Coming into the game with a depleted bullpen, the Pirates brought up two pitchers – Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson – from Indianapolis. Despite having two fresh arms available to pitch, the Pirates went with Kevin Correia, who threw two innings in yesterday’s 19-inning marathon. Despite a ton of criticism, Correia wasn’t all that bad. The Pirates offense was once again unable to take advantage of scoring opportunities, and they dropped game one to the Padres 3-1.
Correia came out and immediately drew the haters. He gave up a leadoff double, followed by a single, and San Diego was up 1-0 just like that. After getting an out, KC drilled Carlos Quentin on an 0-2 pitch, and gave up an RBI-groundout. Typical Kevin Correia first inning.
Will Venable drove in his second run of the game in the second, making it 3-0 SD. Correia got through the third and fourth without much trouble, and then came the fifth. With a runner on, he walked Yasmani Grandal on five pitches. That was the end of his night, after 4.1 innings of seven-hit work. Nothing spectacular, could have been much better, and could have been much worse. Tony Watson came in and did a nice job to leave both runners stranded and keep the score where it was.
Offensively, the Bucs fell victims of to the heavy San Diego air and general bad luck. Jose Tabata led off the game with a bullet to CF, but it was caught. With two on and two out in the thrid, Cutch took Edinson Volquez deep to the wall in CF, but it was once again caught. There were a few other hard-hit balls that found gloves, but not all of the blame should go to bad luck. Volquez, along with the rest of the Padres bullpen, really threw nothing but breaking balls. It seemed like every batter was getting one or two hanging curveballs, yet none of them could pull the trigger.
Neil Walker drove in the lone run for the Bucs with a single in the sixth. The seventh and eighth innings were absolutely infuriating. Cutch came up as the go-ahead run with two outs in the seventh, and chased ball four to end the inning. Pedro came up as the tying run in the eighth, and Padres reliever Luke Gregerson was just laying the hanging sliders in there. On a 2-1 count, Pedro got a changeup right down the pipe. And he watched it go by for strike two. He got another hanger on 2-2, and rolled it over for a seeing-eye single. Gaby Sanchez came in as a pinch hitter, and it was more of the same. He got three 83 MPH sliders that were just begging to be hit 400 feet, but popped out. Rod Barajas grounded out to end the inning, and his average dipped to .190.
A ton of credit is owed to the two rookies who both made impressive debuts. McPherson pitched two impressive innings, giving up just one hit and striking out two. His stuff looked great, especially his fastball, which reached consistently hit 95. Wilson just pitched one inning, but struck out the side. Who knows how long they’ll be up with the club, but they definitely looked like they deserved their promotions.
The Bucs got the tying run to the plate once again in the ninth, but Dale Thayer – handlebar moustache and all – struck Cutch out to end the game. There’s really no analysis that needs to be done. When your two, three, and four batters combine to go 1-13 with nine strikeouts, it’s going to be hard to score runs. The team goes as Cutch goes, and he’s not hitting right now.
Pirates (67-55) – Padres (54-70)
Win: Volquez (8-9)
Loss: Correia (9-8)
Save: Thayer (7)