Tuesday, September 13, 2016

S-God Snaps the Steak (A Couple, Actually) As Bucs Win 5-3 In Ninth, Plus Lots of Pre-Game Roster Moves

J-Bell legged out a roller to third with an out, but a pair of liners got Alec Asher out of the frame. Cesar Hernandez opened with a knock, liming one off JHK's mitt. A K & DP cleaned up nicely for Ivan Nova. A grounder, walk, DP put the Bucco second to bed; Fran barely jogged out his inning-ending twin killing. Nova gave up a double, but struck out the side otherwise. The Bucs cashed in during the third - a Jordy double, bunt and Fraze knock did the trick, even though Adam *sigh* had happy feet and was tossed out at second. It prob cost a run when J-Bell doubled; he was stranded. Ivan didn't notice; he struck out the side again.

Ivan tossed another strong outing (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Bucs went quietly in the fourth. A leadoff single and wild pitch put Philly in business, and a boot by Fraze knotted the score. There was no Pittsburgh noise in the fifth, and Ivan fanned a couple more in his half. Pittsburgh's offense remained immune to global warming. A walk, bunt single and force put Phils on the corners and another made it 2-1 Philadelphia; Fraze couldn't make a smooth turn on the first ball and J-Bell's throw to second cost a shot at the second. But not without an argument; the ump and Fraze bumped into one another as he went to cover first, causing Jordy to double-clutch the relay. Clint came out to argue umpire interference and got himself tossed. At least he's putting up a fight.

S-Rod's 13th blast of the year was the game winner (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Maybe the Bucs will, too. After a hard out by Gregory to open the seventh, the Pirates drew three straight walks, two by Asher and one by his cavalryman, Mike Mariot. After getting ahead of Jordy 0-2 on a pair of nicely located sliders, he uncorked a wild pitch and the score was knotted. Jordy's fly to right wasn't deep enough to send home Matt Joyce at third. Lefty Joely Rodriguez was waved in and Freeser hit for JJ, who was hitting for Nova. Got it? After all that, he was given an intentional pass. Fraze couldn't lay off the slider and rolled over on one, grounding out to second. Antonio Bastardo came in (appropriately; he and Rodriguez were traded for one another) and worked a 1-2-3 frame. After hitting a batter, Gregory pulled in a ball in right and doubled off the wayward runner to make it a quiet frame.

Hector Neris answered the phone for the eighth, and gave up a Cutch rap after a nice play at third denied J-Bell. He was balked to second - Neris likes to quick-pitch, and it's kinda borderline - then JHK walked with two gone. Good move; P-Flo whiffed. Felipe Rivero took the ball, sandwiched a single between two walks after an out, then allowed a sac fly to give Philly the lead. Cue Elvis and "Heartbreak Hotel."

Jordy had two knocks & scored twice (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Another ex-Bucco, Jeanmar Gomez, came in looking for the save against his old teammates. He walked Fran, with Alen Hanson (hey, he is alive!) coming in to run. Jordy wisely fouled off a bunt and then doubled, Hanson holding at third. Pinch-hitter S-Rod got a 2-2 fastball, outer-middle, and punched it over the RF wall on the line; holy moly, the Pirates had the lead! Luis Garcia was called to the bump and quelled the uprising. Tony Watson jumped back onto the closer's saddle, and two whiffs and a come-backer later, he notched save #12 as Rivero staggered into the winner's circle for the first time this season. And the DJ can slap Foreigner on the turntable with a little "Feels Like The First Time."

Nice win for a change; we'd like to see the kids playing from here out. And there is really no reason for P-Flo to be playing second (he replaced Fraze) with Alen Hanson on the bench. Put Bell at first, Fraze in the pasture and Alen at second. Some rookie energy couldn't hurt, especially with the Energizer Bunny, Josh Harrison, out of action. Hanson deserves a little lineup love and is the perfect guy to slot at leadoff.

  • Jordy and J-Bell each had a pair of hits; the rest of the team had three (although Serpico's was pretty clutch).
  • The last time the Pirates won a game after trailing going into the ninth was July 12th, 2014 when they tied the game against the Reds in the ninth and won in the 11th. That inglorious streak lasted 140 games (0-65 this year before tonight).
  • Ivan Nova's 11 strikeouts tonight represented his first double-digit strikeout game since July 5th, 2013 against the Orioles.
  • Pittsburgh has placed Gerrit Cole on the 60-day DL with right elbow posterior inflammation. Also accompanying him on the 60-day DL is Stew. Apparently his knee hasn't responded very well and he's considering surgery, which explains Jacob Stalling's promotion. To make it a trio, Elias Diaz with his cellulitis was also assigned to the list.
  • The Pirates acquired lefty Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 4.50) from the Mariners in exchange for cash/PTBNL. He joins Zach Phillips, obtained in the Kyle Lobstein deal, as call-ups for a short pen, with the needed 40-man space cleared by the above noted moves.

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