SORRY, NO IMAGES TODAY – BLOGGER IS ON THE BLINK AND WON’T UPLOAD GRAPHICS; HOPEFULLY GOOGLE WILL STRAIGHTEN IT OUT SOON – Ron
Today’s Game: Well, that didn’t take long – the Cubs second batter, Kris Bryant, homered off Tyler Anderson, sending a meatball changeup into the shrubs. The Pirates went down in order to Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs went quietly in the second. Erik Gonzalez doubled with an out for the Bucs, legging out the extra base on a deflected groundball that died in center. There he stayed. Chicago’s third was interesting – a single and steal set up a run when E-Gon didn’t convert the third out (grab a beer & watch the vid; the play at first, btw, ended up being ruled a fielders choice). Actually, Will Craig was the Twilight Zone character of the play. He caught the throw slightly down the line and instead of stepping on the bag, he chased Javy Baez home. Wilson Contreras, who had started at second, kept running and Craig’s flip to Perez was high, allowing the runner to cross the dish headfirst. Perez misfired the ball on a peg to first to send Baez, who had reversed fields, to second, where a bloop single plated him. That was followed by another Craig error before Anderson escaped, stifling the homicidal thought or three that surely crossed his mind. Pittsburgh went down in order.
The off-the-wall stuff continued; Anderson plunked Patrick Wisdom to open the fourth; the Pirates challenged and won, getting a foul ball ruling. So Wisdom hit the next pitch over The Notch to make it 4-0. The lead was cut in half when Bryan Reynolds and Gregory Polanco banged back-to-back one-out dingers. Tyler and Kyle each spun a clean fifth. Sam Howard got the sixth and gave up a two-out two-bagger with no added damage resulting. Adam Frazier opened with a rap but was caught stealing. B-Rey hustled out an infield knock with two outs in another scoreless frame. Dave Bednar worked the seventh, striking out the side around a knock. With two gone, Perez homered in the Pittsburgh half and suddenly it was a 4-3 game. Kyle Crick was waved on for the eighth. A single and wild pitch put him in a bit of a jam, but a K got him out of it. Dan Winkler took the hill. Wilmer Difo worked a walk, then Fraze singled. He was tossed out trying to stretch it, and that gift out impacted the inning. Gamel’s fly wasn’t deep enough to score Difo before B-Rey got bopped and Gregory walked to juice the sacks. Ryan Tepera was called in and retired E-Gon on a bouncer; the Bucs are still ISO a big hit.
Richard Rodriguez ran into ninth-inning problems with Cubbies on second and third with an out. A grounder added an insurance run although the middle runner was nailed trying to reach third to end the frame. The Cubs gave the Bucs some life when Craig reached on an error to start it off, but two whiffs and a bouncer later, Chicago clinched the sweep.
- Fraze and Ben Gamel had two hits; Gregory had a homer and walk.
- Pirates pitchers have given up long balls in 15 of the past 16 games (31 big flies in all); eight of those contests have featured opponent multi-homer games.
- There were 7,202 in the yard today.
Tomorrow’s Game: The Rockies come to town for three games. The opener starts at 6:35 and will be aired by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. Mitch Keller goes for the Pirates.
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