Brault went to three balls on the first three Brewers in the third (spot a trend?), whiffing a pair and walking one. A grounder to Fraze at third was airmailed to first and Hernan Perez collided with Jaso as he sought the ball (LeBron couldn't have caught it). Jaso was charged with obstruction, a dead-ball infraction, putting Brewers at the corners and getting Craig Counsell ejected (a run had scored during the Keystone Kop segment). After play resumed - it took eight minutes to sort it all out - a stolen base and another line out put it to bed. Josh doubled with two outs, after yet another challenge on whether it was a fair ball or not. It was moot; JJ...wait for it...lined out.
|It all went south after Steven Brault left the hill (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Kinda the same in the fourth; a couple of fans and a walk for Steven, without the extraneous stuff. Cutch opened with a knock, trailed by a fly and DP, the Pirates sixth in the last 11 innings. Broxton doubled with an out in the fifth, but his happy feet failed him when he was tossed out trying to steal third. That was followed by a walk that caused no aggravation. Fraze legged out a single with one gone. Stew hit a little pop to second; Scooter Gennett dropped the ball intentionally to force Frazier at second, swapping a fast kiddo for an ol' catcher on the bases, pretty heads-up though it didn't come into play.
Juan Nicasio took over in the sixth and gave up a leadoff double. A following knock put Brewers on the corners. Juan got a whiff and pop, then walked Jake Elmore after a nine-pitch joust; free passes are the bullpen's calling card. This one came with a high price tag - Nicasio fed Jonathan Villar six straight four seam heaters waist high and away; he caught the last one, taking it the opposite way for a grand slam. We put that blow squarely on Clint; lefties have been hitting Juan hard, and he was at 23 pitches before Villar stepped in. Tyler Cravy came on. JJ doubled with one gone and was left on.
|JJ was solid at the plate today (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Kelvin Marte worked the seventh, giving up a single and then a pair of grounders, the last good for a twin killing. Fraze walked with two outs but Cravy put up another zero. Kelvin tossed a clean eighth, as did Yadiel Rivera, who was saved when Jaso's ball was hauled in at the wall. JJ's been about the only bright spot today, drilling the ball all four at-bats, though with minimal luck at finding grass. A single and error on a booted DP ball put Brewers at second and third with one down in the ninth, then Chris Carter and Santana hit back-to-back dingers to make 10-0; lose by a little, lose by a lot - ya still lose. Ben Rowen wrapped it up.
The Pirates have been a streaky team all year, so you can't count them out yet. It is worrisome that so many pieces are out of sync, though. Outside of the starting pitching, everything is derailed - the attack, the base running, the fielding, the bullpen... It makes this upcoming set with St. Louis huge. The Bucs are already 3-1/2 games behind the Cards for the final wild card spot. Pittsburgh can prime itself for a run by taking the series, or risk being left in the dust by the Redbirds. So buckle up.
- The Pirates have now lost six straight. They've dropped 8-of-9 at home and are 67-67 on the season.
- J-Hay had two hits; the only other Buc to reach twice was Fraze with a rap and a walk.
- On his radio show, NH said that Neftali Feliz's arm injury appears to be muscular in nature, not structural, so we suppose that's good news.