Game 2: Pirates 2, Phillies 1 (10)

The Pirates have scored just one run in the 14 innings they have faced Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, yet they have won one and lost the other  by a single run.  This is not a surprise: Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay are possibly two of the best three starting pitchers in the National League.  It’s really frustrating, though, to see the Pirates’ offense struggle the way they are.  I’ve  been saying over the offseason that the Pirates’ biggest need is good pitching, as the pitching was the reason for the uprising, and eventual downfall, of the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates.  But these are just two games out of 162, so hopefully the Buccos can turn it around at some point in the season.
The top of the first didn’t exactly work out the way the Pirates had planned.  After Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco singled, Jimmy Rollins sacrificed them over, so the Phillies had two men in scoring position.  Hunter Pence hit an infield single to drive in Shane Victorino, but Polanco had to stay at third.  Karstens, as always, worked his way out of a jam by striking out Lance Nix, who ended up hitting 0-3, and then getting Mayberry to fly out to Andrew McCutchen in center.  The Pirates’ offense didn’t work out in the bottom of the first either, as they had a runner on base, Alex Presley via a single to left, but McCutchen grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.  Matt Hague made his MLB debut in the bottom of the second after Jeff Karstens pitched a 1-2-3 top of the second.  Hague was a bit over anxious and swung on the second pitch, grounding out to short.  Walker walked, but nothing came of that as Barajas grounded out to third.
After Walker drew a six-pitch walk in the bottom of the second, neither team had a baserunner until the top of the fourth, when Jeff Karstens walked Lance Nix on seven pitches.  John Mayberry grounded out to short, but Nix advanced to second base.  It looked like the Phillies were going to take a 2-0 lead when Carlos Ruiz, also known as “Chooch,” singled to right.  Nix is apparently too slow to run 180 feet when the ball is hit to right field, so Karstens and the Pirates were lucky there, as Freddy Galvis flied out to left field. The bottom of the sixth was when the Buccos were able to break the zero-run barrier.  After Barmes popped out to short, Yamaico Navarro was brought in to pinch-hit for Jeff Karstens.  Navarro was walked on five pitches, then Jose Tabata singled to center.  Presley grounded into a fielders choice, second base to short, so there were runners at the corners with Andrew McCutchen batting.   The  first pitch was a curveball that hit off the plate and bounced to the backstop.  Lee couldn’t corral the throw from Chooch and it ended up hitting Navarro.
Tony Watson, Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan, and Juan Cruz tossed scoreless frames, setting up the Pirates’ bats for success in the bottom of the tenth.   Rod Barajas hit a double off of the top of the left center field bullpen wall, which would have been a home run had the wall been a few inches lower.  Michael McKenry came in to pinch run for Barajas.  Clint Barmes bunted over McKenry, during which I screamed “You’re gonna bunt your eye out” at the top of my lungs.  Joe Blanton hit Josh Harrison, and then Tabata popped out to second.  That  brought up Alex Presley.  On the fifth pitch, on a 2-2 count, Presley hit a dribbler to short, Rollins picked up the ball and threw to first.  Presley barely beat the throw on a bang-bang play, driving in McKenry to win the game in extras.

My tickets to the game.
What a view of the city.
The moon was pretty funky. So was the zoom function on my phone.


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