What can be said about tonight’s game that hasn’t been said almost verbatim in the previous three recaps? Padres and Pirates played a good close game. Padres do some things well, but not not enough of them. Padres lose by a run late in game 3-2.
It’s not that Pat Murphy and the players aren’t trying to mix things up. Murph’s tried a different lineup concoction almost every night to no avail. Team meeting was held today with no change in result. Players are working hard. Coaches are spending hours with the players with early work almost every single day. It’s not a lack of effort. Things just aren’t clicking for this group right now, and time is running out.
Ross started and looked sharp but the rains came in the 3rd inning and play had to be stopped. While pulling on the tarp one of the grounds crew got swallowed up by the tarp like a giant wave of plastic devouring him. McCutchen and Rodriguez for the Pirates were standing on the side lines watching and ran to his rescue. After extricating the crew member from the plastic leviathan that had consumed him the Pirates players stayed on the tarp to help get it laid out and stabilized. It was actually fun to watch MLB players helping out to keep the game from potentially getting washed out.
After the 1 hour and forty-two minute delay Liriano returned to the mound for the Bucs, while Ross was shut down for the night. The Pads took advantage of some mistakes by the lefty after the long delay and Kemp drove in two with a double to center field to give the Pads a 2-0 lead.
Garces came on in place of Ross and issued a walk, wild pitch, and then a double that cut the Pads lead in half 2-1. After two innings Mateo took over and he also allowed a run. His appeared to involve a bit of bad luck though as he gave up a lead off single then a triple on a ball that was heading towards Kemp on the ground as an apparent single until it hit something and took a hard right turn on Matt and skipped past him for a run scoring triple. Lead gone, game tied 2-2.
The score actually could have been 4-2 or worse after the 5th had it not been for one of the most athletic catches we’ve seen all year. McCutchen hit a shot to left that was over the wall by at least five feet but Justin Upton raced backed, timed his leap perfectly and got up over the fence to snare the ball and rob the Pirates of a home run. It was one All-Star executing a brilliant potentially game saving play to rob another All-Star of a home run – magnificent baseball!!!
Meanwhile Liriano settled back in and lasted through the 6th holding the Pads offense in check. The Friars did get base runners on in each of the last three innings but couldn’t deliver the decisive blow.
Benoit came on to throw the 8th for the Pads and got himself into trouble by hitting the first batter of the inning on a 1-2 count. Did the batter make an effort to get out of the way? No, of course not, but that is a rule that very few umpires, if any anymore, will have the cajones to call. Two outs later Benoit would leave fastball up and out over to Polanco who would drive it into the left center gap for a triple and plate the go ahead run 3-2.
Melancon came on and closed it out for the Buccos, and for the first time in the history of PNC Park the Pirates were guaranteed to win a series against the Padres in their home venue.
Cashner will look to make it three solid starts for himself in a row tomorrow, break the team’s four game losing streak, and salvage the last game of the series for the Friars. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PST but rain is in the forecast so hopefully it will not interfere and the game can get started time. Uncle Teddy and I will be looking forward to having you with us for call on the mighty 1090.