Game Recap: Pirates @ Diamondbacks 4/18/12

The Pirates concluded their west coast swing today with a 3:40 rubber match at Chase Field against the DBacks.  With a win, the Pirates would win their second series of the year, both being against 2011 playoff teams.  James McDonald made his third start of the year for the Bucs, and Daniel Hudson started for Arizona.

Alex Presley started the game off perfectly, walking and stealing second.  Clint Barmes advanced him to third on a groundout, and then Andrew McCutchen walked to put runners on the corners.  The Bucs looked like they were in a great position to put up some early runs, but Neil Walker grounded into a double play that ended the inning.  Cutch was stealing second on the pitch, and Willie Bloomquist was able to start the DP when he took off to cover second on the steal.  J-Mac got off to a rocky start, giving up a leadoff triple to Bloomquist followed by an RBI single to Aaron Hill.  McDonald gave up another hit and walk, but got through the first inning after 32 pitches.  Michael McKenry singled to start the third, and McDonald followed him.  He squared to bunt on the first pitch, and took strike one.  On the second pitch from Hudson, he pulled his bat back, and slapped a double play ball to Hill.  Not really sure where that call came from, considering that the pitcher is the one guy that should always bunt with a runner on.  What could have been a productive inning turned into a quick 1-2-3.

Both pitchers pitched scoreless innings in the third and fourth.  With Casey McGehee and Michael McKenry on the corners, Nate McLouth pinch hit for McDonald with two down.  J-Mac’s day was done after just four innings and 78 pitches.  Nate lined out to right field, and Brad Lincoln came in for some long relief.  Lincoln pitched a 1-2-3 fifth, and gave up a leadoff triple to Hill in the sixth.  Lincoln struck out the next batter, then intentionally walked Miguel Montero to set up the double play.  Sure enough, he got Ryan Roberts to ground into the 5-4-3, stranding the leadoff triple.  Pedro Alvarez came up with two outs in the seventh, and crushed a line drive homer into the right field bullpen to tie the game.  Lincoln kept the game tied through seven, and was pinch hit for by Josh Harrison to lead off the eighth.  After two quick outs, Clint Barmes lined to center, and Cutch followed with yet another two out hit.  With runners on first and second, Neil Walker hit a bloop single into right to score Barmes and give the Bucs the 2-1 lead.

Chris Resop got the first out in the bottom of the inning, but gave up a single and was replaced by Tony Watson.  T-Wats immediately got a 4-6-3 double play, keeping the one run lead into the ninth.  Juan Cruz came out to get the save for the second straight day with Joel Hanrahan out, and got three straight outs after giving up a leadoff single to secure the win for the Bucs.

Other highlights:
– Today’s win made the Pirates 3-6 on the road trip, with all of the wins coming in the last four games.
– Pedro’s home run was just his second hit of the year, both of which are homers.
– The bullpen was once again great, pitching five scoreless innings to pick up James McDonald.
– Alex Presley stole his second base of the year.
– It was an overall great win for the Bucs, their second in a row.  McDonald struggled to start, but the bullpen picked him up and the offense was good enough to pick up the W.

Star of the Game: Brad Lincoln. Reeeeeaaaally hard to pick between Lincoln and Alvarez, but Lincoln’s three shutout innings were the most important part of the game, and he picked up the win.
Goat of the Game: Jason Kubel and Ryan Roberts in the sixth inning. Both were up with less than two outs after Hill had the leadoff triple, and couldn’t get the run in.  If they could have driven him in, this would have been a completely different game.

Pirates (5-7) – Diamondbacks (7-5)

Win: Lincoln (1-0)
Loss: Hudson (1-1)
Save: Cruz (2)

BOX SCORE

Go Bucs

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