Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bucs Bop Braves to Salvage Series Split 9-4

Batolo Colon had an easy first frame, with a one-out walk to J-Hay erased on a comebacker DP by J-Bell. It was 1-2-3 for Ivan Nova. Big Sexy turned into Big Softy in the second. The Bucs rang up four singles in five at-bats to plate a pair and for the cherry on top, Fraze took him deep with two outs to make it 5-0. The Braves tried to rally, but left a two-walk and knock aboard. The Pirates left a pair of ducks of their own on the pond in the third while the Bravos went down in order. The clubs exchanged singles in the fourth. The Pirates added on in the fifth. Cervy doubled and Jose Osuna walked with an out. Jordy's double chased them both home while Ivan continued to cruise. Matt Wisler took to the hill and put away the Pittsburghers in the sixth. Nova gave up some well-barreled balls, but only one fell and led to no damage.

Ivan went into the ninth to earn his fifth win (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pittsburgh went quietly in the seventh; the Bravos got on the scoreboard with a double/single combo. Oh, and if you're wondering, Ivan the Efficient is at 67 pitches now. The Bucs again made not a peep in the eighth while Atlanta tacked on another run the same way, via a double/single duet. The Buccos got them back against Sam Freeman in the ninth. With an out, J-Hay singled, J-Bell doubled, Freeser was intentionally walked and Amore punched out his fourth knock to plate a pair. Nova couldn't get through the ninth and was charged with two more runs, driven in by Ender Inciarte and Brandon Phillips who were burrs in the saddle the entire set. It's a pity that Ivan's ERA took a hit over the last couple of frames, but he'll take the W. Jhan Marinez closed out and the Bucs split the series the hard way with today's 9-4 win.

Good way to end the series after yesterday's dramatic rally. Ivan was laboring at the end, so the pad was a very good thing, although it probably influenced Clint to keep Nova on the hill too long ISO another complete game. At any rate, the Bucs come home to face the Mets and Snakes in a pair of three-gamers to close out the month. It would be nice to start winning a few series and get above that  elusive .500 mark last reached on April 16th at 6-6.

J-Hay keeps on keepin' on (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • It was a four-hit day for Amore, tying his career high. A couple of other guys stayed hot - J-Hay had three raps and walk while Jordy added two knocks and a walk. Freeser had a hit and walk; good to see him start to heat up after a cold return from the DL.
  • Not only is J-Hay hitting .304 and proving surprisingly effective in the two hole (though we think he's better suited lower in the order) but he's played more games at third (and more than Freeser) than second with a few OF appearances. He and Fraze have been the glue men this year with all the personnel churn the club has gone through and the team MVPs at the season's quarter pole.
  • The Pirates are 22-26 with today's win. That keeps them in last in the NL Central, but just four games (five in the loss column) off the pace of the front-running Brew Crew.
  • Jameson Taillon threw a 35-pitch bullpen session today.

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