The cardiac kids got another run late in the ball game and the bullpen made it stick.
It started when Always Smooth Clint Barmes and Andrew McCutchen got back-to-back singles sending Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson to the showers. Hometown Neil Walker dropped in a bloop two-out, RBI single in the eighth inning which turned out to be the game winner in another one-run battle. The 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks puts a nice end to a road trip that started 0-5.
The King of the Scrapheap Chris Resop and our favorite new bullpen addition, Juan Cruz, who has about ten nicknames now on Twitter, combined to make the one run lead stand. The Bucs have won three of their last four games heading into a weekend series with St. Louis.
With Joel Hanrahan on the shelf with a tight hammy, Juan Cruz worked the ninth inning for his second save getting as high as 94 mph on the gun.
James McDonald was lifted for PH Nate McLouth in the fifth inning after throwing just 78 pitches. The right hander gave up one run and three hits. The first inning was excrutiating again with 34 pitches thrown by McDonald.
Hurdle talked in the postgame about not having a run and knowing that he thought he could get one more inning from JMac. But he said it’s difficult for a manager to walk out to the mound after not hitting for his pitcher the inning prior. The Bucs had runners on the corners and two outs–so it wasn’t that difficult of a decision–except his choice of hitters. McLouth flew out.
Brad Lincoln, who flew in from Indianapolis this morning, picked up the slack for a tired Pirates bullpen. Aaron Hill of the Snakes led off the sixth with a triple, but he was stranded when Lincoln battled to get Kubel on a big strike out. Ryan Roberts hit into a crucial double play on a nice turn by Barmes who jumped to avoid contact and made a strong throw to get Roberts at first.
Another nice sign for Pedro Alvarez came in the game. El Toro came to the plate with, again, two outs in the seventh inning. He blasted a solo homer on a 2-0 Hudson sinker that tied the game at one. He also walked which is something he did well early in his career, but has been non-existent while mired in his slump. One homer every 13 at-bats? Heh, we will take it.