Game #100: Nationals 9, Pirates 7

The Pirates looked for a series sweep on Thursday afternoon in DC. While they came up short, they didn’t go down without a fight.

A.J. Burnett gave up four runs in the first inning, although only one of them was earned. The Bucco defense has been sharp all season, but three costly errors by Pedro Alvarez, Gaby Sanchez, and Jordy Mercer put them in an early hole.

The Bucs started chipping away in the fourth inning, as Burnett helped his own cause with an RBI groundout.

Two innings later, Josh Harrison (of all people) belted a two-run homer. More on J-Hay in a bit.

With their lead down to one run, the Nationals appeared to pull away in the eighth inning with three runs off Vin Mazzaro. Steve Lombardozzi lined a ground-rule double to bring home Roger Bernadina, then Adam LaRoche knocked in two more with a triple that slipped under Travis Snider and rolled to the wall.

However, the Pirates weren’t dead just yet. Nats closer Rafael Soriano – who hadn’t pitched in five days – entered the game, even though it was a non-save situation. Here’s how the crazy top of the ninth played out:

Neil Walker walked.
Starling Marte walked.
Jordy Mercer doubled, Walker scored. 7-4
Andrew McCutchen struck out.
Russell Martin singled, Marte scored. 7-5
Ian Krol replaced Soriano –
Pedro Alvarez walked (bases loaded).
Jose Tabata struck out.
Josh Harrison singled, Mercer & Martin scored. 7-7
Garrett Jones struck out.

Huge four-run comeback for the Bucs, and how about Josh Harrison? Two-out, two-run single to tie the ballgame.

Unfortunately, the Pirates’ comeback was wasted in the bottom half of the ninth. Bryce Harper hit his first career walk-off home run, a two-run shot off of Bryan Morris. Nats win, 9-7.

Tough one to lose, but you have to appreciate the fight they showed in the ninth inning. Still a good series win in Washington.

Pirates (60-40) – Nationals (49-53)

Win: Krol (1-0)
Loss: Morris (4-4)

BOX SCORE

Go Bucs

Pedro hits six, Cespedes wins Derby

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Some of the biggest sluggers in Major League Baseball stepped up to the plate on Monday night at Citi Field.

Although Pedro Alvarez was ousted after one round, there was still a nice display of power by the Big Bull. He hit six homers altogether, making him the first Pirate in Derby history to hit more than four. El Toro’s longest shot traveled 461 feet. Here’s a spray chart of his blasts, via ESPN:

Pedro Alvarez Home Run Derby 2013

Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland A’s owned the night. We had the privilege of seeing Cespedes hit batting practice at PNC Park last week, which was unreal. He hit some monster shots – effortlessly hitting upper bleachers, top of the batter’s eye – and that held true in the Derby. He hit 17 HR in the first round alone, which is third most for a round in history (Josh Hamilton, 28 in ’08; Bobby Abreu, 24 in ’05).

Cespedes went on to beat Bryce Harper in the final round, 9-8, taking the 2013 Home Run Derby crown. He ended the night with this amazing bat flip:

Yoenis Cespedes Bat Flip GIF Home Run Derby

Captains David Wright and Robinson Cano, as well as defending champion Prince Fielder, were eliminated in the first round. Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer and Baltimore’s Chris Davis were done after round two.

Here are the lineups for Tuesday’s All-Star Game:

American League

1. Mike Trout, LF
2. Robinson Cano, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Chris Davis, 1B
5. Jose Bautista, RF
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. Adam Jones, CF
8. Joe Mauer, C
9. J.J. Hardy, SS

P: Max Scherzer

National League

1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
2. Carlos Beltran, RF
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. David Wright, 3B
5. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
8. Michael Cuddyer, DH
9. Bryce Harper, CF

P: Matt Harvey

Go National League/Bucs

2013 Home Run Derby Preview

For the second consecutive year, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be represented in the Home Run Derby.

Pedro Alvarez is the fifth Pirate to ever compete, joining Bobby Bonilla (1990), Barry Bonds (1992), Jason Bay (2005), and Andrew McCutchen (2012). However, none of those players have hit more than four home runs in the competition. How many will El Toro hit?

Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s Derby…

2013 Home Run Derby

Citi Field – New York, NY
Monday, July 15th – 8:00 pm
TV: ESPN

The National League participants…

Pedro Alvarez

2013 Home Runs: 24
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/2

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Bryce Harper

2013 Home Runs: 13
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/2

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Michael Cuddyer

2013 Home Runs: 16
Derby Odds (Bovada): 12/1

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David Wright – Captain

2013 Home Runs: 13
Derby Odds (Bovada): 9/1

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The American League participants…

Chris Davis

2013 Home Runs: 37
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/4

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Yoenis Cespedes

2013 Home Runs: 15
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/2

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Prince Fielder

2013 Home Runs: 16
Derby Odds (Bovada): 15/4

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Robinson Cano – Captain

2013 Home Runs: 21
Derby Odds (Bovada): 6/1

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Here are the five longest home runs this season among Derby contestants (via ESPN & Hit Tracker):

1. David Wright, 464 feet
2. Prince Fielder, 460 feet
3. Pedro Alvarez, 456 feet
4. Pedro Alvarez, 454 feet
5. Robinson Cano, 442 feet

Here’s how many feet the eight participants have averaged on their homers this year (via ESPN & Hit Tracker):

1. Yoenis Cespedes, 407.9 feet
2. Pedro Alvarez, 407.1 feet
3. Michael Cuddyer, 406.8 feet
4. Bryce Harper, 406.5 feet
5. Chris Davis, 403.9 feet
6. David Wright, 404.7 feet
7. Robinson Cano, 401.5 feet
8. Prince Fielder, 396.2 feet

If you want to make a safe bet, Prince Fielder or Chris Davis may be the way to go for tonight’s Home Run Derby. Fielder has experience, participating in the competition four times and winning it twice. Davis has mashed a ridiculous 37 home runs so far this season.

However, don’t sleep on Pedro Alvarez. We’ve all seen him crush balls in the games, and we can only imagine how far he can crank them in batting practice. Bob Walk and some of the other Bucco broadcasters have drooled over Pedro’s BP performances. One pitcher told ESPN, “I can’t believe how hard (Alvarez) swings the bat. When he swings, it’s like he’s trying to shatter the bat, just by hitting the ball so hard. Just a violent, explosive swing. And when he connects, it’s just majestic to watch.”

He’s averaged 407.1 feet on his homers this year. He’s hit 16 of his 24 long balls more than 400 feet. All but one would have landed over the fence at Citi Field. Hopefully The Big Bull puts on a show tonight in the Big Apple.

#FreeTheBull

Go Pedro

Monday Morning Links 7/15/13

Pirates:

– Mark Melancon was added to the National League All-Star roster.

– Pedro Alvarez will participate in Monday night’s Home Run Derby.

– Gregory Polanco and Dilson Herrera played in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday.

Here’s how the Pirates rotation will go after the break:

Francisco Liriano
A.J. Burnett
Jeff Locke
Charlie Morton
Gerrit Cole

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Around the League:

– An Indians fan caught four foul balls on Sunday.

– Bryce Harper will have his dad pitch to him in the Home Run Derby.

– Seven players, including Melancon, will replace injured players/unavailable pitchers on the All-Star rosters.

– Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter; fans get free pizza.

– Chris Davis clubbed his 37th home run on Sunday, tying the pre-All-Star break record.

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Updated NL Central Standings:

Team

Record

Games Back

St. Louis

57-36

Pittsburgh

56-37

1.0

Cincinnati

53-42

5.0

Chicago

42-51

15.0

Milwaukee

38-56

19.5

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On tap this week:

Monday Home Run Derby 8:00 pm
Tuesday All-Star Game 8:00 pm
Wednesday – off –
Thursday – off –
Friday @ Reds 7:10 pm
Saturday @ Reds 4:05 pm
Sunday @ Reds 1:10 pm

 

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates vs. Nationals

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Pittsburgh Pirates (16-12) vs. Washington Nationals (15-14)

May 3, 2013 – 7:05 PM
May 4, 2013 – 4:05 PM
May 5, 2013 – 1:35 PM

PNC Park

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Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

Resources: Pirates Depth Chart | Bullpen Workload

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Probable Starters:

Game 1 – A.J. Burnett (2-2, 2.83) vs. Ross Detwiler (1-2, 2.03)

Game 2 – Jeff Locke (3-1, 2.83) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.13)

Game 3 – Wandy Rodriguez (2-1, 3.91) vs. Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 5.34)

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Batting Leaders (Among Qualifiers):

Pirates

Nationals

AVG

Starling Marte (.321)

Bryce Harper (.323)

HR

Russell Martin (6)

Harper (9)

RBI

A. McCutchen, G. Sanchez (16)

Harper (18)

SB

Marte (7)

Denard Span (4)

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Pitching Leaders (Among Qualifiers):

Pirates

Nationals

Wins

Jeff Locke (3)

Jordan Zimmermann (5)

SO

A.J. Burnett (48)

Gio Gonzalez (36)

ERA

Locke, Burnett (2.83)

Zimmermann (1.64)

Saves

Jason Grilli (11)

Rafael Soriano (9)

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Opponent Blogs: Federal Baseball, Nats Blog, District on Deck

Wandy Rodriguez Pirates GIF

Player to Watch: Wandy Rodriguez, who struggled in his last outing at Milwaukee. He looks to bounce back against Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. Wandy has been masterful at home this season, allowing no runs and just three hits in 13.2 innings of work.

Go Bucs