Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kang Homer, Watson Save Close Out 4-3 Win

Matt Carpenter kept on keepin' on against the Bucs, leading off with a single against Jameson Taillon, and another knock followed; a third brought in a run. A DP eased the pressure and a whiff finished the frame with the Cards up 1-0. J-Hay opened with a rap versus Mike Leake and Freeser bled one through the middle. Cutch K'ed, but Gregory came to rescue, singling to tie the contest when Josh's wide slide swipe eluded Yadi's tag. A wild pitch moved the Buccos to second and third, and JHK's grounder put Pittsburgh up. His out call at first was challenged by Clint, and the Bucs won a reversal. A walk juiced the sacks, but Fran's first pitch 1-2-3 DP doused the flames. The second opened with a HBP, stolen base and double to knot the score. JT got the next trio, but is at 48 pitches; three at-bats have gone seven pitches or more.

Jamo dodged the raindrops and left with the lead (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Leake dealt a 1-2-3 hand to the Bucs, then Jamo fanned the side on 12 pitches in the third.
Freeser started the Bucs off with a knock, and two outs later, JHK singled but nada came of it. A one-out infield squib broke Jamo's seven up, seven down string in the fourth. A bouncer up the middle and a walk jammed the sacks, but Leake was kind enough to swing into a 6-4-3 DP. Fran dumped an opening knock into center and Jordy followed with a rap. They were moved along by JT, setting up J-Hay's sac fly to retake the lead. Of all people, Matt Adams saved a second run by nicely pulling in Freeser's bid for a single to close the frame.

Jameson tossed a clean fifth, and at 95 pitches will call it day, holding it together on a night that he didn't have great command. Gregory doubled with an out; nice to see him stroking it again. That brought on young gun Alex Reyes, who was originally slated to start today. Reyes was Baseball America's #2 prospect and can pump his gas at 100. He was hitting 98, getting a grounder and fly to strand El Coffee.

Trevor Williams came up big in his MLB debut (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Trevor Williams made his MLB debut in the sixth, He coaxed a fly to right, and defensive replacement Adam Frazier (this is not a misprint) overran the ball, then dropped it for a two base error. A grounder moved the runner up and the Cards cashed in on a jam-shot past a drawn-in infield. A strike 'em out, throw 'em out closed the frame. Fraze doubled with two gone after Fran had popped a loud out to left to open the frame, but J-Hay became Reyes' second strikeout victim of the frame. A one-out knock in the seventh was followed by a two-gone walk before a pop shut the gate. Reyes fanned two more in a quiet Bucco half.

Yadi kicked off the eighth with a double. After a K, a grounder moved him up a station and another whiff kept him there; the two rookies are doing some dealing so far. JHK was seeing Reyes for the second time; this time he dropped a 1-2, down the alley 99 MPH heater 421' into the Redbird bullpen to put the Bucs up 4-3. Reyes whiffed a couple more to exit stage right. And yes, Tony Watson came out for the ninth (Neftali's hurt & Felipe flipped two frames last night, so it was a no brainer for Clint). He got two outs (one loud), then last night's nemesis, Matt Carpenter, came up. He went after the first pitch and lifted it to right, but this time into Fraze's mitt instead of a fan's lap; raise the Jolly One.

JHK watches the game winner drop into the St Louis bullpen (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

They're still alive; it's really a pity that they couldn't hang on last night to make it really interesting. But four back in the loss column keeps them in the Cards' rear view mirror with 25 games to go; the Bucs are streaky enough to become relevant. A couple of the hitters who went AWOL seem to be back on track; now if they focus on catching the baseballs they should, it could get intriguing. The next 15 games are against the Reds, Phils & Brewers, so it's sitting there for them in the short term. And they need to make hay during that stretch. The campaign closes with three matches against the Nats and a four game set with Chicago at PNC followed by a three-gamer at Busch.

  • Jung Ho Kang has homered six times since August 13th in just 28 at-bats (33 PA). He led the attack with three hits. Gregory and Freeser had a pair of knocks and are hopefully breaking out of their doldrums.
  • Watch this Root Sports vid of Trevor with his wife, kid and dad after the game. The dream is real.
  • J-Hay has a seven game hitting streak.
  • Tonight's paid attendance was 21,523. Lose a zillion in a row at home and...
  • Trevor Williams was the 12th Indy player to make his MLB debut this season, the most since becoming the Pirates' AAA affiliate in 2005.
  • The Bradenton Marauders 4-1 win over St. Lucie sent them to the Florida State League finals.
  • Altoona's Barrett Barnes was named the Eastern League Player of the Month after hitting .360 with eight HR in August.

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