Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pirates Grind Out 6-4 Win Over Padres Behind Kuhl, Polanco

Well, instead of the first pitch we got to see the ground crew roll out the tarp at 7:05. But the shower passed through quickly, and the game only lost 35 minutes.

Chad Kuhl gave up a leadoff single and two pitches later got a 6-4-3 DP. Good thing as he walked the next guy. An Alex Dickerson liner toward Cutch should have ended it, but Andrew misread, then misplayed the ball. It went off his glove for what was ruled a double and plated a run.That was followed by another free pass and single to add another tally. Cutch hurt Chad, but not as much as Chad is hurting himself. He's got to live at the bottom of the strike zone and isn't. Luis Perdomo got two soft rollers and a Cutch K.

Chad overcame a rough start to finish strong (photo Pirates promo/Getty)

Chad was Kuhl beans in the second with a pair of grounders and a whiff. Freeser singled with one away.  JJ bounced into a force, but the Bucs challenged and won as the neighborhood play no longer flies. Fran got plunked to juice the sacks, and S-Rod's grounder brought home a run before Kuhl K'ed. SD stranded a single in the third; ditto for the Pirates, who helped ol' Luis with some free swingin'. It was 1-2-3 for the Friars in the fourth. Freeser led off with an eight-pitch knock and JJ walked. Fran's DP put a hurt on the rally, but didn't kill it as S-Rod's rap tied the game.

Travis Jankowski came back from 0-2 to work a nine pitch walk with one gone in the fifth, but Chad got Wil Myers to bounce into his second twin killing. J-Hay started with an infield knock, but was negated trying to swipe second for a sec. Even with a slip running, it was a bang-bang call and Josh looked liked he may have chicken-winged his way under the tag. The Bucs challenged and won again. Cutch walked with an out, and joined Josh on a jog home ahead of Gregory's 434' bomb off an 0-2 meatball. Freeser singled and JJ legged out a dribbler, and they moved up on a wild pitch. Fran doubled off the scoreboard to chase home Freeser but somehow Jaso managed to get thrown out at home, sheesh. S-Rod was put aboard and Kuhl ended it at 6-2.

A Josh wing flap earns a stolen base (image Pirates via MLB.com)

San Diego led off the sixth with a rap, then Dickerson drew an eight pitch walk. A pop and DP put the Padres to bed, and Chad, too. After 93 pitches, he gave up two runs on five hits with four walks and whiffs. Clayton Richard came in and walked Starling with an out. Marte went to second on a wayward pickoff try, then Cutch walked. A grounder moved them up a notch, but there they stayed. Felipe Rivero took the ball, w/Freeser going to first (JJ was shaken up on the play at home) and JHK to third. A walk is all the Padres got in the seventh. Leonel Campos took his turn and twirled a quiet frame.

Antonio Bastardo toed the rubber in the eighth, and his first pitch was deposited in the stands by Myers, complete with trademark bat flip. AB worked the remainder of the frame quietly. Matt Joyce walked to kick off the frame and Josh followed with a swinging bunt single. An out later, Andrew walked for the third time, fighting nine pitches to earn his base. Richard worked out of it. Tony Watson got his first crack at the three-run lead save. It didn't start well as he gave up a leadoff homer to Jabari Blash on an 0-2 pitch; lotta that going on tonight. An out later, he plunked a batter to bring the tying run to the plate.But before any more drama, he got another DP ball from SD to nail the coffin shut 6-4.

Freeser had three hits against the Padres (photo via Fox Sports)

Kuhl earned another shot; if Cutch makes a catch, he would have put up zeroes. The four walks and the early elevated balls indicate he's still a work in progress, but the final five frames showed he can put people away, so we'll see. The bullpen getting lit up for homers isn't heartening either. But the guys did beat up a bad pitcher, and if they can do that two more times, the Bucs could have a very nice series.

  • Freeser had three hits tonight while Josh added a pair at the top spot in the order.
  • Gregory celebrated his first MLB start at cleanup by taking over the team lead in homers with 16. 
  • The pitch before Cutch's eight-inning free pass was a foul ball that entirely cleared PNC Park, the first drive to do so in the history of the yard per the Buc broadcast crew. Cutch went 1-for-3 with three walks tonight.
  • The Bucs turned four DPs. Two were traditional 6-4-3's and two more around the horn. 
  • Pittsburgh is 5-0 in games that Chad Kuhl has started.
  • The Pirates drew 30, 269 fans; there was no official count of pups in attendance.
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