Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bucs Overcome Slow Start, Bullpen Bloopers To Rally Past Padres 10-6

The rain storm delayed the game just a wee bit...well, OK, until 9:10 as the weather dudes were oddly accurate tonight. Ivan Nova was dinged for a ground-rule double but had a calm opening frame otherwise. J-Hay avoided a tight one, then reached on a one-out infield bleeder that died on the wet grass (just as good and much less painful). He was stranded too. A walk (after being ahead 0-2) & knock put Friars on the corners in the second, and Nova answered with a whiff and 6-4-3 DP. The Bucs wasted a leadoff walk by looking at lots of balls down the middle. A single was all the Padre damage in the third; Pittsburgh got a walk and steal from Starling but nada else. It was a four-pitch, three-out frame in the fourth for Ivan thx to Marte's rolling grab of a dying quail. It took eight tosses to tuck the Bucs away; they have three hits in 10 innings against Wood and his 6+ ERA.

A rest did Josh some good; he had three hits & three RBI (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The eight hitter, Austin Hedges, walked with an out on four pitches in the fifth and was wild-pitched to second with the pitcher at the dish. Wood's slow roller was thrown away by Freeser and it was 1-0; a two-out homer off a hung change by Carlos Asuaje (it had to go to review; it bounced off a fan and back into the field) added to the tote. The Pirates responded with back-to-back raps. Clint let Ivan bat; it worked out as they Friars returned the favor by throwing his bunt away. A point scored, but Ivan, the tying run, was thrown out trotting to second. Starling couldn't cash in the runner at third, but J-Hay did to make it 3-2. Pinch-hitting might, on second thought, been an option as Yangervis Solarte opened the sixth with a long ball. The umps gave him the benefit of the doubt; an adult fan with a glove reached over the wall and pulled in the ball, which was upheld on review as a HR though it may have fallen a hair short.

Freeser got that back with an undisputed dinger; Joey O followed with no-man's-land pop single. That brought on Craig Stammen; he got two outs and then was nicked for an infield knock. Fraze grabbed a stick; lefty Buddy Baumann was waved in. Adam singled to tie it and the runners moved up a base after a misplay in the OF. Phil Maton III took the ball and got Marte for the last out. Joaquin Benoit came in for the seventh and gave up homer to Manuel Margot. He left the bases loaded with two outs for AJ Schugel, who walked in a run to make it 6-4. Kirby Yates toed the rubber, and with an out, Andrew poked an outside corner , two-strike heater into right. Freeser doubled him to third. Gregory pinch-hit and crushed a tight fastball 434' over the Clemente Wall stands, onto the concourse and in the drink as the Bucs took the lead. Two walks around a soft single loaded the sacks as Kyle McGrath was waved in. Fraze lifted a sac fly and though he fought it, Starling walked. Welcome back, J-Hay, whose knock chased home two more Buccos before Cutch took a third strike that looked a lot like ball four, the second time Andrew was rung up by Lance Barksdale on iffy calls; he's been a extreme low-ball strike caller tonight.

Freeser had a homer and double (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Hopefully, bullpen sanity will return with Juan Nicasio on the hill for the eighth. It didn't at the start; he was greeted with a knock and then plunked the next Friar. But he recovered to get the Pirates three outs closer. J-Bell singled but no tallying resulted. Felipe Rivero got the ball in the ninth and 1-2-3'edthe Padres, getting a swinging three-pitch whiff to close it out.

Two days in a row for the bats, yay! Here's hopin' the sticks keep smokin' and Joaquin Benoit gets his groove back. There was quite a bit of debate among Bucco nation as to whether his spot wouldn't have been better served with a young arm like Edgar Santana or Dovydas Neverauskas, and he's sure not helping sell the FOs decision to bring in a rental veteran.

Gregory's river shot brought the Bucs all the way back (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • J-Hay had three hits and Jordy added two knocks and a walk. Cervy and Freeser had a pair of raps, J-Bell had a hit and free pass while Starling walked twice. Gregory and J-Hay had three RBIs.
  • Gregory's seventh-inning bomb was his first MLB pinch-hit homer. Good spot for it, too.
  • There were 32,243 at PNC Park to see the Pirates and hear "Saturday In the Park" (and it was) from Chicago afterward.
  • Stew has caught four of the six Pirates shutouts this year despite starting just 24 games. Cervy has the other pair in 66 starts. Elias Diaz is 0-for-17 and Jacob Stallings has the other outing.
  • Indy won 1-0; looks like Nick Kingham is finding his groove. He went 7-2/3 scoreless IP, giving up three hits & three walks with two whiffs on 97 pitches. He's given up two runs in his last three outings covering 21-2/3 IP.
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