Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Niese Leads Bucs To First Game Win Over His Old Running Mates 3-1

Good first for Jon Niese; three grounders. The Bucs got off to a hot start when Josh tripled off Steven Matz and came home on a Freeser knock; the Bucs added another single, but couldn't cash in, thanks largely to a pair of K. Jon's second frame was strong too (thx to a Cutch grab on the run), with just a two out single for NY, which was one more knock than the Bucs had. Another easy frame for Niese in the third; the Pirates blew another chance when Josh and Cutch singled back-to-back but were followed by a K and DP.

The fourth got testy. The Kid blooped and Wilmer Flores grounded singles with two gone, followed by a walk. After a visit from Uncle Ray, Jon struck out Michael Conforto. Fran walked with an out and got to second on a wild pitch with two away, then Jordy got four wide ones. Good move; Niese fanned, leaving the Bucs 1-for-8 w/RISP after four frames.

Josh banged out three hits in the lidlifter (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

With an out in the fifth, Matz slapped a high and away heater into the RF corner (Steven is a .258 career batter) and didn't stop until he reached third; Polanco's retrieval and relay were nonchalant at best. No prob; Jon worked out of it. Josh opened with a knock and drew several tosses before swiping second; that paid off when Cutch knocked him home on a 3-0, green light pitch. An out later, JHK's rap to right sent Andrew to third. Starling whiffed on three pitches and Fran flied out; too bad they couldn't switch at bats.

Niese cruised through the heart of the order on just eight pitches in the sixth. Antonio Bastardo took over (Matz was at 101 tosses). With one out, Jordy went boom on a belt high heater, sending it 408' into the bullpen. Jon then walked, but Bastardo settled in to get the last two outs. The Mets got a one out walk in the seventh, cleaned  quickly by an around the horn DP. Logan Verrett claimed the bump and was greeted with a Freeser two bagger. Jung Ho wouldn't chase during a work around and was walked on four pitches. Matt Joyce hit for Marte (Starling reported "left ankle discomfort") and fanned. Fran's fly moved up David, but he died at third after a Gregory pop.

Jordy's blast gave the Bucs some much needed breathing room (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Jon's excellent day was done at 91 pitches and Neftali Feliz came on in the eighth. Curtis Granderson drilled an 0-2 fastball over the wall in RC to make it 3-1. An out later, Yoenis Cespedes walked on four pitches, and a tapper got him to second, but he went no further. The Bucs went down 1-2-3, cuing The Shark for the ninth. After a couple of quick, routine outs, he fanned Alejando De Aza after eight pitches to seal the deal.

Couldn't have asked more form Jon Niese. He went seven IP, giving up no runs on four hits with two walks and two K. The batters again made it hard, going 2-for-14 w/RISP, but it was enough for Jon to claim bragging rights over his old club. Grab a sandwich; game two is just around the bend.

  • The top four hitters - Josh, Cutch, Freeser & JHK - went 9-for-16. The rest of the club went 1-for-17, although that one hit, Jordy's bomb, was a biggie.
  • Jordy's homer was his first at PNC since August 31st, 2014 against Johnny Cueto of the Reds.
  • Funny game. The Pittsburgh Kid was given a standing O by the fans when he came to bat; a group of Met rooters, following the club here, booed Jon Niese from the seats behind the first base dugout. 

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