Last night’s first inning was the worst thing I’ve seen out of this club in quite some time. In the offensive half of the inning, the Bucs did what they do best and proceeded to strand everyone after loading the bases with one out.
Then, the circus started. After Jay and Goldschmidt led off with singles, Jake Lamb hit a ground ball to Josh Bell on what should’ve been a double play. Instead, Josh Bell fired it 75 feet towards second base. Mercer was unable to handle the errant throw, allowing Jay to score on the play.
After making two quick outs, Ketel Marte lined a triple to deep right-center that cleared the bases.
Unfortunately, the inning continued. Williams intentionally walked Jarrod Dyson to get to the pitcher’s spot in the order. With runners on first and third, Williams spiked his throw while attempting to pick off Dyson. Being that Josh Bell incapable of scooping anything thrown below his knees, the ball caromed down the right field line. Josh Harrison was backing up the play and decided to get in on the action. He fired the ball to third in an attempt to nab Dyson advancing but, again, the ball ricocheted off something (this case, Dyson’s head) and bounced around the left side of the infield. Everyone scored.
Then, with nobody on, Williams delivered a huge strikeout of Clay Buchholz to end the first inning. Score at the end of the first: Pirates 0, D-Backs 6.
This is where I turned the game off. Being a west coast game and having work in the morning, I didn’t want to bare the punishment any longer.
But, after checking the box score in the morning, I was surprised to see a little bit of fight in the team.
Arizona put up two more runs in the 3rd inning on an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly.
Then, for whatever reason, the Bucs exploded for six runs in the top of the 4th inning to make it a ballgame. These runs came on a Diaz double, Bell single, Polanco catcher’s interference, Mercer hit by pitch, Rodriguez walk, Harrison sacrifice fly, and finally a Marte home run.
The D-backs scored two more in the bottom of the 4th to extend the lead to 10-6.
Pittsburgh picked up one run in each of the 5th and 7th innings, with help from a couple of Josh Bell doubles to bring the score to 10-8 but a three run home run off of Jon Jay’s bat served as the knife in the coffin as the the Pirates finally fell, 13-8.
It was good to see Bell finally swing the bat a little bit but his fielding is consistently atrocious. He struggles deeply to put himself in a good position to throw the baseball. Even on his relaxed throws back to the pitcher following a pick-off attempt, I find myself cringing watching the mechanics - it just looks lazy and uncoordinated to me. I know he is relatively new at first base but he still looks so unnatural at the position.
Bucs will try again today while sending Jameson Taillon to the mound to face Zack Greinki.