Awesome comeback win for the Pirates tonight. Your heroes? Brandon Inge and Pedro Alvarez, of course! Those two (and several others) were key in helping the Bucs battle back and earn their second straight win – and their 11th in the last 15 games.
The game started off as a pitcher’s duel between Roy Halladay and Wandy Rodriguez. Halladay seemed wild in the first inning but got two generous strike three calls to pitch around a leadoff walk. After that, he started retiring Bucs with ease and only allowed one hit for the rest of the night. Wandy was not as sharp as he had been in his previous starts this season, and allowed two gigantic homers to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Neither pitcher worked past the sixth, but Halladay completed six and Wandy did not – the Phils scratched out a third run in the sixth on a series of singles, knocking Wandy out of the game. That mini-rally also included a pinch-hitter for Halladay, and getting Halladay out of the game ended up being key for the Pirates’ comeback.
The Phils went with lefty specialist (and a good one) Antonio Bastardo to start the seventh, which is generally bad news for the middle of the Bucs’ lineup…particularly Pedro Alvarez. To everyone’s shock, Pedro turned on what looked like a pretty decent outside pitch by Bastardo and somehow pulled it well in to the RF seats for a towering homer, cutting the Philly lead in half. Pedro also had a clutch 2-out RBI single off Halladay earlier in the game, so this was an excellent night for him. He’s on a 6 game hitting streak and has homered in 4 of his last 5 starts.
The Phillies brought in Mike Adams to protect their one run lead in the eighth, and the Bucs immediately started a rally off him. Jose Tabata drew a nice pinch-hit walk to start it. With the Bucs down one, Clint Hurdle ordered Starling Marte – the Pirates’ best hitter to this point – to bunt…which is just sickening. Marte couldn’t get the bunt down on his first two tries and swung away with two strikes…and singled. Lesson learned….LET THE GUY HIT, right? Nope. Travis Snider was next and he squared to bunt as well. Guess what happened? He didn’t get it down, then swung away and also singled. LET THE GOOD HITTERS SWING THE BAT, CLINT! Snider’s single tied the game, and Andrew McCutchen worked a walk to load the bases with no outs.
At that point, the Phils removed Adams and smartly brought in a lefty to face the trio of Jones/Walker/Alvarez. Clint Hurdle responded by pinch hitting……Brandon Inge. And for the second straight game, Inge came up huge with the go-ahead base hit. Unbelievable. It was a good thing he did, too, because Walker proceeded to bounce in to a DP and Pedro grounded out, so the Bucs didn’t get any additional runs.
They added on an inning later, however, when Clint Barmes delivered a rare hit and came all the way around to score on Marte’s 2-out pop up to no-man’s land in short right field. Chase Utley couldn’t make a tough catch, and Marte incredibly went all the way to third on the play – an insane display of speed. He was stranded, but the Bucs had their insurance.
As usual, the bullpen needed no insurance – just a lead. Vin Mazzaro was tonight’s unlikely hero out of the ‘pen – he finished the sixth for Wandy and tossed a clean seventh, earning his first Bucco win. Mazzaro has looked surprisingly good so far (though it’s been just 5.1 innings). Of course, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli tossed scoreless 8th and 9th innings to lock down the victory.
Inge’s second Zoltan attempt went much more smoothly. You can thank McCutchen for that.
Grilli’s save was his ninth, which puts him in the major league lead.
Melancon has been awesome, but the Bucs are going to need to start using him a little less frequently. He’s on pace for 100 IP and threw just 74 and 67 innings in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
If you say nice things about ROOT Sports, they’ll put your tweets on TV. (Really, though, the analysis of Wandy’s release points they did was some of their best work I can remember.)
Poor John McDonald. He got a rare start today and hit the ball very hard twice off Halladay, but was robbed by great defensive plays both times.
The Phillies hurt themselves with a horrible baserunning mistake in the fifth inning, helping Wandy escape a 1st-and-3rd/no-out jam. The Pirates turned a 5-4-2 double play, taking advantage of a poor decision by Jimmy Rollins.
This swing and miss by Ben Revere may have been the worst I’ve ever seen.
Pirates 5, Phillies 3 / Box / 2013 Record: 12-9 / Next: Thursday, at Phillies, 1:05