Saturday, September 3, 2016

Bucs Can't Find The Answer; Brew Crew Takes 7-4 Victory

Keon Broxton opened the game with a bouncer up the middle. Despite a lot of attention, he swiped second with two gone, but Ivan Nova was equal to the challenge. J-Hay started with a knock off Jimmy Nelson and Josh Bell walked. A roller moved them up a station and a sac fly made it 1-0. Nova served up a tapper and two whiffs in the second. Fran walked with an out and Jordy reached on a boot. They were bunted up, and the sacks should have been loaded - Nova jogged up the line (prob due to his recent hammy issue, but still...), allowing the catcher to drop the ball and pick it up again to get the out at first, drawing boos from the crowd. Nelson's bacon was saved by SS Orlando Arcia, who stole a J-Hay ball ticketed for center and a pair of runs, turning it instead into a 6-3.

Broxton walked with two gone in the third and stole second, where he died again. Bell opened with a knock and was erased on Cutch's around-the-horn DP. Gregory walked and Starling legged out a hit and were left aboard; the Pirates have stranded five already. The Brew Crew got a two-out knock in the fourth and that was it. Cervy took a leadoff walk. A force, missed bunt try and whiff led to another frustrating frame.

Ivan gave the Bucs a third straight solid start. (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

In the fifth, Starling misplayed a fly into a triple; no biggie. Ivan fielded a squibbler and flipped the ball home with his glove to cut down the run and the inning played out quietly after that. Cutch walked with an out; El Coffee's DP brought the action to a quick end. The Brewers finally caught up to Nova in the sixth. Scooter Gennett doubled and with two away, Chris Carter went yard to left to make it 2-1 Biermeisters. Starling singled and swiped second, followed an out later by another Fran free pass. That was it for Nelson as Jhan Marinez took the ball. He got a force out and a forced hand with Nova due up; Ivan sat and Matt Joyce grabbed a stick. Lefty Brent Suter was waved in and won the matchup with a grounder to short. The Pirates have had 11 runners reach over six frames and one run to show for it.

Jared Hughes was greeted with a leg double to open the seventh; Starling had Arcia dead to rights, but he turned the tables on Harrison and eluded his tag with a slippery slide. A sac and walk put Brewers on the corners; a Broxton bunt loaded the sacks when no one covered first. Hughes fell behind Gennett 3-0, but came back to get him to roll over and bounce into an inning-ending (and maybe game saving) 4-6-3 DP. Carlos Torres climbed the hill and gave up an opening knock to J-Hay. It was Bell's turn to bang into a DP, on a hanging curve. Cutch took some of the sting away by drilling a ball 394' over the RC wall to tie the match.

Cutch happened to knot the score briefly. (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Neftali Feliz answered the phone for the eighth and Ryan Braun banged an opening knock off him. A force and single put the Brew Crew on the corners. The trainer came out after that knock - not a bad pitch, btw - and Neftali left in some pain, with Felipe Rivero replacing him. A walked left the bases drunk, and Arcia plated a run by poking an 0-2 heater over the outside black into right. An out later, Manny Pina singled home two more. Marte made the play at the dish tight for the second run; another nice slide slipped past a missed tag. It went to review and the safe call was upheld. Kelvin Marte got the call for his first MLB appearance, and gave up his first big league hit to make it 6-2. Then he issued his first walk to load the sacks again, this time for Braun, who became his first strikeout victim.

Corey Knebel took the ball and gave up a 434' Marte bomb into the hedges. After an out, Fran got plunked off the elbow pad. Jordy followed with a rap, and that brought Blaine Boyer to the bump. John Jaso greeted him with a run-scoring single. Alen Hanson ran for JJ, representing the tying run. Clint coulda put in a sumo wrestler; J-Hay hit the first pitch to second for a 4-6-3 DP, the Bucs fourth of the night. Jeff Locke came out for the ninth (no, we don't why either) and gave up an opening triple on a ball that Gregory was slow getting to and then lobbed in. A single brought the run home before Locke-down was achieved. Tyler Thornburg closed the book 1-2-3.

Starling went 3-for-4 with a blast into the batter's eye. (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The team needs an energy jolt. God knows there are enough young guys hanging around the dugout now that it's September to slip one or two in. And Clint has to take a look at how he uses his pen. You can't fault him for Neftali and Felipe both having bad days on the same day.  But bringing in Jared Hughes in a one-run game and Jeff Locke in the ninth of a two-run game? Loyalty is one thing; reality is another.

  • Starling went 3-for-4 with a homer and stolen sack. J-Hay had a pair of hits
  • Jordy has a five game hitting streak.
  • Josh Bell broke an 0-for-13 streak with his third inning single. 
  • Lefty Kelvin Marte was the 11th Pirates rookie to make his MLB debut this season.
  • The Bucco have dropped five in row. With tonight's loss, the Pirates are just 34-32 at home, barely better than their 33-34 road record.
  • 26,637 showed up for tonight's game.
  • Nice 1971 party before the game. Maz threw out the first pitch - to his grandson Billy.

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