Game Recap: Pirates @ Braves 4/27/12

The Pirates started off a four game series with the Braves tonight in Atlanta. A.J. Burnett, fresh off his stellar Pirates debut, got the nod for the Bucs while tough right-hander Tommy Hanson started for the Braves.

Alex Presley started off the game with a solid battle against Hanson, forcing him to throw 11 pitches before striking out the speedy leadoff man. The Bucs went silently in the first, bringing the Braves to the plate. Michael Bourn led off with a single, but Burnett quickly rebounded and struck out the next three batters (Martin Prado, Freddie Freeman, and Brian McCann) to end the inning.

Casey McGehee led off the top of the 3rd with a bloop single. Burnett came up two batters later and (dangerously) laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving McGehee to second. Presley lined one sharply to second but Uggla misplayed it. It was ruled a base hit, extending Presley’s hit streak to 11 games. With runners on the corners, Barmes popped up into foul territory.

Burnett surrendered a leadoff walk to Tyler Pastornicky, which came back to hurt him. Hanson laid down a sac bunt and then Bourn grounded out to the right side, getting Pastornicky to third. With two outs, Prado hit an RBI single, making it 1-0.

The Pirates responded in the top of the 4th when Andrew McCutchen singled to center, stole second, and came into score on an RBI single by Garrett Jones. With Neil Walker batting, Hanson threw a ball in dirt and Jones took off for second. It looked like he was out but was actually called safe. Walker’s ground out to second moved Jones to third. Pedro Alvarez and McGehee had back-to-back walks to load the bases. Despite two straight walks, Rod Barajas swung at the first pitch and grounded into and inning ending double play.

Burnett got two quick outs to start the bottom of the 4th and began Jason Heyward‘s at-bat with an 0-2 count. However, he lost Heyward to a walk. Barajas was incapable of throwing out Heyward on the stolen base attempt and he moved into scoring position. Instead of intentionally walking Pastornicky to face Hanson, they decided to pitch to the Braves rookie shortstop. Pastornicky ripped an RBI single, making it 2-1 Atlanta.

Burnett appeared to be in trouble in the top of the 5th when Bourn (single) and Prado (walk) quickly got on board. Freeman lined one to right but Jones made a nice tumbling catch to save a run. McCann hit a slow roller to second, and Walker settled for the out at first. With runners at second and third, Burnett got Uggla to strike out on a full count.

Tony Watson came in the bottom of the 7th and loaded the bases. Evan Meek came in and surrendered a single to Uggla, scoring two and making it 4-1. Chipper Jones then broke the game open with a base hit, making it 6-1.

Other highlights:
– The leadoff walk that Burnett surrendered to Pastornicky came back to bite him. Leadoff walks will almost always kill you.
– Alex Presley extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
– Pedro drew his second walk of the year.
– The Pirates are now just 12 for 22 on stolen base attempts.
– The Bucs finally gave up more than 5 runs in a game for the first time this season.
Kris Medlen pitched three innings of relief and picked up the save.
– Brian McCann was replaced by David Ross in the sixth inning. It was announced that he has a right intercostal strain and is listed as day-to-day.

Star of the Game: Dan Uggla. Uggla made a weird, but spectacular play in short center to rob McLouth of a single in the top of the 7th and then provided the knockout punch with an RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.

Goat of the Game: Rod Barajas. Barajas is once again frustrating Pirates fans as he went hitless and left four more runners on base. Barajas had a chance to put some runs on the board when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Hanson had walked to in row, but Rod jumped at the first pitch, hitting a weak grounder to third which Chipper turned into an easy DP. The Pirates offense lacks production and that’s a moment where you need to score. Unfortunately, Barajas was unable to produce and killed the rally.

Pirates (8-11) – Braves (13-7)

Win: Hanson (3-2)
Loss: Burnett (1-1)
Save: Medlen (1)

BOX SCORE

Go Bucs

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