Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Beanball War Breaks Out Again In Arizona; Bullpen Throws BP As Snakes Overcome Five Run Deficit In 9-5 Win

Starling stroked a two-out two-bagger off Patrick Corbin and came home when Freeser's hot shot to first went off Goldy's glove (he was charged with an error; tough ruling by the scorer). Joe Musgrove spun a clean frame. Eli opened with a knock in the second on a ball that barely eluded CF'er Peralta, but the bottom of the order didn't make a peep. The Snakes started with consecutive singles, but J-Grove worked out of it. Pittsburgh was quiet in the third as was Arizona; Musgrove has tossed just 26 pitches so far. No Pirates noise in the fourth; the D-Backs got a bopped batter for their efforts. J-Bell led off the fifth with a walk and was doubled to third by Jordy. After J-Grove K'ed, J-Hay was walked intentionally. AM went the oppo way to double home a pair and Starling followed with a two-run knock off the second baseman's mitt before Freeser grounded into a 6-4-3 DP. Corbin singled with two away; the rest of the Rattlers went down swinging.

Joe went six strong but the wheels came off in the seventh (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Corey D smoked an out, then Eli cracked a single to left. Bell drew another walk, bringing in Braden Shipley. Jordy smacked what looked like extra bases off the bat; Chris Owings in center made a great running grab and then doubled off J-Bell, who lost a call retreating to first (looked like the 1B was off the bag, but no challenge). Lotta well-hit balls for naught in the sixth. Goldy kicked of the D-Back half with a knock and a tapper moved him up. Another plunked batter set up shop for the Snakes, but Joe shut the door. With an out in the seventh, J-Hay predictably got plunked high on the back and AM had to duck some high heat before flying out in an otherwise quiet frame. Chris Owings, hitting .193, got dinged in the rump - god, another beanball war with Arizona? - and moved up after a wild pitch. He came home on a single but oddly, Tory Lovullo let Shipley bat - and it paid off; Freeser threw away his soft grounder, with all the time in the world and a pitcher running.

That brought Edgar Santana in, and another knock made it 5-2 with red-hot Goldy at the dish. Santana left him a couple of fat sliders, but still got a big K. He didn't get that lucky against Jake Lamb; he drilled a game-tying homer off a center-cut 2-0 heater before the bloodshed ended. Archie Bradley got the eighth inning call and Freeser greeted him with a rap. Two outs later, J-Bell walked and Jordy singled off the pitcher to fill the sacks. Red Beard grabbed a stick and flew out. Kyle Crick grabbed the ball and S-Rod came in for J-Hay, so we assume his back tightened up. Arizona opened with a knock and a walk followed by a steal of third (it was bang-bang, reviewed and passed muster) put Crick in immediate hot water. A wild pitch gave the Diamondbacks the lead and a balk moved the back runner to third. Dovy Neverauskas was waved in and walked his first foe, followed by a triple, and it was 9-5 in favor of the bad guys. With a big pad, Brad Boxberger beaned S-Rod to kick off the ninth. The Bucs responded with an AM 4-6-3 DP and Starling whiff.

J-Hay was hors d' combat during the beanball battle (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The Pirate decision to stock the bullpen with puppies looked wise at first blush, but has come back to bite them now - their ERA is over six in the past three weeks and the team's tailspin pretty well corresponds to the relievers inability to finish out a game. That's especially troublesome on a team whose philosophy is to win the six-inning game and have the pen take it home. And we don't know why the desert brings out the beanballs; retaliation played a part in the comeback, although not as much as a brutal error and even more brutal bullpen work.

Notes:
  • Starling, Eli and Jordy each had a pair of hits.
  • Josh Harrison left the game with left shoulder blade discomfort.
  • J-Bell had walked six times in his last two games; sure looks like he's using his time down in the order to sharpen his eye.
  • The Bucs moved Jung-Ho Kang pretty aggressively by skipping Altoona, and it showed in his AAA debut as he went 0-for-4 with three whiffs for Indy tonight. They played him at third base.
  • Enny Romero will make a rehab start for Bradenton tomorrow per @JohnDreker of Pirates Prospects.
  • The Bucs announced that they signed seven players from the draft; none were from the first three rounds.
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