Friday, July 14, 2017

Bye Bye: Bell's Bomb Gives Bucs 5-2 Walk-Off Win Over the Birds

Well, it's the first inning and Gerrit Cole is pitching, so of course a bad guy hit a homer, in this case Jedd Gyorko off a 3-2, two-out slider, with Tommy Pham aboard and quick-as-a-bunny it was 2-0. Fraze got a knock and after two quick K's J-Bell walked, but Freeser couldn't cash them in against Mike Leake. It was a quiet second for the Redbirds and ditto for the Bucs. The third was 1-2-3 for Cole Train, and he opened the Pirates half with an infield knock. Cutch and J-Bell banged out two-out knocks to bring Cole around with Freeser again the third out, hitting the ball hard but right at Stephen Piscotty. Gerrit had nine-in-a-row before Yadier Molina banged a two-out triple in the fourth, but a whiff kept him iced. Gregory had a hot-and-mostly-cold inning; he doubled to lead off but dogged it to second to cost a base, a pitch after a review confirmed his foul blast was indeed foul. He made it to third and then got picked off by Molina when he turned his back going back to the base; both El Coffee and coach Joey Cora can hang their heads over that.

If Gerrit could only start in the second inning... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

It was a clean fifth for Cole. The Bucs got a leadoff knock from Fraze and a 6-4-3 DP from J-Hay. That was followed by a trio of walks, then Gregory singled a run home to salvage something out of the frame - two hits, three walks and one score, sheesh. Pham singled between two punch outs in the sixth and stole second where he stayed. Matt Bowman took over for Leake (seven hits, five walks, two runs in five IP). Jordy opened with a knock to right and Jose Osuna slapped an 0-2 single, but it continued - after failing on two bunt tries (don't ask why; Adam was 2-for-2), Fraze bounced into a 5-4 DP, wiping out both runners. Clint was tossed following the play; Fraze tried to sneak to second and was sent back as time had clearly been called, a point that the ol' skipper apparently missed. We suspect it had more to do with frustration over ump Jerry Layne's strike zone which has proved a moving target to both sides tonight. Anyhoo, no runs; 14 Pirates runners in six innings haven't dented the scoreboard very much.

Tony Watson took over in the seventh and used eight pitches to take care of business. Brett Cecil took the bump. J-Bell's fly almost left the park, but it settled in Pham's glove instead of the seats. With two gone, Freeser doubled the opposite way. Gregory flared one up the line and off a glove that was called foul. It survived a challenge (the umps ruled the fielder was in fair territory but not the ball; no definitive replay on TV), then he whiffed. It was Juan Nicasio's turn on the hill in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff rap followed by a one-out knock but escaped unscathed. Trevor Rosenthal took the ball and spun two strikeouts plus a soft comebacker. Felipe Rivero got the ninth inning phone call and seven tosses later was in the dugout. Seung Hwan Oh stepped to the slab and was greeted by a hustle two-bagger from Fraze, who slapped an 0-2 pitch into left. J-Hay's short fly to right kept him at second. Cutch was walked intentionally for J-Bell. He looked bad, falling behind 1-2, but it just took one more swing to launch the ball into the left field seats and walk off a 5-2 win.

Fraze was back in the swing of things (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

These guys can drive ya to drink, blowing chances left and right. And geez, first innings and Cole - he still finished with six IP, two runs, four hits, one walk and four K after 102 tosses even with the two-out, two-strike dinger. Big win to open the second half; 15 games left before the trading deadline, and if the Bucs plan to buy rather than sell, they best be taking some series this month. Their song isn't "Don't Stop Believin'" this year; it's "Stayin' Alive."

  • J-Bell had two hits and two walks; Fraze had three raps and Cutch had a hit and two walks. Gregory had two hits while Freeser & Jordy had a walk and a knock.
  • Bell's walk-off home run was the third of the season for the Pirates, most in the NL. It was also Josh's first MLB walk-off.
  • The Pirates have won 6-of-7.
  • Stephen Piscotty left the game in the ninth, apparently injuring himself on a throw.
  • The Bucs drew 24,988 to the ballyard tonight.
  • Good news from Indy - Tyler Glasnow tossed seven zippos, giving up three hits, fanning six and with NO walks!

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