Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Four O's Homers, Blown Save Launch Birds to 6-5 Win Over Bucs In 10 Frames

It was a quiet first for the Bucs against Kevin Gausman. The O's opened with a leadoff Seth Smith homer and a bunt single before Ivan Nova settled in and got a DP and grounder. The Pirates warmed up in the second. A couple of soft singles, a misthrow, a Cutch rope to right, a JJ double and Jordy grounder quickly reversed the field and made it 3-1. The Orioles went quietly. A one-out Gregory walk was followed by a Freeser DP for a 1-2-3 third. Smith reached second on a two-out drop of a sinking liner by Fraze in LF but Ivan bailed Adam out. Gausman picked up a pair of whiffs in a calm fourth; Nova gave up a walk but also fanned a duo. A Jordy double in the fifth was wasted while Ivan cruised. The Pirates added on in the sixth when Freeser banged a ball over the RC field wall. A potentially bigger inning was stamped out by Adam Jone's robbery of a Cutch drive at the wall.

Ivan with more late inning woes (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Jones got the O's first knock since the opening round in the sixth as J-Hay knocked down his grounder but had no play at first. It didn't faze Ivan at all as he finished off the next two Birds. JJ opened the seventh with an opp field rap but was quickly caught stealing; he doesn't have a very happy pair of feet. Jordy rolled a two-out single up the middle and Donnie Hart was waved in; Gausman was at 113 tosses. The lefty plunked Fraze and walked J-Hay in a work around that left the bases loaded. It was a risky maneuver to get to El Coffee and a lefty-lefty match but it worked as Gregory grounded out. Ivan's magic left; he gave up back-to-back bombs and Cervy called for the trainer after the second one. Ivan left the hill for Juan Nicasio, who gave up a two-out single and was swapped out for Felipe Rivero. The O's flipped their lefty for a righty while fans ordered another crab cake and beer in the meantime. All the brainstorming ended with a whiff.

Mychal Givens toed the rubber in the eighth and struck out the side with a walk thrown in; lefty hitters better be swinging as ump Mike Estabrook still rings up the old wide strike against them. Felipe tossed a 1-2-3 frame. Darren O'Day claimed the bump in the ninth. Fraze walked with two outs and it hurt the Birds when J-Hay followed with a trip-trip-triple to add an insurance marker. It took two batters to blow the lead. Tony Watson gave up a leadoff single and then Jonathan Shoop's second homer of the night to knot the score. To add injury to insult, Amore took a foul of the mask and had to leave the game before we headed into extras. Brad Brach came in for the 10th and had an easy frame. Wade LeBlanc climbed the hill. Jones singled with an out, went to second on a deep fly (smart base running; instead of going halfway on a drive to the track, he read the ball correctly to tag & advance) and scored on Mark Trumbo's two-out single to center.

Tony couldn't bring it home (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Two trends meshed; Ivan fading in the seventh (his sore knee may be why he's been hitting a late-inning wall of late) and the O's homer-generated attack. Tony Watson has been in 14 save situations this year; he's blown four. Clint actually did mix-and-match tonight, though probably by circumstance rather than on purpose. Tony was facing the 5-6-7 hitters after Felipe had taken care of the top four Orioles. So rearranging bullpen chairs is probably not the answer so much as finding one more back-ender to add to the pen. No matter how you cut it, this loss was brutal; Nova and Cervelli getting dinged made it doubly so.

  • Ivan was pulled with left knee inflammation; it's been bothering him for a couple of weeks or so when he twisted it in a start against the Phils. He's considered day-to-day.
  • Freeser, JJ and Jordy each had a pair of hits while J-Hay and J-Bell had a knock and a walk.
Nice to have AJ back back, even if just as a fan (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • AJ Burnett was in the stands tonight to take in the game and auld lang syne.
  • Ernesto Frieri, who the Bucs got in the Jason Grilli deal, signed a minor league contract with the Rangers today.
  • How about that? Pirate pest Scooter Gennett was waived by the Brewers. The Reds picked him up, and he was in a 1-for-20 funk. So what's he do tonight? Just goes 5-for-5 with four homers and 10 RBI. And it wasn't against the Pirates - he tortured the Cards.

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