|S-Rod had two hits but came up short in the 8th & 9th (photo Pgh Pirates)|
Another V-Song walk in the third was harmless, and the Pirates went quietly. In the fourth, a bloop, bunt and double padded the Cub lead; one more free pass was issued but stranded. A Matt Joyce walk, S-Rod knock and Fran walk juiced 'em with an out. Jordy lined a shot to second; it was gloved and S-Rod was doubled off. V-Song tossed a clean fifth; at 102 pitches, his day is done. Starling pinch hit and rolled out. An out later, Gregory singled and Cutch walked; Polanco took third on a short passed ball while Andrew snoozed. No diff as JHK fanned fishing for ball four, so it goes for the Pirates.
Wade LeBlanc worked a clean sixth. Lefty Travis Wood whiffed Joyce, then Trevor Cahill came in for more matchup work and got his two righties. Wade gave up a double in the seventh but left him aboard, helped by Gregory's sweet catch to end the frame. Cahill got Jordy to line out (no luck tonite), then Joe Maddon waved in LHP Mike Montgomery to face Freeser, who bounced out. M&M walked J-Bell and wild-pitched him up a station; he went no further.
|Wade LeBlanc hasn't given up a run as a Bucco (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Antonio Bastardo gave up a one-out walk and knock in the eighth, but cleaned up by whiffing the next pair. Carl Edwards Jr fluffed the rosin bag for Chi-town, and a boot and walk got him in quick hot water. Joyce's comebacker became another DP to cool the kitchen and S-Rod's looking K turned off the barely flickering flame.
Juan Nicasio climbed the hill in the ninth. With two gone and a runner on third, an easy fly to left hit El Coffee's glove and dropped out. A run scored, and a second came in shortly afterward on another knock. Drew Hutchison came on to get the third out. Justin Grimm gave up a leadoff double to Fran and Freeser walked an out later, as did Fraze to fill the sacks. Gregory singled in a run and Cutch followed with a two-run knock to make it 6-4. That brought in Alex Pina, who got JHK to whiff on a wild pitch. The runners moved up and Joyce was intentionally put aboard, leaving it up to S-Rod. He K'ed, que sera sera.
|Gregory had two knocks after missing 3 games (photo Pgh Pirates)|
Ultimately, Vogey's early wildness - which isn't new; he's walked 12 and plunked a pair in his last 17-1/3 IP - and three brutal DPs did in the Bucs. Their inability to make hay at home, where they were so good in recent seasons, has been a crusher in 2016.
- Gregory and S-Rod had a pair of knocks.
- From @MattGajtka: The Pirates have had the lead at the end of just three innings so far on this homestand, including Jacob Stallings' walkoff. They've played 47 innings. Not a surprise - the Bucs are 37-42 at PNC Park this year (4 -17 in their last 21!) after going 53-28 in 2015. They're 77-80 on the year, and a Giants win tonite will officially eliminate them from the post season.
- Juan Nicasio's K streak ended at 33 straight appearances. The MLB record is 39.
- The gate was 22,454.
- MLB set a new record tonight with 107 players reaching 20+ homers YTD, breaking the mark of 103 set in 1999. The Bucs have three bombers - Cutch (24), Gregory (22) and JHK (20), with S-Rod having an outside shot with 18.
- Washington's AJ Cole was suspended for five games and fined by MLB for throwing behind JHK on Sunday. Cole will appeal.