Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pop Guns Shoot Down Bucs 4-3

Cutch got hot by a David Buchanan pitch with two down in the first, and that was all the Bucco action. Eddie Volquez got an out, then gave up a fluke double to Maikal Franco when The Kid lost his popup in the lights. It hurt quickly when Chase Utley singled him home before Edinson closed down the frame.

Russ opened the second with a single, but quickly became an out as he tried without luck to stretch it into a double. with two gone, Gregory Polanco walked and Jordy's two-bagger brought him home when Carlos Ruiz dropped the throw that had beaten El Coffee. But the tie didn't last long. The eight hitter, Freddy Galvis, doubled (the hit moved his BA to .100) and Buchanan rolled a single up the middle to plate him; Cutch was playing too far back to have a shot at home. Volquez got out of it with an unusual but effective 4-3-6 DP. It's not been a real pretty game so far.

Starling walked with one away in the third and stole second as Cutch K'ed chasing a full count change up. The Kid walked, and the Bucs flashed some more two out lightning when Russ doubled the pair home, helped by Marlon Byrd missing the cutoff on his relay. Ike lined out with the Pirates up 3-2. Eddie looked better although still elevating some pitches (Ryan Howard flew out to the track in left) and tossed a clean frame.

Polanco opened the fourth with a looking whiff; ump Clint Fagen has a pretty sizable strike zone tonight, especially that lefty outside corner that stretches way out. A grounder and K put away the bottom of the order. Byrd singled to start up the Phils, but a line out and 6-4-3 DP ended their frame.

With an out in the fifth, Starling shot a liner to the top of the wall in left; a fan got his hands on it, and after a review, the hit was ruled a double. A Cutch grounder moved him up a station, and The Kid's long fly to left stranded him. Galvis opened with a game-tying homer; Volquez is still having problems keeping the ball down consistently. He ran the table after that long fly.

Pittsburgh went quietly in the sixth. Utley led off by catching a 1-2 offspeed pitch in the foot. After Howard and Byrd whiffed - Eddie went soft, with changes and hooks - Utley stole second. After getting up 0-2 on Domonic Brown, Edinson ran the count full, and after four more fouls, Brown drew a walk. That merited a visit from Ray Searage and that turned the trick as Ruiz went down on strikes.

Justin DeFratus took the hill for Philly in the seventh. Jordy lined out on a bullet to third and Travis Snider hit for Volquez, bouncing out on the first pitch. Josh legged out a bleeder to short and Marte rolled one up the middle. They stayed there as Cutch chased a slider to end the frame. He had a couple of fastballs to hit, but looked at one and fouled another that were both fairly juicy.

Justin Wilson came in for the Pirates and the unstoppable Freddy Galvis led off with an infield single. After a pair of K, Galvis stole second and Franco drove him home, poking a cutter into right and taking second on Polanco's throw home. Utley bounced out with the Phils ahead 4-3.

Ken Giles took the bump in the eighth. With an out, Russ ripped one to left, but Brown got to it at the track. Ike looked at strike three. Jared Hughes took over and worked a quick, clean inning.

Jonathan Papelbon looked for the save in the ninth against the bottom of the Pirate order. After taking a terrible strike call, El Coffee gently tapped one toward short and legged it out for an infield knock. Jordy bunted him to second and Andrew Lambo grabbed a bat for Hughes and grounded out to first. leaving Gregory 90' away. Josh whiffed at a slider in the dirt, and the Bucs went down 4-3.

Eddie struggled tonight, but he kept the team in the game, having to go to his off speed stuff to get by. The Bucs had their normal 1-for-8 with RISP; it's tough beating a  dead horse, but they just don't show any approach for productive at-bats when guys are on.

But the game breaker was, of all people, Freddy Galvis. The eight hitter was hitting .085 (5-for-59) with eight total bases in 24 games this year. Tonight, he was 3-for-3 with seven bases, homered, scored three runs, stole a base (he had one swipe in his career in 2013) and raised his average .045 points. Maikel Franco, who came into the game hitting .133, had two hits, an RBI and the the other run scored. David Buchanan, the pitcher, was hitting .040 and drove in a run. That trio had six of Philadelphia's eight hits, and surely shouldn't be the guys to beat a team that's in a playoff chase.

Vance Worley (6-4, 3.05) takes the bump opposite Jerome Williams (3-0, 2.84) tomorrow night.
  • Starling Marte has a nine game hitting streak.
  • Charlie Morton threw some more today and reported that he still has lingering hip pain. It doesn't look promising for his return this season.
  • West Virginia and the Pirates extended their relationship for four more years, through 2018.
  • The Pirates failed for the sixth time to put together a winning streak over four games.
  • The Braves and Cardinals lost tonight, while the Brewers and Giants were still playing at post time.

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