|Josh Bell reached base three time today (photo/MLB Pipeline)|
The Bravos stranded a lead-off knock in the fourth and then helped the Bucs to a couple of runs. Starling led off with a single and was cleanly picked off, but Freeman muffed the grab and allowed Marte to get to second. Two outs later, a Josh Bell two-bagger off Freeman's mitt plated Starling and Jordy's rap chased home Josh to make it a tie game. But not for long; Freeman atoned with a long ball to reclaim the lead in the fifth. The Bucs got a two-out Fraze single; he was caught stealing easily (base-running apparently wasn't included on today's memo). Cole worked out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in sixth. Starling bunted for a hit, then got picked off with Freddie hanging on to the ball this time to open a quiet frame.
Cole Train was out of steam after 98 pitches (six IP, three runs, eight hits, two walks & four K) and Antonio Bastardo picked up the seventh. Ho hum, Freeman homered again to make it 4-2 after getting a call on what looked like strike three on the prior pitch. Teheran mowed down the bottom of the order. Trevor Williams made his first appearance of the season in the eighth and put up a goose egg. Arodys Vizcaino claimed the bump for the Bravos. A J-Hay plunk (he was hit hard in the leg) and Fraze single turned into a run when Starling knocked home Harrison; Fraze went to third when the LF'er couldn't come up with the ball cleanly. But no big inning; Cutch hit the next pitch to short for a bang-bang 6-4-3 DP that stood up to a challenge, frustratingly not confirmed by replay but "inconclusive."
|Trevor tossed two strong frames today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Trevor worked a strong ninth, getting Swanson and Freeman swinging followed by a routine 4-3. Jim Johnson took the ball and was greeted by a Gregory single on the first offering and a quick passed ball moved him up a station. Josh Bell walked on five pitches and Alen Hanson came in to run for him. Jordy tried to move them up, but popped his bunt up for a wasted at-bat. Freeser grabbed a stick and worked a veteran, seven-pitch walk, making the missed sac irrelevant. Cervy pinch-hit next. He grounded to short; a hard take-out slide by Freeser broke up a likely DP chance and allowed the tying run to cross the plate after another review. Harrison grounded out to take it into bonus baseball; he could hardly get up the line and was given a seat.
Lots of 10th inning moves: Felipe Rivero took the mound, Freeser went to first, Fran put on the gear and Alen Hanson replaced Fraze at second as Adam moved back to the hot corner where he started the game. Markakis opened with a knock and Brandon Phillips followed with a seeing-eye roller into right to put runners on the corners. A force-out gave the Bravos the lead again when Fraze bobbled a backhand stop and had to settle for the out at first instead of the play at home. Didn't matter; Jose Ramirez came in and gave up a full count double to Fraze. That was followed by a first-pitch walk-off homer by Starling, drilled into the Braves' bullpen abutting The Notch that launched a Martay Partay and gave the Bucs the sweep.
|Freeser going old school may have saved the day for the Bucs (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Watching the Bucs is like following your favorite sandlot nine; they make you smack your head a half-dozen times every game, but come back in their dirty uniforms with a lopsided grin on their face and keep on grinding. It helped that the Braves leak runs like the City Water Authority leaks H2O, and three in a row is what the doctor ordered after a rough set in Boston and a killer schedule to close out the month. The home stand continues tomorrow when Tyler Glasnow gets his first start against the Reds Brandon Finnegan.
- Starling went 4-for-5 today, Fraze added three hits and Josh Bell got aboard three times (knock and two walks). Marte and Frazier hit one-two; the Pirates only mustered four hits from the rest of the lineup. Freddie Freeman's 4-for-5 with two dingers and a double led the Bravos.
- Maybe today's early base running display had to do more with umps than happy feet; Clint went out to complain that Teheran's move was more balk than deception. Either way, it sure had the Pirates addled.
- Lots of lost chances for both sides this afternoon: the Pirates had a caught stealing, a pick-off and two DPs while Atlanta went 1-for-10 with RISP.
- 22,713 were in the stands. The game deserved to be a sell-out with the gorgeous weather today.