Sunday, June 19, 2016

Power Surge: Five Chitown Homers Spark 10-5 Sweep

Kyle Hendricks made the Bucs look sickly, serving up a tapper and two whiffs. Jameson Taillon lost the first Cubbie on four pitches and a ground ball single put Chi-towners at the corners. JT got a K before Anthony Rizzo blooped a single to center. Two things will kill ya in MLB - leadoff walks and 33 pitch innings, and Jameson hit the daily double in the first.

Starling led off the second with a single and swiped second. Josh legged out an infield hit that was nicely played to save a run by Addison Russell, and Marte stayed at second. No diff; Jordy and Jake whiffed. So far, the Pirates have treated Hendrick's go-to change up as a foreign object; and K'ed five times. The second went not so well; Javy Baez knocked a heater over the fence to run the score to 2-0 and the pitch count to 51.

Josh had a pair of hits tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Gregory singled with two gone in the third and stole second; Cutch became the seventh fan job. Bryant was sitting on a 3-0 heater and got it; his blast made it 3-0. Two pitches later, Rizzo followed suit. The Cubs added a pair of singles and a balk to the total before Taillon ended the frame on his 73rd pitch - and that last out was a runner cut down at home by Gregory. The Bucs got one back on a Josh 410' bomb to center in the fourth. JT worked an 11 pitch, 1-2-3 frame, closing out his night on a high note. Gregory doubled with two away in the fifth before Cutch K'ed for the third time. AJ Schugel tossed a quiet frame.

With one away in the sixth, JHK singled and a two out boot put Bucs on the corners. Stallings put up a nine pitch fight before becoming K #12. Chicago got a two out infield hit, and Wilson Contreras pinch hit for Hendricks. The first pitch was a hung changeup; it was launched into the night to become the Cubs' fourth home run of the night.

JHK also collected a pair of hits (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Clayton Richard came in for the seventh. With an out, Matt Joyce singled and Gregory walked; in came Adam Warren. Cutch bounced out softly, but Starling picked him up by rattling a two-run triple into the LF corner. JHK followed with an infield knock, and it was a game at 6-4. Curtis Partch got the call, and gave up a quick single and walk. Rizzo slapped a an 0-2 slider the opposite way to bring home a run, and in came Jorge Rondon. He got a grounder; Josh went home but late, and at 8-4, the fat lady was spritzing. Jorge did get a DP ball before Addison Russell homered. He has six long balls and three are against Pittsburgh. It finally ended at 10-4.

The eighth went quietly. Pittsburgh added a run on Freeser's double, a ground out and infield squibbler by Cutch. Starling singled, and Pedro Strop came in to put out the embers.

Guess what - Gregory had two raps too (photo Greg Edmonds/Getty)

Can't pitch, can't win. After playing the best team in the NL, the Bucs go home for a four game set with the second best club, San Francisco. As for JT, he just didn't have very good fastball command. Like his first game, there were too many heaters up in the zone. And while it's true that he and Jacob Stalling know each other, unfortunately neither of them have any kind of book on MLB hitters as do Stew and Fran, something a pre-game meeting can't really replicate. So for both, the learning cycle begins.

  • Welcome back, Starling - he had three hits tonight.  Gregory, JHK and Josh added a pair of hits as the Bucs collected 13 knocks.
  • This is the first time Jameson Taillon has allowed three homers in his professional career. 
  • Since sweeping the Mets by 3-1 scores on June 7th, the Pirates have held their opponents to under five runs just twice in 11 games. They're 1-10 in that span. The tailspin has seen them lose 17 of the last 22 games.
  • Anthony Rizzo is batting .272 v the league this season. Against Pittsburgh, he has a .471 BA with seven doubles, four homers, 12 runs and 12 RBI in nine games.
  • This was also the first time in Kyle Hendricks' MLB career that he's posted double digit strikeouts. He had an even dozen in six innings.
  • Wilson Contreras homer was on the first pitch he saw in MLB. The 24 year old catcher was the Cubs top prospect before getting called up yesterday.
  • Steven Brault has been sent to Morgantown for his rehab assignment. The lefty was lookin' good at Indy before suffering an early May hammy injury.

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