Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cards Leave Birdies Everywhere, Fall to Fraze's Walk-Off Whack 4-3

A single and one-out walk put Trevor Williams in hot water; a 5-3 DP cooled things off. Fraze opened with a rap against Carlos Martinez, stole second and came home on Cutch's rap up the middle. With two gone in the second, Trevor again had sparks flying around him following a double, single and stolen base, but he got Martinez swinging. Pittsburgh went down quietly. The Redbirds got a two-out single in the third, and it cost an extra eight pitches before the third man was retired. Trevor opened with a knock but it didn't help the cause.The Cards got a one-out knock in the fourth; a 5-4-3 DP cleaned it up as St. Louie is taking a page from Pittsburgh's playbook last night. Gregory lost his second homer in two days after review; his blast into the river was called foul and tho whisker close, remained foul after an MLB probe, and El Coffee later settled on an infield hit that was granted by another review. Jordy came close to padding the lead, but his bid for a cheapo long ball, just inside the pole, ran out of legs.

Trevor dodged some bullets to keep the team in the game (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

An infield single, bunt and Matt Carpenter double lit the scoreboard for the Cards in the fifth. The Pirates came right back; Mad Max got a first pitch fastball down the middle and turned into his first big league dinger by banging it off the RF foul pole. Some innings like the sixth seem like broken records; a single followed two outs later by an infield knock off a glove, then a bloop into center by the pitcher and it's a tie game. Sheesh, Redbird hurlers have turned into Babes! Huddy closed the frame and the Bucs had no response in their half. Tony Watson gave up a one-out knock, but a 6-4-3 DP negated it in the seventh. The Pirates went 1-2-3. Juan Nicasio came on in the eighth and was dinged for his homer of the year when Yadier Molina lit him up on a 2-0 fastball. Two outs later, a single, airballed pickoff and walk left Cards on the corners, but Juan K'ed Carpenter to keep the deficit at one. Trevor Rosenthal climbed the hill, bopped Fraze and then blew through the rest of the lineup.

Wade LeBlanc allowed a runner via a boot with an out in the ninth, but a liner to Jordy, who was the guilty party the play before, turned into yet another DP, altho it took a challenge to overturn the original blown safe call. Brett Cecil claimed the bump and Cervy legged out a grounder to short. J-Hay ran for him and a grounder moved him up 90'. Jordy came up big, doubling Josh home to tie the game one more time. An out later, Freeser was walked to get to Fraze and a lefty-on-lefty match. Adam hits .306 v lefties (read your charts, Mr. Matheny) and proved why, drilling a knuckle-curve into center to chase Jordy home for the win.

Fraze to the rescue (photo Michael Pronzato/Pirates)

It's easy enough to see why these clubs struggle; the Pirates couldn't buy a hit last night with runners aboard, and the Cards put 17 guys on the base paths, only to be DP'ed and frustrated all afternoon. So the teams took turns stealing games, and for the Bucs, the series win means the upcoming four-game set with Milwaukee will have consequences one way or the other in both the race and the buy/sell decision being weighed by the FO.

  • Fraze was the only Bucco with two knocks in the game.
  • Like J-Bell last night, Fraze collected his first big league walk-off hit today.
  • Cutch's RBI knock in the first was his 1,400th Bucco hit. On the other side of that pillow, Trevor Williams collected his first MLB hit in the third after starting his career by going 0-for-22.
  • Some Pirates numbers: 23 comeback wins, six walkoff wins and a 39-11 record when scoring four or more runs.
  • The game drew 29,247 to the park this afternoon.
  • Some quick hits from Neil Huntington's Sunday radio chat: Starling's spot in the order is TBD, but it sounds like he'll be near the top. The hot topic of grooming Joey O for 3B was considered back in camp, but w/Marte's suspension, it was decided to keep him going as an OF'er. Fraze was thought of as the back-up to Freeser at third at the time. They still like Max Moroff despite his hitting woes and admitted that they rushed him to the show. Finally, he said of the Q trade to the Cubs that "...we were never going to get him to begin with." Whether he meant because of the prospect price or because the White Sox didn't value the Pirate offer as highly as NH did was left unclear.
Mad Max went deep for the first time (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • You can scrub Juan Nicasio as a target of the Washington Nats. They just traded for Oakland's Sean Doolittle & Ryan Madson, sending the A's RHP Blake Treinen and toolsy but low-level minor leaguers LHP Jesus Luzardo & 3B Sheldon Neuse.

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