Hot Day, Icy Bats - Phils Take Series 2-1 On 11th Inning Homer
Dario Agrazal was touched for a two-out double by Bryce Harper, but as usual kept the scoreboard clean. The Bucs drew first blood off Drew Smyly when K-Man doubled, J-Bell walked, and Melky’s two-out rap plated Newman. A two-away single by the Phils was all the action either club could muster in the second. The third went quietly for Philly; K-Man walked and got to second for the Bucs, where he remained. It’s been gray and drizzly with some pretty loud thunderclaps, but the umps checked their cell phones apps and said “Play on.” Harper drew a full-count walk to start the fourth and tagged to second; he looked like a goner if K-Man came up with Bryan Reynold’s throw cleanly. The rain picked up some, though still light, and the tarps were unfurled, with the delay being short-lived. The earlier dropped ball ended up a big deal when Harper came in on a well-placed two-out single through a shift to knot the score. Joey O led off with a knock and that was it. Dario issued a two-out walk before closing down the fifth while Smyly struck out the side.
|Dario strong again – image Pittsburgh Pirates|
The Phils got a bopped batter with one gone in the sixth (Rhys Hoskins was not a happy camper about it, nor was Harper when he was rung up the at bat before on a pitch that was up), then a Philly fan ran (OK, he kinda sauntered) on the field, finishing his 15 minutes of fame wearing a PPD bracelet and taking a perp walk off the field. A DP ended it before any other sideshow events had a chance to develop. Starling opened with a two-bagger for a second before a replay ruled him out, leading to another calm frame. Ric Rod got the seventh, and with two outs he plunked a Phil; no prob as he fanned the next one. Juan Nicasio took the ball and took just eight pitches and three grounders to return to the dugout. Kyle Crick, despite some recent bumpiness, was waved in for the eighth and put Philly away in order on 10 tosses. Adam Morgan walked K-Man in between strikeouts, then Newman was caught stealing.
The Nightmare was called in for the ninth. He was greeted by a leadoff knock, but no damage was done. Hector Neris climbed the mound and clipped the leadoff guy, Starling. A grounder on a hit and run moved Marte up 90′ and another roller got him to third. Redbeard was plunked (a 95 MPH heater that bounced off his hand and flew all the way to the dugout *ouch*) then Corey D was walked intentionally to juice the sacks. Eli lasered a shot to left, but it was an at ‘em ball, and the horsehide gods have decreed bonus ball. Chris Stratton took command in the 10th, and gave up a double with an out (Starling made a nice play to get to the gapper and hold it to two bases). Two routine grounders kept it tied. Ranger Suarez got his turn. Fraze doubled to greet him and was bunted to third by K-Man. Reynolds fanned on a 3-2 changeup, and Marte bounced out on an 0-2 change. The out-for-a-base debate continues unabated… Stratton stayed on for the 11th, and Hoskins yanked a 1-2 curve just inside the foul pole in left with an out (Harper was K’ed looking on another pitch up; could be his whining got to plate ump Ben May) before shutting it down. Suarez stayed on and Melky singled with an out. Jake K’d looking at a heater, ditto for Redbeard, and that was the ballgame.
|Ol’ man Melky can still swing it – photo Pittsburgh Pirates|
Six hits. 14 whiffs. 1-for-9 w/RISP. Fed a steady diet of curves and changes, the bats were frozen by fastballs. Drew Smyly had an ERA of 12.74 in his last five MLB starts, yet held the Bucs to one run in six innings. ‘Nuff said…gotta be able to handle the slow stuff through discipline and recognition, and the Pirates couldn’t today.
- Melky had two hits; K-Man posted a knock with two walks at leadoff. He’s batting .335 w/OBP of .370 at the top of the order. J-Bell is still in deep freeze mode, going 0-for-4 and dropping his BA to .289, the first time it’s been under .290 since May 7th.
- Dario Agrazal set his career high in whiffs today with five in six innings. He gave up one run on three hits and two walks while flipping 93 pitches. His ERA is now 2.25.
- Kyle Crick has gone two-of-three outings without a walk, so maybe he’s getting over the hump. He hasn’t gone consecutive appearances w/o a free pass since late May.
- Today’s crowd was announced at 24,830.
- On his radio show, Neal said that the FO is still working through trade scenarios, with the debate focusing on current needs v future building blocks. As for the Vazquez rumors, he said they’ll listen to offers, but “We fully anticipate Felipe will be closing the next playoff games that we’re a part of.” The schizo streaky play of the team doesn’t help in the deadline decision making.
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