Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bloodied Bucs Bow 4-3 In 12 Innings, Limp Home After 2-5 Road Trip

Wei-Yin Chen sliced and diced his way through the Bucs in the first. Juan Nicasio had an easy time with the first two Fish before Christian Yelich softly rolled a single into left thx to the shift and Giancarlo Stanton walked on a 3-2 pitch that could have (and prob should have) gone Juan's way. He got a grounder to escape, but at the cost of 24 pitches.

Juan again struggled through a poor start before settling in (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Fran became the first Bucco runner painfully in the second when he was nailed on the instep of the back foot on an 0-2 pitch. He moved up on a tapper, then Jordy walked. So did Matt Joyce, who was worked around with Nicasio due up. It almost backfired when Juan sent a low liner to center, but Icharo made a tumbling catch to save Chen's bacon and two runs. With an out, Adeiny Hechaverria rattled a triple and came home on a risky but perfectly executed suicide squeeze. The Pirates went quietly in the third. Icharo led off with a lob to left, and Yelich singled an out later. Stanton doubled in a run, and injury to insult, Fran had to give it up and retreated to the locker room. An intention walk loaded 'em, and a sac fly made it 3-0.

The Icharo show continued in the fourth when he robbed JHK of extra bases with a leaping grab at the wall. As Matt Gajtka of DK On Sports noted "...a Taiwanese pitcher throwing to a Korean batter, with a Japanese center fielder pulling it in." The next pair of Pirates K'ed; the Fish got -what else - an Icharo double. The fifth was a clean frame for both hurlers. No Pittsburgh noise in the sixth but more ouchies: Andrew left with "thumb discomfort." The Marlins took a leadoff walk and left him aboard.

In the seventh, JHK opened with a double (yay, a hit!) and Stew walked; exit Chen, hello Dustin McGowan. he got two routine outs, but Matt Joyce came through, ripping a two run, two out full count double. Gregory was walked intentionally to face Josh, who struck out swinging at ball four. Jared Hughes came in, and put up a zero despite a misplay by Freeser and a walk. The Bucs were cooking in the eighth with a leadoff double by S-Rod and a HBP, but a K and 5-4-3 DP doused the flame. Freeser was the plunked hitter and left in a double switch, with the Pirates later announcing he had an injured hand. The Shark took the ball and spun a 10 pitch, 1-2-3 frame.

JJ kept the Bucs alive with a two out, two strike RBI knock (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Kyle Barraclough started the ninth and after an out, he drilled Jordy in the elbow after barely missing him with the prior pitch. He got to second an out later via a wild pitch. It hurt the Fish badly when JJ took a 3-2 pitch up the middle to tie the match. Josh swung at ball four once again to run the count full, but held his itching trigger finger back long enough to draw a walk. S-Rod couldn't cash in, swinging through a heater. Jordy had to leave and Figgy came in; that does it for the bench. Neftali Feliz came in and worked a clean ninth; on to extras with Frankie and Cole Train as the pine riders.

Nick Wittgren worked the 10th cleanly. AJ Schugel took over and matched him. The Bucs went down quietly in the 11th; ditto the Fish. Wittgren tossed an eight pitch 12th; the Pirates were no hit until the seventh, and are being no hit over the last three frames. Icharo walked with an out; he was forced, but Yelich caught a high heater and drilled it to center for a two bagger to plate the winner. Bit of bad luck on the hit; it took a big hop and hit the very top of the fence; another inch or two would have made it a ground rule double and the Pirates would have lived to see at least another batter. It was also the Marlins' first hit since the fourth inning.

Well, that was a pretty terrible road trip, ending at 2-5. Once again, the Buc bats didn't have any pop; they were held to four hits. The Fish are a competitive club, but had some ball luck in the past three outings, getting some key calls and bounces that make all the difference in a close fought series where hits are scarce. But more worrisome for now is the injury count; four guys went down today, and it's likely we won't know their condition until the Bucs get home and they're sent to Pittsburgh medicos for evaluation.

  • Matt Joyce was the only Pirate to reach base twice, with a clutch double and a walk.
  • The last time the Pirates won when trailing after eight innings was July 12th, 2014, at Cincinnati (Cutch homered in the ninth to tie and again in the 11th to win 6-5), a streak of 73 games. 
  • The Bucs lost three hit batters - Fran (foot), Freeser (hand) and Jordy (elbow) - along with Cutch (thumb), who may have injured himself while batting. We'll have to wait on reports re: the extent (they were all announced as having "discomfort")  Cervelli's looked pretty bad. The Pirates are thin in catching with Elias Diaz hurt; Indy is using Ed Easley and Jake Stallings now.
  • Ryan Vogelsong underwent surgery today to repair multiple facial fractures. Apparently the swelling prevented the docs from operating sooner. It was an outpatient procedure, as he's back home now, and the Buc docs will evaluate him next week to establish a rehab schedule.
  • BTW, Derek Dietrich, who was plunked last night and became the de facto winning run, ended up with a bruised wrist and not a break, good news for the Marlins.

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