The Pirates had a rookie starting pitcher get a win for the second night in a row as the Bucs used some timely hits to take down the wounded Phillies. An RBI single from Jose Tabata and an RBI double by Pedro Alvarez that was blasted into the North Side Notch were the big hits in the first game of a four game series at PNC Park.
Pirates starter Daniel McCutchen found his changeup which was especially effective in striking out the side in the second inning. Those strikeouts seemed to inspire the Pirates bats when they came to the plate in the second. Lastings Milledge ripped a single and Bobby Crosby, who now hits like he is Batman, crushed a Cole Hamels offering into left field to drive in Milledge.
I really enjoyed Tabata making Hamels work to lead off the third inning. He got the walk after fouling off numerous pitches. Then Alvarez drilled the first pitch into the Notch for his third double of the season. So the Bucs were set up with Pedro on second and nobody out. McCutchen was textbook. He hit behind Pedro and was safe on a misplay by second baseman Valdez, the typical good glove man.
It was a good time to put some cushion up. It didn’t happen. That’s the frustration. I think I am a Piratesaholic.
A Garrett Jones dribbler to the mound moved McCutchen to second, Pedro to third. But a Milledge dribbler to the mound caught Alvarez in a run down for the second out.
If you watch the replay you will see McCutchen is yelling at Alvarez before Tony Beasley seems to understand what the hell is going on. Pedro was running back to third, obviously dead to rights as Cutch stood on the bag and Beasley realized he needed to divert disaster. I love McCutchen, but he shouldn’t have to be coaching from the field. But damn, I am glad he did. Ryan Doumit flew out to right field to kill what should have been a big inning for the Pirates. The Dirtbags were pissed.
The scary thing was the Phillies looked like shit. The Bucs had nearly scored enough for the win. One more would do it. The bullpen made sure of it.
Evan Meek rolled through the Phillies order in the seventh. For the first time this year, Meek had a bat in his hand. To RumBunter’s delight, Meek laid down a perfect bunt to move Ronny Cedeno to second.
Then Meek went back out to the bump to retire the heart of the Phillies lineup in the eighth. He quickly got Dobbs on a grounder to Jones. Jimmy Rollins came to the plate 1-for-his last 16. Meek was forced to wiggle out of a jam after Andrew McCutchen misplayed Rollins soft bloop liner. Cutch was playing near the warning track and came charging in, he dove, and the ball landed two feet in front of his glove. He appeared to jam his cup and as he lay on the PNC Park outfield grass, Rollins raced for second with a double.
No worries. Ryan Howard was up. Rollins danced and did his best to mess with Meek as the count on Ryan Howard reached full. The crowd went nuts when Meek got Howard swinging. Up to the plate came an 0-for-3 Jayson Werth. The count was 2-0 when a 95 mile per hour heater fooled Werth. Strike one. A nasty strike two on a swing and miss. Phillies fans who were all over PNC Park. Most of them were holding their hats with both hands. Raul Ibanez was on deck. The count was full. The Pirates had a pow wow at the mound with Meek shaking his head a lot at Doumit. Werth stepped back in. Ball four. High.
First and second for Ibanez. He took a Meek 96mph fastball right down the middle for strike one. And then on a 1-1 count Meek threw offspeed. Flyout to left field. Crowd goes crazy. Because they know……DIC DIC DIC! DIC DIC DIC!
Octavio Dotel closed out the game by getting Shane Victorinio looking. Did you know Dotel has an awesome intro video? Sure you do.
A pretty game for the Bucs? Hell no. You take what you get and don’t bitch a fit. Think how Hamels felt? He lost his fifth in the past six decisions. He limited the Pirates to five hits. Five! He struck out eight Buccos. But Cole simply can’t stop the Youth Gone Wild. Can’t do it. Since they were born nobody could hold them down.
*The Phillies had to be drooling over themselves watching Andy LaRoche. Well, other than his awful strikeout in the second inning with runners on first and third with one out. Did I say third with one out? Yes. Surely, he would look great in a Phillies uni as a replacement for Chase Utley who according to TBOH wanted his thumb removed. God, JK can write.
*Pedro’s leg kick was very minimal when he ripped this double and knocked in Tabata.
*My favorite play was McCutchen going up and in on Werth in the fourth. He came back inside to get him looking. God, McCutchen looked as tough as I have seen him.
*Daniel McCutchen can run really fast. Did you see that bunt in the fourth?
*So Does Aki’s translater get sent to AAA with him? I bet he’s pissed. From first class plane rides to overheating buses.
*Nobody wanted Dana Eveland? Indy is turning into the land of the lost prospects. Turn one or two of them around….the Bucs got something.
*The video highlights.
Ok, enough of this garbage. I know why you’re here. HIT IT!