Road Warrior Kevin Correia took the hill today at Turner Field against the Braves in the third game of the four game wrap around series. Tim Hudson made his first start of the year for Atlanta, just coming off of the DL.
The Bucs had a chance to get on the board early in the first when Jose Tabata singled with one out an Andrew McCutchen got hit by a pitch. Garrett Jones struck out and Neil Walker grounded out though, stranding the two runners. Correia gave up a leadoff single to Michael Bourn, but rolled a double play the next batter to prevent a jam before it started. The offense did get it going in the second after Pedro Alvarez and Michael McKenry both singled. Alex Presley walked to load the bases, and Tabata slapped a single to right field to make it 2-0.
The bottom of the third was nearly disastrous after Cutch dropped a lazy fly ball off the bat of Hudson. Michael Bourn walked, putting runners on first and second. Martin Prado then hit an easy inning ending double play ball to Alvarez, who booted it to load the bases. Freddie Freeman hit a sac fly to center, but Cutch caught it very nonchalantly and didn’t make a good throw to the infield. This allowed every runner to move up, which put Correia in a bigger jam than he had to be. Luckily he got Brian McCann to line out and get out of the inning giving up only one run. The Braves tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Tyler Pastornicky doubled in Dan Uggla who walked to lead off the inning.
Clint Barmes had a huge chance to drive in two runs and give the Pirates the lead in the fifth with runners on second and third. Once again, the runners were stranded when he weakly grounded out to third. Correia fell apart in the bottom of the fifth after giving up a single and three walks to walk in a run. Brad Lincoln came out of the pen to keep the deficit at one, and struck out Chipper Jones. Lincoln had one more hoop to jump through, facing Jason Heyward with two outs and the bases loaded. He got him to ground out, closing the book on Correia. Chad Durbin and Lincoln both pitched 1-2-3 sixth innings.
The top of the order couldn’t get anything going off of Eric O’Flaherty in the seventh, but Martin Prado hit a lead off home run to make it 4-2 Braves. Lincoln got himself into another jam, giving up a single and a walk. Tony Watson had to get the last to outs, getting Chipper and Jason Heyward to fly out. Pedro had a one out double in the eighth, Casey McGehee and Josh Harrison struck out to strand another runner in scoring position. The Pirates had the top of the order due up in the ninth, but were facing Rookie of the Year and shutdown closer Craig Kimbrel. Jose Tabata was able to get something going, with a double to right field. He advanced to third after Cutch grounded out, and scored on a wild pitch. With the score at 4-3, Kimbrel struck out Garrett Jones looking, ending the game.
- Evan Meek pitched a scoreless inning, and was even hitting 94 MPH.
- Walker, Jones, Alvarez, and Tabata all had a double each.
- Tabata had a very nice game, picking up 3 hits and 2 RBI.
- Alex Presley’s hit streak came to an end at 12 games.
- Even with Correia’s collapse in the middle innings, the defense the main reason the Pirates lost. The two errors in the third could have been much more costly than they were.
Star of the Game: Braves bullpen. Durbin, O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, and Kimbrel gave up 2 combined hits, and shut the Pirates down after 5 innings. With the exception of Kimbrel’s wild pitch, the bullpen was shut down.
Goat of the Game: Andrew McCutchen. His error was absolutely embarrassing and he left 3 runners on base with 2 strikeouts. Cutch is obviously the superstar, and is allowed to have bad games, but today was pretty ugly. Clint Barmes is a close runner up.
Pirates (9-12) – Braves (14-8)
Win: Hudson (1-0)
Loss: Correia (1-1)
Save: Kimbrel (8)