Gregory's bloop to left looked dangerous, but Russell made a sliding grab on the line to save a pair of runs. Juan Nicasio took over and gave back the run with a leadoff walk, one out single and sac fly.

Travis Wood toed the rubber in the eighth. Fran doubled with an out, just missing a dinger, and S-Rod walked. Jordy caught a middle-middle cutter and doubled home the pair. Felix Pena came in against Freeser and walked him. J-Hay went down swinging on three pitches, but moved up the runners when the catchers pick-off throw went astray, putting the tying runs in scoring position. Bell's bouncer left them there. Jared Hughes jogged in and gave up a walk with an out, but a couple of liners found leather to end the frame quietly.

S-Rod manned the hot corner, walked three times and scored twice (photo Archie Carpenter/UPI)

Aroldis Chapman met the meat of the Bucco order in the ninth. Starling singled with two gone and moved up after a wild pitch; then he advanced 90' after another, and Fran knocked him home, singling off a 104 MPH heater. S-Rod walked, and Jordy fought a battle royale, finally doing down after 11 pitches on a nasty slider.

We know there is no try, but the guys ground this game into powder. The Cubs did their part, making a couple of run-saving stops on defense and adding on single scores to support a crooked number inning. But after two loses, the Pirates could have mailed this one in after falling four runs behind. Instead, they kept on keepin' on and fought to the last at bat. And who knows - with a ump that had a clue, they may have came all the way back. Tony Randazzo was an embarrassment tonight, bad for both teams but worse for the visitors, which is the usual MO. We'd hate to see an automated strike zone for many reasons (Russian hackers high on the list, lol), but games like this kinda make you wonder what Optimus Prime would look like in blue.

  • J-Hay, Starling, Fran and Jordy had two knocks apiece and S-Rod walked three times. The Pirates had their chances, leaving 12 runners on base.
  • The Cubs have scored in the first inning every game this series.
  • Cutch ended an eight game hitting streak tonight.
  • Chicago is 12-3 against Pittsburgh (8-1 at Wrigley); they've scored four or more runs 13 times.  The Pirates have score 4+ runs seven times in the series.
  • @MITFitz noted that the Pirates haven't had a comeback win when trailing in the ninth since 2014.
  • Might be bad timing, but the Pirates had a cake in the clubhouse to celebrate Vogey's 10th year in the show.
  • Well, that was quick: after swinging a deal with the Pirates for Kyle Lobstein, the Orioles DFA'ed him two hours later to add Drew Stubbs to the roster.
  • Neil Walker is "probably opting for surgery," Terry Collins says. The Pittsburgh Kid has a presser scheduled tomorrow to discuss his herniated disk.
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