Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bucs Get the Bat Signal & Bust Out With 15-2 Blistering of Phils

Well, sweet start to the game - John Jaso took a 3-2 sinker and tattooed it 440' over the wall in RC to give the Bucs a quick 1-0 lead over Jerad Eickhoff and the Phils. Chad Kuhl tossed a clean frame. Pittsburgh went down in order in the second, as did Philly. It was nine Bucs and nine Phils in a row after three. Pittsburgh doesn't have many hits, but they ones they have are smokin' as Cutch took an inside half heater and knocked it 403' over the LC fence to provide some Bucco damage in the third. Chad struck out the side.

The beat went on in the fifth when S-Rod pounded another long fly to left to make it 3-0. Tommy Joseph doubled to open the Philly half and a pair of grounders brought him home. An infield knock followed and plated when Aaron Altherr caught a middle-middle sinker and took it the other way for a two-bagger; Chad's location hurt him this inning as he's been up and over the dish. The Pirates had no answer in the sixth. Kuhl worked out of a mild leadoff single and bunt jam, with a little comedy skit added on the last out when Chad, wandering vaguely toward first on a right side bouncer, had to hit the dirt to dodge S-Rod's toss to JJ.

Chad tossed his usual six strong (photo Gary Vasquez/USA Today)

Gregory led off the seventh with a two-bagger; breaking the dinger string. Eickhoff went to his hook, whiffing JHK and getting S-Rod on a pop off a hung curve. Fran reached on a boot to put Bucs on the corners. Jordy was served a down-the-pike 3-2 slider and joined the crowd by losing the ball in the LF seats to make it 6-2. Cool Chad was lifted after 68 pitches for Alen Hanson, who whiffed on reliever David Hernandez's curve. Juan Nicasio came in and left a two-out double to wither. Frank Herrmann worked the eighth. Matt Joyce walked, Adam Frazier came in to run and was caught stealing. Today it didn't make much diff, except it took away a RBI from Cutch after he homered to left again. Antonio Bastardo answered the phone and tossed a quiet frame.

Severino Gonzalez took his turn in the ninth. A walk and lobbed single scampered home with two outs when J-Bell ripped a double down the RF line, and he tallied on Freeser's two-bagger. Fraze drew a 12 pitch walk to run Gonzalez's pitch count to 33, and Colton Murray took his spot on the bump. Cutch can do no wrong tonight, and looped a soft single to plate another run, and Gregory added to the tote board when he rolled a 3-0 pitch up the middle, then JHK doubled home the 13th run. S-Rod singled in two more before Fran looked at a third strike. Jared Hughes put it to bed.

Cutch was a beast tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Call the AJ Factor; maybe the Bucs needed someone to loosen them up (or just to get into the Philly bullpen). At any rate, it was nice to see them hit the ball with some authority - they smacked five homers and broke a six-game GIDP string - for a change. Too bad they couldn't save & spread those runs around, but maybe today will shake them out of their recent doldrums. We'll see; the Pirates head to GABP for a four-game series against the Reds.

  • Pittsburgh hit five homers, four doubles & four singles, drew three walks and was gifted by an error. Scoring 15-of-17 runners (Fraze was caught stealing or he would have scored) sure helps pump up that RISP. 
  • The Bucs eight-run ninth matched their best inning of the year while 15 runs are the high water mark for runs scored in a game this season. Talk about using all three outs: the last 12 runs the Corsairs plated came with two away. The 15 runs were the most for the Bucs in a game against the Phils since June 1967.
  • Per @joe_block, the Pirates tied an MLB record that's been on the books since 1913 by leaving just one man LOB when scoring 15+ runs. 
  • @JohnDreker noted that Andrew McCutchen passed Hall of Famer Fred Clarke for 16th most career Pirate RBIs at 624, one less than Tommy Leach.
  • John Jaso has seven leadoff homers in his career, three coming this year.
  • The Bucs had a surprise on-field visitor today when AJ Burnett stopped by to see his boys, later appearing with the Root Sports broadcasters. It's the first game Batman's attended this year. AJ also showed of his newest tat, 2513 (his career K total) on the knuckles of his right hand. Oh - Cutch promised him he'd hit a pair of taters for him and he did. Buds don't fib to buds.

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