If tonight’s win didn’t get you excited for some Bucco summer baseball, you might not be a real fan. Taking the series against the division leader is huge, but the way these guys were able to pull out the win is incredible.
To no one’s surprise, Mike Leake had a perfect game through the third. Kevin Correia gave up a first inning double to Joey Votto, but Jose Tabata was able to gun him down at the plate when he tried to score. Jay Bruce hit a laser-beam home run in the second, giving the Reds an early 1-0 lead.
Back-to-back doubles in the fourth by Alex Presley and Neil Walker got the Bucs on the board. Andrew McCutchen singled to put runners on the corners, and Garrett Jones made it 2-1 on a sacrifice fly. Pedro Alvarez singled, but Tabata grounded into a double play to kill the rally. Ryan Ludwick, who’s had a strong series, tied the game with a solo shot in the fifth, and Correia started to break down from there. Jones drove in Presley to retake the lead, but Correia surrendered it right back on a Bruce RBI single. His start was fairly serviceable, going five innings and at least keeping the team in the game.
Jared Hughes came out in relief, and masterfully pitched his way out of Correia’s sixth inning mess. Thanks to “Dat Dude BP”, as well as some heads-up baserunning by Tabata, the Pirates took the lead back in the seventh. Jose lead off with an infield single, and Clint Barmes bunted him over to second. After getting the putout at first, Brandon Phillips ignored Tabata, who took third after almost over-sliding the base. Michael McKenry drove him in with a sacrifice fly – a textbook case of “get him on, get him over, get him in.”
Juan Cruz got the first two outs of the seventh, and Tony Watson came in to face Votto. T-Wats got him swinging, setting up the guys in the back of the bullpen with a 4-3 lead. Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless eighth, but alas, Ryan Ludwick struck again in the ninth. He launched Joel Hanrahan‘s first pitch of the inning into the second deck, knotting the game at 4. Hammer got out of the inning, recording just his second blown save of the year.
Of course, the Reds put Aroldis Chapman, who entered with an ERA of 0.00, in to pitch the tenth. The first two batters of the inning, Barmes and McKenry both entered with batting averages well under .200, and the inning looked to be a lost cause. To everyone’s surprise, Barmes stepped up and roped a book rule double to center. After trying, and failing to bunt Clint over to second, McKenry fell down in the count 0-2. He promptly took Chapman’s 98 MPH fastball into the right-center gap for another double, driving in Barmes. The Pirates took a 5-4 lead, and Chapman’s ERA shot up to a whopping .30.
The game was far from over, though, because there were only two guys left in the Pirates’ bullpen. Doug Slaten, who pitched three innings yesterday, and Chris Resop. Obviously, Resop got the call to close out the game. He gave up a leadoff double to Votto, but got Phillips to groundout. Votto couldn’t advance, and Bruce was intentionally walked. The next guy popped out in foul territory, bringing up Ryan Ludwick. Pirates fans were expecting the worst, but Resop stepped up big time. He got Ludwick to strike out looking, getting the series win.
I honestly just lost years of my life—
Mark D'Amico (@DamicoMark) June 08, 2012
Interleague baseball begins tomorrow (today), with the Kansas City Royals coming in to town. Bedard, Burnett, and McDonald will be pitching in front of some big crowds at PNC Park. The Pirates are just 2 games out of first place now, and the Royals are scuffling. Should be a fun weekend.
Win: Hanrahan (3-0)
Loss: Chapman (4-1)
Save: Resop (1)