Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Pirates Come Up Short In 6-5, 10 Inning Loss

Jameson Taillon retired the first two Mets he faced before Yoenis Cespedes singled on a weak roller to third. The Kid tapped back to the mound, and JT's first frame was in the books: 14 pitches, 12 fastballs, all 96-97. Noah Syndergaard let the JJ reach on a boot by Walker, and Cutch battled his way aboard by drawing a nine pitch walk. Gregory turned on an inside half 99 MPH heater and lined it to right for an RBI two bagger; JHK followed with a knock to right to make it 2-0 while chasing El Coffee to third. Then Thor the dominator showed up, getting a K, pop, and K to leave the remaining ducks on the pond.

The Mets opened the second with a rap to center; James Loney was then erased as the Bucs missed turning a DP by a heartbeat. That was followed by another single; JT is staying up in the zone. But no sweat; he got a curve rolled back to him to end the inning on a 1-4-3 DP note. After a pair of whiffs, JJ singled off an 0-2 heater before Cutch's bouncer closed out the inning. JT recorded his first K in the third, getting Alejandro De Aza swinging at a change. A two out walk on a full count hook that just missed didn't hurt. Gregory is playing Loki to Thor, leading off with another double, then stealing third. An out later, he was wasted when he was nailed at home on a contact play 5-2. Josh stole second before Fran walked. Then Josh stole third, but it didn't pay off; Matt Joyce's liner was gloved by Loney.

JT got his feet wet tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Kid walked to start the fourth, showing a good eye on a couple of just-off-the-black deliveries. Next came a 4-6-3 DP. Good thing as Asdrubal Cabrera punched a two strike curve that was way off the plate the opposite way for a double. JT was squeezed a bit and fell behind Ty Kelly 3-1, fed him a heater down the middle and watched it fly over the RC wall (Kelly's first MLB long ball; Jameson's, too) to tie the game. S-Rod led off the Bucco half with a double and was bunted up. This time the Bucs cashed in when JJ drilled a slider to The Notch for another double. Cutch hit one on the nose, too, but it was an at 'em ball to Michael Conforto in left, and he got out of it when Gregory flew out.

Syndergaard opened the fifth with a double off the Clemente Wall, was bunted up and trotted home after a sac fly as the Metropolitans went small ball; maybe the Bucs could look into that concept. Josh doubled with an out and a tapper moved him up a station. A Joyce liner ended the frame; Thor has rubbing his horseshoe. Taillon tossed a clean sixth, but is due up and is at 91 pitches, so his last frame was his most efficient. He went six IP giving up three runs on six hits with two walks and three whiffs. The Bucs went down quietly.

The Pirates are short in the pen; Curtis Partch was sent down while The Shark and Neftali Feliz are off after pitching twice yesterday. AJ Schugel came on in the seventh, and fanned a pair in a quiet frame. Jim Henderson replaced Syndergaard, who was at 102 pitches. Cutch worked him for an eight pitch walk. Gregory pounded a 3-2 slider off the Clemente Wall; Cutch came in easily after Walker bobbled the relay, also allowing El Coffee to get to third. He plated on Josh's *yay* sac fly. Fran added a knock before the smoke cleared. And there was some smoke - Matt Joyce was ejected for beefing over a third strike call. Freeser cam in to play 1B, Jordy manned SS, S-Rod moved to LF and Gregory back to RF.

JJ had a pair of knocks against Thor (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

AJ walked the first hitter, and that was it; Jared Hughes took the ball in the eighth. Two pitches later, it was tied when Conforto went yard. Hughes threw behind Cespedes to run the count full, and the benches were warned though we're not exactly sure why; it was after a homer, but in a tie game? Whatever; Yoenis singled and The Kid walked; both moved up on a wild pitch. A grounder froze them, and an intention walk *gulp* loaded 'em up. Against all odds, Jared kept them there. Hughes had his hand looked at during the action; the Bucs announced he had "pinky discomfort." Sheesh. Addison Reed worked a clean frame.

Cory Luebke, the last man standing, took the cowhide in the tenth. Back-to-back singles, a bunt and intentional walk juiced the sacks. A Wilmer Flores blooper to center plated a run before the gates were shut. Jeurys Familia looked to close it out. Fran fell behind 0-2, but worked an eight pitch walk to lead off, and Jordy followed with a four pitch free pass. S-Rod helped him out of the jam, bouncing into a 6-4-3 DP. Interestingly, Stew, the last bench player, came on to hit for Luebke and no one is left in the Pirate pen. Interesting. And surprise - he walked. But Freeser looked at a third strike, and it was in the books.

A broken record to be sure, but 3-for-16 w/RISP and a short bullpen that imploded cost the Bucs a game that they should have taken. A couple of uncommon factors were in play - a doubleheader followed by an extra inning game and Frankie's recent mound meltdown bringing on JT's spot start, leaving them no choice but to send a reliever down - but this was a tough one. Taking the series from the Mets was sweet, but a sweep was within reach.

Plate ump Alan Porter squeezed Taillon like a stress ball (welcome to the league, kid), but Jameson didn't help himself either, staying up in the zone too often and spraying his fastball some. His command may have been a case of the butterflies compounded by Porter, and he did show a very nice curve. One pitch to Kelly ruined an otherwise pretty solid performance, but it should prove invaluable to his learning process.

 Off to the wacky makeup in Colorado, then back home to face the Cardinals. And a day of rest is on the horizon; the Bucs are off on the 13th after a brutal stretch of games.

  • Gregory had three hits tonight, all doubles, and JJ added a pair with a two bagger of his own.
  • The Mets started seven lefties against Jameson Taillon tonight, even though he had a reverse split at Indy: lefties hit .148 against him, righties .224. They went 5-for-19 (.263) off him.
  • Syndergaard hadn't surrendered three or more runs since May 1st, and the Buccos five extra-base hits are the most he's yielded in his short career.
  • The crowd tonight was 28,084 for JT's debut.
  • The Pirates win streak against Gotham ended at nine straight. The Mets have suffered a 10-game losing streak to another opponent just once in the past 30 years, the Marlins in 2004.
  • Jeff Locke is in Colorado; he went a day early to rest and acclimate. Gerrit Cole will stay in Pittsburgh to save wear and tear as he opens the Card series Friday; maybe you'll get to see him at Consol  Center tomorrow night.
  • For all the moaning (OK, my moaning - mea culpa) about runners not being moved along and in by the Bucs, Elias Sports Bureau posted "The Pirates lead MLB with 117 productive outs this season..." Nevertheless, still cranky about stranding runners at third with no outs.

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