Saturday, June 11, 2016

Martinez, Holliday Put the Pirates Away 5-1

Ah, Frankie. The southpaw filled up the strike zone and K'ed the first Redbird. Then he fell behind the next two and gave up singles (neither, in justice, very well stroked) before walking the third. He got Matt Adams to chase for a big second out, and followed with a bounce out, so drama but no damage. Carlos Martinez walked JJ to open, but got the next three, with a couple of line outs (whoever has been positioning the Card OF this series is underpaid).

Good Frankie in the second; it was a 1-2-3 frame with two whiffs. Starling opened with a knock thru the left side; Josh quickly bounded into a 6-4-3 DP and the Bucs went down quietly. Liriano fanned two more in a clean third, and Martinez had a easy frame, too. Dang - a nine pitch fourth and 11 straight Cardinals plucked. After an out, Gregory battled for a 10 pitch walk; he was erased via an around the horn DP. Martinez has faced one batter over the minimum so far; quite the Dominican duel (but not for long).

Frankie had one rough inning; it was enough (photo Justin Aller/Getty)

Brandon Moss lead off the fifth with a two bagger the opposite way and a wild pitch moved him to third. A passed ball on strike three plated him and allowed Jedd Gyorko to reach; a bunt moved him to second. An out later, Frankie issued a four pitch walk and Matt Holliday took the next pitch, a fastball down the middle, deep to right center to make it 4-0. Starling legged out a roller to third; three weak grounders followed for the Buccos.

A one out walk in the sixth didn't lead to any more misery with a big grab by Cutch, but Frankie's done at 103 pitches. Matt Joyce opened with a single, then JJ hit into the obligatory DP, the Bucs third, for another rocking chair frame for Carlos. The Pirates haven't put a ball in the air since the second inning. Rob Scahill worked the seventh. He bopped a batter, gave up a couple of hits and a stolen base, surrendering one run and spared another when Starling cut down a runner at home. And to add fuel to the current Bucco dumpster fire, Stew limped off the field after the play at home, and wouldn't return.

Gregory became the first Bucco to touch second with a ground rule double to left; Starling's third hit and a sac fly by Josh brought him in. Rob stayed in for the eighth, with newly acquired Erik Kratz behind the dish. It went smoother, with just a two out knock to mar his frame. Martinez is at 108 pitches after eight and still hitting 98. He struck out two in a 1-2-3 frame. And then he led off the ninth with a single off Arquimedes Caminero. A free pass and passed ball created a jam, but Arquie worked out of it. Gregory drew a 10 pitch walk with an out and JHK followed with a knock. After 122 tosses, C-Mart's night was over and Tyler Rosenthal's began. He had his save a comebacker and whiff later. Tip o' the hat to Carlos Martinez; he was on tonight.

Gregory was on base three times (photo Joe Sargent/Getty)

Can't be too hard on Liriano; if Stew catches strike three, the fifth inning never blows up. But Frankie fell into the same trap Neftali Feliz did last night. After a walk, the Cards weren't taking a pitch but hunting a heater, and both Holliday and Carpenter made souvenirs of middle-middle fastballs. The pitchers certainly know that the Redbirds are free swingers, not grinders. But he did mostly put together decent innings, though his command still wasn't altogether there; that free swinging is a double edged sword. But he looked a step  closer to resolving his mechanical woes.

  • Starling had three hits while Gregory had a hit and two walks tonight. The rest of the team had two hits and one free pass.
  • Marte's eight assists lead MLB outfielders.
  • In 10 June games, Cutch has had six multi-K outings.
  • The Pirates have lost four in a row and 11-of-15.
  • Tonight's game was played in front of a sell-out crowd of 36,962 at PNC Park.

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