Season in Pictures: September 2012

September 7th, 2012
Josh Harrison commits one of the Pirates’ seven errors, as the Cubs cruised to a 12-2 victory.

September 10th, 2012
Brandon Phillips is plunked by Jared Hughes; nonsense ensued, as Phillips thought Hughes made a racist comment towards him. The Bucs were swept by the Redlegs.

September 27th, 2012
Travis Snider scales the outfield wall to make a ridiculous catch at Citi Field. However, the Pirates lost, 6-5, as R.A. Dickey won his 20th game.

September 28th, 2012
Homer Bailey celebrates after no-hitting the Pirates at PNC Park.

September 29th, 2012
Andrew McCutchen is greeted by his teammates at home plate after knocking a walk-off home run against the Reds.

October 3rd, 2012
Andrew McCutchen leaves the field for the final time in 2012 to a standing ovation in front of 20,000+ at PNC Park.

Slipping further back in the Central

The Pirates lost their series against the Reds tonight, falling 5-4.  To some extent, there were some fireworks, but overall it was a really good game.  The Reds got a couple breaks, and were able to edge out the Bucs in the eighth inning.

Despite his mediocre line, James McDonald had some good stuff tonight.  He was really just a victim of some cheap hits and bad luck.  Cincy got their leadoff man on, and the next guy bunted.  Pedro Alvarez threw the ball away, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.  McDonald really buckled down, striking out the Reds’ three and four hitters.  Just when it looked like he was going to get out of the inning without giving up a run, J-Mac served up a two-run single to Scott Rolen.

Michael McKenry, who got promoted to the five spot in the lineup, led off the second with a home run to LF that was helped out by the wind.  With two outs, Mike Leake hit Josh Harrison in the thigh with a pitch.  Leake must have said something to Harrison, who glared out at the mound.  Leake then walked towards the baseline where J-Hay was, and jawed at him.  Brian Gorman, the HP umpire, warned both benches, which is absolutely ridiculous.  What have the Pirates done to deserve a warning?  Nothing.  Clearly, Clint Hurdle was thinking the same thing, and came out to talk to Gorman.  They had a short, calm exchange before Hurdle was rung.  That’s when he went off.  Whether you like Hurdle or not, you have to admit this was the right move to question the warning.

The Bucs tied the game at 2 when Alex Presley tripled to start the third and Neil Walker drove him in with a sac-fly.  Cincinnati answered back in the fourth as they went up 4-2.  Drew Stubbs reached on an infield single that went about 25 from the plate, and after another single, Ryan Ludwick drove in a run with a double.  McDonald got a shallow flyout for the second out, but Todd Frazier beat out a two-out single to drive in the second run of the inning.  Josh Harrison cut the lead in half with a solo home run in the fourth that was also helped out by the wind.

After all the breaks went to the Reds, the Pirates started to get some lucky plays going in the sixth.  Garrett Jones led off with a double that deflected off the first baseman’s glove.  With one out, Pedro struck out, but the ball got away and he reached first safely.  Travis Snider drove in his first run in black and gold with a sac-fly, and the game was tied.  McDonald really settled down after the fourth, pitching 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth.

Both pitchers were out of the game after six, and it was up to the bullpens.  Jared Hughes came in for the seventh, and gave up a leadoff single to Miguel Cairo.  With one out, Cairo swiped second.  Hughes got another out, and intentionally walked Jay Bruce to get to Ludwick – a move that was questionable.  It ended up working out, as Ludwick grounded into a force-out.  The seventh was a solid inning of work for Hughes, but that should have been it for him.  After the Bucs went quietly in the eighth, Jared came back out.  He served up a leadoff triple to the not-so-fleet-of-foot Rolen, and at that point, he REALLY should have been pulled for Jason Grilli.  Grilli has one of the best K/9 ratios in the league, and strikeouts were the only thing that would get them out of this jam.  Jeff Banister (acting as manager for Hurdle) left him in there.  The next batter chopped a ball just past the mound, allowing Rolen to score as the Reds took a 5-4 lead.  Hughes finished the inning but not before throwing his shoulder into a runner as he tagged him out.

Snider led off the ninth, and looked horrible against Aroldis Chapman.  He was about two seconds behind on every pitch, and ended up popping-out.  J-Hay followed with a nice AB, which ended with him singling to LF.  Starling Marte also looked lost at the plate, and struck out.  The third strike got away, allowing Harrison to get into scoring position.  Gaby Sanchez pinch-hit, and worked a very impressive at-bat.  After falling behind 1-2, he battled to get it to 3-2, before striking out on the ninth pitch.  Cincy took the game, and the series.

The Reds are now up 5.5 games in the division.  A sweep is not acceptable – A.J. needs to step up tomorrow and salvage a game in this series.

Pirates (60-46) – Reds (66-41)

Win: Jonathan Broxton (2-2)
Loss: Hughes (2-1)
Save: Chapman (25)


Go Bucs