Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mine's Bigger Than Yours - Bucs Big Inning Beats Brewers Big Inning 4-3

A 1-2-3 first for Ivan Nova, with an exclamation point added by Starling's diving grab of a blooper. Junior Guerra returned the favor. A single/double combo to open the second had the water boiling. A pop and whiff dropped it to a simmer. An intentional walk brought up Guerra. Pitchers have hurt the Bucs with their sticks of late, but not this time as Nova picked up the punchout. Pittsburgh went quietly again. No escape in the third - a couple of knocks and a Travis Shaw bomb gave the Brewers a big three-run pad; Ivan's been serving up some gopher balls of late. Tough inning; the first two outs were on interference (the ball hit a runner) and a caught stealing before a garden-variety grounder ended it after six hits. Again, nada from the Pirates. Sanity returned in the fourth as the Brewers went down in order. Starling opened with the Bucs first hit, and to prove he was in midseason form, he was picked off second for the third out.

J-Hay had the big blow (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The Brew Crew collected a two-out rap in the fifth while Guerra kept cruising. It was a clean sixth for Ivan thanks to a DP ball. The Bucs lit the board on a Cervy long ball. Starling drew a four-pitch walk (!) with two outs, then J-Hay got ahead 3-0. He took a strike, then oppo taco'ed a fastball and suddenly it was a tie game. Oliver Drake took the ball and walked Cutch. J-Bell singled and Freeser, who's had a lot of two-out chances lately, came thru with a RBI single before El Coffee's at 'em ball to third. AJ Schugel climbed the slope in the seventh with a two-out infield knock the only dent in his armor. Carlos Torres took the bump and was greeted by a Cervy single. He moved up with a J-Hay-style bit of running, dodging a tag on a grounder to second to avoid a DP (tho it took a challenge to get the call right).

Huddy got the eighth inning call against the 4-5-6 hitters. He caught a call (nice frame job by Amore) to get Shaw looking, getting him and Craig Counsell booted by the ump. Two grounders ended the frame, one a comebacker and the last out a nice play at both ends by Jordy and J-Bell. The Bucs went down in order with a couple of bullets that found leather, so Felipe Rivero's ninth-inning act was sans a safety net. After a K, an infield single off Felipe's glove (he prob should have let it go) was followed by a knock. No sweat; hard to mishandle a pair of swinging K's.

AJ Schugel - how ya gonna keep him down on the farm? (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Well, the Bucs stay as hot as the July summer. Each team had an inning, and the Pirates was a two-out rally larger. Good job by the pen; AJ and Huddy had to handle the top and middle of the order and were more than equal to the task. So now the Buccos have won 9-of-11 and trail the Brewers by five games; who'd of thunk it after that disastrous Giants series? And it was kinda nice to see the Three Amigos back in action tonight. It might be a tad late, but it's still nice to see the boys coming together.

  • Cervy had two hits; Starling had a knock and a walk as the Pirates were outhit 11-6.
  • Juan Nicasio tossed 42 pitches over the last two nights; that's why Huddy got the eighth inning nod tonight.
  • It was made official late this afternoon: Phil Gosselin was optioned back to Indy to clear a spot for Starling. There was no need for a 40-man move; the Pirates FO saved slots for Starling and Jung-Ho (although lookin' like that one may be vacant for quite awhile).
  • Ever hear of owning a guy? Travis Shaw is 10-for-13 lifetime against Nova after going 3-for-3 against him tonight.
  • Brewer C Stephen Vogt has been placed on the 10-day DL with a sprained left knee suffered in a mash up at home with Chad Kuhl last night. He's expected to miss a month.

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