Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bucs Break Out Early & Hold On For 6-2 Win

Pretty busy first inning - the Rays used a single/double combo off Ivan Nova to take the lead. The Bucs got two-out walks from Cutch and Freeser followed by a Jose Osuna double to knot the score off Blake Snell, then J-Bell walked to load the sacks. The two-out magic continued; a wild pitch brought in a run and Eli rolled a slider away into right to plate two more Buccos and it was 4-1. Back-to-back singles with an out in the second put Rays on the corner, but a grounder to Freeser chopped down a run at home and another dirtball ended the frame. The Bucs went down in order; Mad Max has already K'ed twice. Ivan is really laboring and in a rarity, he can't find the strike zone. Tampa opened the third with a single and double, followed by a one-out HBP. A sac fly brought in a tally and an infield knock jammed the sacks again, but a bouncer ended the dance. The Pirates went down 1-2-3.

J-Bell flexed his muscles tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Ivan walked the pitcher to open the fourth but found his groove against the top of the order. J-Bell rewarded Nova's effort by padding the lead with a long tater to left. Jordy walked with an out and was bunted to second where he stayed. The Rays got a two-out walk in the fifth and nada else. Cutch walked and with two gone, Joey O chased him home with another two-bagger. Huddy took the ball in the sixth; Ivan was done at 89 pitches. Daniel gave up a leadoff double but worked around it. Danny Farquhar gave up two singles and had an error behind him, but an around-the-horn DP in between served him well. The Rays continued to shoot themselves in the foot. Tony Watson worked the seventh and had runners on the corners with an out; he served up a 1-6-3 comebacker DP to escape. Jumbo Diaz fanned a pair in a quiet frame.

Juan Nicasio toed the rubber in the eighth and had a calm inning with a walk and a whiff. Erasmo Ramirez climbed the hill and tucked the Bucs away. Felipe Rivero got the call for the ninth up 6-2; Clint works in mysterious ways. Anyway, 11 tosses later the game was in the books.

Eli banged out a couple of raps (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Ivan did what a pro does when he's got nothing - survive. Two runs in three innings while giving up seven hits testifies to both Ivan doing what he could with what he had and the Rays helping out by swinging like lumberjacks.

  • Joey O and Eli each had two knocks and two RBI tonight. J-Bell had a long knock and a walk while Cutch was walked twice and scored twice. The pups and the old dawg woofin', nice.
  • J-Bell's long ball was his 15th homer, tying Ralph Kiner (1946) for most dingers by a Pirate rookie before the All-Star break. It was also his 29th extra-base hit, tying him for the rookie pre All-Star standard set by Dale Long in 1955.
  • Ivan Nova's streak of 15 straight games going six or more innings to start the year ended at 15, the best run since Eddie Solomon in 1981.
  • Cervy is just riding a bike now; looks like his return from the DL (he was eligible yesterday) will be later rather than sooner. With his concussion history (he's missed action several times in his career because of shots to the head), Amore may be a candidate to take the John Jaso route of looking for a new position.
  • Colin Dunlap of 93.7 The Fan thinks the Pirates should hop off the fence - either trade Cutch and Cole Train or sign them.
  • The Bucs signed third-rounder Dylan Busby, a 3B from Florida State. He hit .315/15 HR for the Seminoles. Jim Callis of reports that he signed for $575k (slot value $626,600).
  • You might reconsider your view of umps after you read the Post Gazette's Stephen Nesbitt article on John Tumpane.

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