Coming off of the one hit shutout loss yesterday, the Bucs looked to finally wake up the bats tonight in the second game of the series against the Giants. Former Cy Young award winner Barry Zito took the mound for the San Francisco and Charlie Morton made his first start of the year for the Pirates.
The first inning started out bleak, with Zito retiring Alex Presley and Jose Tabata for two outs. Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee then followed with back to back singles, and Rod Barajas followed with a walk to load the bases. Neil Walker then singled into left, plating Cutch and McGehee and giving the Bucs a 2-0 lead early. With a two run lead, Morton took the mound to show off his electric stuff. He gave up a leadoff single to Angel Pagan, who then stole second. Charlie settled down and got the next three batters in order, stranding Pagan at second.
Zito had a 1-2-3 second inning, and the Giants were able to get to Morton in the bottom of the inning. Hector Sanchez singled, and Nate Schierholtz tripled to cut the lead to 2-1. Brandon Crawford followed with an infield hit that didn’t score Schierholtz, and Emmanuel Burriss followed with yet another single. The quick lead the Pirates had was now gone, and it looked like the Giants were going to take the lead. Morton, however, did an awesome job to strand two runners on base and get out of the inning, giving up only two runs. Both teams went down in order in the third, and Josh Harrison had a two out triple in the fourth. Morton made the Giants look foolish in the bottom of the fourth, getting them in order.
Pablo Sandoval had some trouble defensively in the fifth, botching a slow grounder from Jose Tabata. Alex Presley, who had singled before Tabata, showed some heads-up baserunning when he scored on the throwing error by the shortstop who was backing up Sandoval. Angel Pagan hammered a one out triple into right field in the fifth, and scored after Sandoval singled off of Morton’s leg.
Clint Barmes reached on another Sandoval error in the sixth, which brought up Yamaico Navarro, who pinch hit for Morton. Morton’s final line was 5IP, 7H, 3ER, 2K. Tony Watson came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth, and kept the game tied despite giving up a double. The last out of the inning was a beautiful play by Josh Harrison where he bare-handed a ball that hit off of Watson’s knee and deflected towards third base.
Juan Cruz pitched the bottom of the seventh, after the Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the inning. After getting two quick outs, Cruz walked Melky Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval. After working the count full to Aubrey Huff, Cruz got him to chase a nasty curveball in the dirt to get out of the jam. Jason Grilli came out to pitch the eight after the Bucs couldn’t get anything going in the top of the inning, and was throwing some serious heat. He set the Giants down in order and kept the game tied going into the ninth. Garrett Jones pinch hit with two outs in the ninth, and reached on an infield single. He then surprisingly stole second, but Alex Presley struck out to end the inning and the threat.
Chris Resop pitched the ninth inning, although many people on Twitter thought that Joel Hanrahan should have been brought in. Resop gave up two hits in a row, and then intentionally walked the bases loaded to set up the force. With a full count to Melky Cabrera, Resop was able to get a groundball to Barmes at short. He fired to Barajas at the plate, who dropped the throw, and allowed the winning run to score. Barmes was charged with the error on the play. Although it was a low throw, Barajas should have been able to catch it and get the double play at first. There really isn’t a worse way to lose.
Before the game, we asked for predictions on how many hits and runs the Pirates would have today. @mark_quis nailed it.
@section134blog 7 and 3—
Mark Gallagher (@mark_quis) April 15, 2012
– Tonight was the 21st anniversary of Bob Walk’s lone career home run. The guys on the broadcast enjoyed making fun of John Wehner for only hitting four in his career, deeming it “Rock 4.”
– The Pirates’ baserunning was very aggressive tonight, with Jones and Tabata both stealing bases, and Presley taking two extra bases on errors.
– Charlie Morton looked very good in his first start back, although he was taken out early. The bullpen did a very nice job relieving Morton, with Watson, Cruz, and Grilli all pitching scoreless innings.
– There were a few spectacular plays made by both teams, but both defenses also combined for five errors.
Star of the Game: Nate Schierholtz. No one is especially deserving of being the star, but Schierholtz did have a good game and was a key part of the Giants win. He went 2-4 with a double, triple, RBI, and a run scored.
Goat of the Game: Rod Barajas. Not only did he do nothing at the plate (0-3 with a walk), but he also dropped the potential double play ball from Barmes that lost the game.
Pirates (2-6) – Giants (4-4)
Win: Javier Lopez (1-0)
Loss: Resop (0-1)