Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nova Tosses Three-Hit Maddux As Fish Flounder 4-0

Dan Straily worked a 1-2-3 first frame against the Bucs; Ivan Nova put up a zero, working around a Martin Prado two-bagger. The Pirates drew first blood in the second when Gregory doubled up the third-base line and Jordy singled him home. The Fish went down without a splash. The third was quiet for both nines, and the fourth saw another opposite-field double by El Coffee but no other action by either side. Amore came up gimpy trying to leg out a hit, but he stayed in the game. The Pirates went down w/o a peep in the fifth while the Miami stranded a lead-off single.

Gregory had a pair of opp-field doubles (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

With an out in the sixth, a J-Bell knock followed by Cutch and El Coffee walks stirred the pot. Another walk, this time to Cervy (Fran and El Coffee were both behind 0-2 before working their free passes) brought home a run. Brad Ziegler came on to face JJ, who fell behind 1-2 and then waited out a fourth straight walk. Jordy wasn't as patient; he hit into a first-pitch 4-6-3 DP, getting on top of a center-cut sinker. Ivan kept cruisin'. David Phelps stranded a walk in the seventh; Nova mowed down the Marlins. Junichi Tazawa tossed a calm eighth. The Fish opened with a single, but a pitch later and as quickly as you can say J-Hay-to-Gift-to JJ, that threat was erased. A fly to right - Danny Ortiz, a true OF, is manning the spot now - brought us to the ninth.

AJ Ramos started the final frame with a heater just above the belt, outside half and JJ turned it into a souvenir to make it 4-0 Buccos.Nova served up another three up, three down frame to cap a three-hit, seven K Maddux whitewash of the Marlins.

It seems the FO knew something when they dealt for and then re-signed Ivan
(graphic Positively Pittsburgh)

Nova was brilliant again; his pitch count is always low because the batters know he's throwing strikes, but that swing attitude doesn't always translate into hits, especially when the hook is nasty as it was tonight. The gloves were in play too. J-Hay put on a clinic at the hot corner as did the Marlins Adieny Hechavarria at short. Walks were the key, and when you get into that kind of contest, Ivan always wins. As for the team, Kang and Marte are gone long-term, Freeser and Fraze are out for 10 days and the squad can't catch a cold, but if they do broom the Marlins tomorrow afternoon, they'll be .500 after a killer April schedule. As the Gunner would say "How sweet it is!"

  • Ivan Nova shut out Miami on 95 pitches for a "Maddux" (a complete game shut-out using fewer than 100 pitches) It's the first Bucco Maddux since Jeff Karstens tossed one on July 15th, 2011 against the Astros. He five-hit the Houston and used only 83 tosses (no walks, two whiffs).
  • In his 16 starts with the Pirates, Nova has more complete games (five) than walks (four).
  • Gregory and Jordy each had two hits while JJ had a knock and a walk.
  • Indy RHP Josh Lindblom was dinged by a comebacker that found his left foot this afternoon and removed from the game.

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