Game Recap: Pirates vs. Phillies 4/7/12

It was another beautiful night for baseball in the Steel City. We got to the park early so we could take advantage of our season ticket holder early access to watch the Pirates take BP:

James McDonald getting some work in, preparing for tomorrow’s start:

We ended up snagging a ball off the bat of John Mayberry Jr. when he hit one that bounced up over the wall during the Phillies portion of BP:

Here’s Mayberry out in LF during the game:

Eventually, tonight’s starter Jeff Karstens came out to warm up:

And the Parrot took some BP as well:

The bleachers were packed once again with a mix of Pirates and Phillies fans:

Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco led off the game with a single each, and Jimmy Rollins followed with a sac bunt.  Hunter Pence came up and hit a ball up the middle, but Neil Walker was able to stop it from going into center field, and only one run scored.  Jeff Karstens did a nice job to strand Pence at first and Polanco at third, and get out of the first giving up only one run.

Karstens came up to bat against Cliff Lee in the bottom of the third, and had a very good at-bat.  He worked the count full, and fouled off a few pitches.  Lee eventually struck out Karstens, but his at-bat had been the best one the Pirates had up to that point.

Karstens pitched himself out of a big jam in the top of the fourth, stranding runners on the corners.

Yamaico Navarro made his Bucco debut, pinch hitting for Karstens in the bottom of the sixth, and got hit by a pitch.  Navarro got to third, and scored the first Pirates run of the season on a wild pitch.

Josh Harrison came in to play third base on a double switch that moved Casey McGehee to first base to replace Matt Hague.  In Harrison’s first at-bat, he doubled into the left field corner.  Jose Tabata came up with two outs, but lined out to right field and stranded J-Hay at second base.

With the game tied in the top of the ninth, Joel Hanrahan made a rare non save situation appearance.  Hanrahan walked two batters, but struckout Jim Thome and Freddy Galvis to keep the game tied. Video of Hanrahan taking the mound:

Rod Barajas led off the bottom of the tenth inning with a double off the bullpen wall, which missed being a walk-off home run by about one inch.  Michael McKenry pinch ran for Barajas, and Clint Barmes followed with a sac bunt.  Josh Harrison followed, and got hit by a pitch.  With runners on the corners, Jose Tabata came up.  He popped up to the second baseman for the second out.  Alex Presley came up, and worked the count to 2-2.  Presley hit a soft ground ball in between Polanco and Rollins, and it was back handed by Rollins.  Presley JUST beat the throw to first, and the ump called him safe.  The crowd erupted, and the Bucs had walked off with their first win of the season. Video of the walk-off:

We caught some of the fireworks show on the way back to the T station:

Other highlights:
– Tonight was the second straight sellout, with an attendance of 38,885.
– The offense once again struggled to get anything going, and could only scrape out one run through nine innings.
– The Bucs’ pitching was once again very effective, with Karstens going six innings, and Tony Watson, Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan, and Juan Cruz each pitching scoreless innings.
Andrew McCutchen stole his first base of the year.  He got a great jump, and swiped second base easily.
– Matt Hague was finally freed, and made his major league debut.  He started at first base, where he played well defensively.  He went 0-3 at the plate, hitting the ball hard a few times. Video of his first at-bat in the big leagues:

– We both won $2 off at Eat ‘n Park on our Scratch ‘n Win cards.
– There was a guy wearing an orange cat suit with a Placido Polanco jersey sitting in section 133. Pretty bizarre.

Today’s Baseball Quiz:

Q: What was the largest home opener crowd in Three Rivers Stadium history?
A: 54,339

Some fan quotes we heard in the bleachers today:

  • “Hey Mayberry, this guy wants to scissor you!”
  • “Wow, Walker’s batting .000. He sucks.”
  • “WE GOT THE FASTEST OUTFIELD IN THE LEAGUE!”
  • “Barajas doesn’t have a hit yet this season? He’s due!”

Star of the Game: Alex Presley. Have to give Presley the honors since he had two hits and got the walk-off winner, although Karstens is a close runner-up. The bullpen also performed well.
Goat of the Game: Joe Blanton. Not really any way to blame for the Phillies loss but Blanton gave up the leadoff double to Barajas which set the stage for the walk-off. He also got credited with the loss.

It was an awesome, but cold night at PNC Park.  There were a lot more Phillies fans tonight than there were on Opening Day, but their “Let’s Go Phillies” chants were quickly shut down by “Let’s Go Bucs.”  It wasn’t an easy win, but it was nice to get the first one of the season.  We won’t be back to PNC until Friday the 20th when the Bucs square off against the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Pirates (1-1) – Phillies (1-1)

Win: Juan Cruz (1-0 )
Loss: Joe Blanton (0-1)

BOX SCORE 

Go Bucs

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