Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bucs: Hits Galore, Runs Not So Much - Cards Take Another 2-1 Game

The Bucs opened against Mike Leake with the mandatory two-single by Cutch. The Cards got a triple from Dexter Fowler on a ball that Fraze had trouble tracking; Fowler came in on a fielder's choice by Stephen Piscotty, who got the benefit of a couple of close-but-no-cigar two-strike offerings to keep his at-bat against Chad Kuhl alive. Pittsburgh went quietly in the second; ditto the Redbirds. Jordy led off the third with a knock and was bunted to second where he died. St Louis has hit a couple of balls on the nose, but none have been able to get past Cutch who looks like he's relishing his return to the middle of the pasture. Freeser doubled with two away in the fourth; like Jordy, second base is where he remained. Cool Chad put up another zippo.

Chad was cool but the Buc bats were icy (photo Ben Margot/AP)

Another inning, another zero for the Pirates. The Cards added a second run in the fifth on a Javi Martinez single and Greg Garcia two-bagger, although a cut-down at third (Cutch-to-Harrison-to-Freeser) helped stem the bleeding. A bopped batter and walk with two outs fizzled with a pop out. Fraze started the sixth with an infield knock and an out later Cutch doubled him to third. Gregory's right-side grounder plated Frazier to make it 2-1. Kuhl followed with a clean frame.

J-Bell singled with one away in the seventh and Jordy followed suit. Jose Osuna got his first MLB swings as he hit for Cool Kuhl (two runs, three hits, one walk and three whiffs after just 72 pitches) after the wheels spun a few times. Jaso had grabbed a bat to hit so Leake was yanked for lefty Brett Cecil and then JJ was hooked for Jose. Osuna will remember it; he banged into a 6-4-3 DP. Wade LeBlanc got the call. Kolten Wong bunted for a two-out single; it helped that no one covered first. It didn't lead to any action. Matt Bowman toed the pitching plate in the eighth. J-Hay singled with an out but Cutch and Gregory couldn't push him home. Wade 1-2-3'ed the Cards.

Wade put up a pair of goose eggs tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

On came Seung Hwan Oh. Freeser led off with a leg single and Alen Hanson ran for him. Fran's knock put Buccos at first and second before Bell struck out swinging. Jordy's bleeder moved the runners up a station, and the bang-bang out call at first was challenged; he did beat the throw and so the sacks were juiced for The Goose. He hit a comebacker that turned into a force at home and Fraze flew out to left. There is no joy in Mudville.

Leave it to the Bucs; they outhit the Cards 11-4, stranded nine and went 1-for-10 with RISP while wasting another very solid pitching performance. They don't get much chance to shower this one off with a getaway day afternoon contest coming up tomorrow; could another sweep be in the cards?

  • Cutch extended his hitting streak to nine games with two knocks, romped around center field like the old days and even had an assist. Jordy led the Pirates pack with three hits; Freeser added two more.
He looked like the Andrew of old tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that "Starling Marte tested positive early in spring training, but was informed yesterday that he lost his appeal." So it's been a long time coming and the Bucs did have time to prepare as best they could for his loss.
  • Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs offers his vision of what the Starling-less Pirates might look like.
  • 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavic was sent from extended spring training to Indy to fill Jose Osuna's roster spot. He must have been ready, going 2-for-5 with three RBI.
  • Long-ago Bucco Bronson Arroyo won his first game since June 15th, 2014 as the Reds beat the Orioles 9-3.

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