Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/22/13
A pinch-hit grand slam by Travis Snider turned the tide for the Bucs on Tuesday night as they came back to defeat the Cubs 5-4. Snider’s heroics were much needed because the Pirates couldn’t get anything going against Cubs starter Matt Garza. The righty was excellent in his season debut and carried a no-hitter in to the fifth inning (Clint Barmes broke it up), but luckily for the Bucs, he was on  a fairly strict pitch count of about 75. When the bullpen took over for him in the sixth, the Pirates immediately took advantage. Neil Walker – who also walked three times on the night – started things off with a liner down the RF line for a double. Cutch bounced out, but Garrett Jones blooped a single. Russell Martin walked, loading the bases for Pedro Alvarez. The Cubs brought in LOOGY James Russell, but Pedro got ahead in the count and hung tough…and eventually drew a walk to bring in a run. After another pitching change, Gaby flied out, leaving the bases loaded with two outs for Barmes’ spot. Kudos to Clint Hurdle for pushing the right button there. Barmes had just gotten a hit and has been better at the plate lately, and you never want to take his defense out of the game, but the Bucs needed a better chance at scoring after being so quiet for the previous five innings. Up came Snider, and once he got ahead in the count, he got a pitch up that he pounded deep into the night, very high but just barely far enough to clear the right-center field wall for a grand slam. It was his first career granny and the Bucs’ first of the year, and it could not have come at a better time. Mom snuck some salami in the lunchbox today. Loved it when she did that! One of the most humbling events of my career today. #foreverblessed — Travis Snider (@Lunchboxhero45) May 22, 2013 And I must say thank you to all the fans in attendance tonight. What a special memory. #speechless twitter.com/Lunchboxhero45… — Travis Snider (@Lunchboxhero45) May 22, 2013 The Bucs added a few more hits to that five-run sixth (and batted around) but didn’t score any more, but they didn’t need to. Wandy Rodriguez had given up three early runs (keyed by a Garza two-out double) but recovered extremely well to post a quality start. After the long second inning, Wandy ended up getting through six at just 87 pitches and didn’t really need to be removed from the game, but was lifted for a pinch hitter. The bullpen made the lead stand up, as usual. Justin Wilson worked the seventh, Mark Melancon the eighth, and Jason Grilli earned the save in the ninth. This was probably Grilli’s worst outing (at least among his save chances) of the year. He allowed a triple, walk, and a single, and clearly didn’t have his best stuff – he wasn’t fooling the Cubs and threw 35 pitches. He didn’t get a single swing and miss out of the first 34, but Anthony Rizzo swung through the last one for the final strikeout with the tying run at third. Good work by Jason grinding it out when he wasn’t at his best. only 39 pitches to remember how to get 3 outs after an off day. Ha! RPMs back in check. Sometimes they aint sexy. @lunchboxhero45 doing work — Jason Grilli (@GrillCheese49) May 22, 2013 Notes: Snider – the hero of the night – was featured in this P-G piece on Tuesday detailing challenges he faced while growing up. Cutch took an 0-for-4 with 6 LOB but hit the ball very hard multiple times. Rain and some very significant lightning approached the yard during the late innings, but the game was finished with no delays. Starling Marte, originally slated for a day off, ended up playing a few innings and went 1-for-1. Pirates 5, Cubs 4 / Box / 2013 Record: 27-18 / Next: Wednesday, vs. Cubs, 7:05 Source: FanGraphs
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