The Pirates and Twins are getting ready to play a B-game at Pirate City. I’ll be live blogging for as long as my battery holds out.
The lineup for the Pirates:
1. Starling Marte CF
2. Josh Harrison SS
3. Nick Evans RF
4. Matt Hague 3B
5. Garrett Jones DH
6. Jeff Clement 1B
7. Robbie Grossman LF
8. Michael McKenry C
9. Jordy Mercer 2B
Chris Leroux will start for the Pirates. Following Leroux are Duke Welker, Evan Meek, Jose Diaz, Mike Crotta and Daniel Cabrera.
UPDATE 10:11 AM: The game is underway. Leroux got two quick outs, with a fly out to left, then a 1-3 groundout after he knocked down a comebacker to the mound. Matt Hague showed some trouble at third, failing to pick a grounder to his left. The ball rolled to Josh Harrison, who made the throw from short, but couldn’t get the ball to first in time. The next batter hit a line drive to shallow center field. Starling Marte dove for the ball, but it fell short and hit him in the face. Nick Evans got the throw in to the plate to keep runners at second and third. Marte was ok. Leroux got the final out on a strikeout on a nice slider. Mike McKenry saved a potential run with a nice block one pitch earlier.
UPDATE 10:16 AM: The Pirates go down in order in the bottom of the first. Starling Marte grounded out sharply to third base. Josh Harrison struck out reaching for an outside changeup. Nick Evans grounded out to shortstop.
10:28 AM: Leroux led off the inning with a home run to left field. That was followed with a single past Jordy Mercer on an 0-2 breaking ball. Leroux was a little wild this inning. He skipped a ball off the dirt, which deflected to the third base side fence, allowing the runner to advance. He got a swinging strikeout for the first out of the inning. He missed high against the next batter, hitting the umpire in the face and allowing the runner to advance to third. After a long battle, Leroux walked the guy at the plate. The inning was called due to his pitch count.
10:38 AM: The Pirates started with two groundouts. Matt Hague grounded out to short, after just missing the foul line on a fly ball down the right field line. Garrett Jones grounded out to second. Jeff Clement took the first pitch he saw and lined it to center for a single. Robbie Grossman followed that with a shot to the gap. Grossman was thinking triple all the way, and made it standing, scoring Clement from first. Mike McKenry ended the inning with a pop out to second.
Evan Meek is now on to pitch for the Pirates in the third.
10:49 AM: Meek gave up a single up the middle to start the inning. The Pirates followed that up with a 6-4-3 double play. The ball was a hard roller to short. Harrison played it cleanly, and made the short throw to Mercer at second. Mercer had a bit of a delay making the throw to first, but had plenty of time to get the out. Meek followed that by giving up a bunt single to second. Mercer tried to flip the ball to first with his glove, but started from deep in the hole. The Twins followed that with a perfect hit and run, with a roller right to where Josh Harrison was previously standing at short. A single past a diving Mercer between first and second brought in a run. Meek walked the next batter, and the inning was called due to his pitch count.
11:02 AM: Jordy Mercer led off with a single. Starling Marte hit another hard grounder to third. The third baseman made a nice pick, and got the out at second, but Marte beat out the throw. Marte then stole second and third base, and scored on a sac fly by Josh Harrison. Harrison almost ended up on second when the center fielder bobbled the ball, losing it briefly in the sun. Nick Evans followed that with a two out single, ripping one to left field. Matt Hague then crushed a home run against Twins starter Scott Baker, putting the ball on the roof of the clubhouse, well over the 370 sign. There was no doubt about the homer off the bat. That was the end of the inning as Baker reached his pitch count.
11:11 AM: A better inning for Meek this time around. He got a ground out to first, where he covered the bag. He then froze a batter on a slider for a strikeout. After a walk on a 3-2 count, Meek got another strikeout looking, this time on a fastball.
11:23 AM: Garrett Jones led off with a routine grounder to second. The ball then took a bad hop and ate up the second baseman, allowing Jones to reach. Jeff Clement followed with a single, putting runners on first and second. If you were here and enjoyed Robbie Grossman’s stand up triple earlier, he treated everyone to an encore performance. Grossman hit another stand up triple to the exact same spot in the gap in right-center, putting the ball right by the 410 sign on one hop. That brought in two runs. McKenry followed with a hard shot up the middle for an RBI single. Jordy Mercer flew out to left field, then Starling Marte grounded out on a chopper to short, with the shortstop unable to make the play at second. The inning was called when Scott Baker reached his pitch count after Marte’s out.
Duke Welker is now on to pitch for the Pirates.
11:35 AM: Welker started the inning with a ground out to second on the first pitch. Matt Hague committed an error with an awkward play at third. The ball was a slow liner and Hague was caught in no-man’s land. He slowly fell to his right, trying to get on top of the ball, but didn’t field it at all. Welker got a chopper back to the mound, but threw it wide of the bag, putting runners on first and second. A chopper to third was fielded cleanly by Hague. However, he had some indecision, thinking about throwing to second, before a late throw to first loaded the bases. Welker got a swinging strikeout on an 85 MPH slider, then got the third out on a fly out to left field.
11:46 AM: Josh Harrison grounded out on a chopper to third to start the bottom of the 5th. Nick Evans then singled. In classic B-game fashion, Pedro Alvarez was inserted in to the game, batting between the third and fourth hitters. Alvarez grounded out to second, but not before Evans stole second a pitch earlier. Matt Hague ended the inning by grounding out to second.
Daniel Cabrera is on to pitch for the Pirates.
12:00 PM: Cabrera was sitting 92-94 MPH with his fastball, and touched 95. His slider looked sharp on a few pitches, but he also hung a few which were hit hard. He started with a hard hit double down the left field line. Grossman was playing far from the line, and just missed the ball in full sprint. Cabrera got a hard liner right to Clement at first, who threw to second to double off the runner. The next batter singled on a hard grounder past a diving Clement. Cabrera then hung a slider, giving up a high fly ball to right field. Evans lost the ball in the sun, and ended up five feet away from where it landed behind him. He might have had some issues with wind too, but he was shielding his eyes the whole time. The ball bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. That was it for Cabrera, as the inning was called due to his pitch count.
12:07 PM: I missed what Garrett Jones did to lead off the inning, but he got out somehow. Jeff Clement followed that with a home run to right field. Pedro Alvarez then came in and grounded out to the first baseman. Robbie Grossman struck out swinging.
Mike Crotta is on to pitch for the Pirates.
12:12 PM: Crotta led off with a single past a diving Hague at third. The next batter hit a hard grounder to Josh Harrison, who started a 6-4-3 double play. It wasn’t the easiest ball to field for Harrison, with a bit of a bad hop that almost ate him up, but he played it well. Mercer was a little high with the throw to first. Crotta then got another grounder to Mercer, who knocked the ball down and made the throw to first in time.
I haven’t been impressed with Hague at third base, but Harrison has looked pretty good at shortstop. He won’t win any Gold Glove awards, but he looks like he can handle the position.
12:22 PM: McKenry grounded out. Mercer walked. Pedro Alvarez hit a long fly ball opposite field, which was caught at the wall. Starling Marte then hit a stand-up triple to dead center off the wall. Josh Harrison finished the game with a hard liner to short. I guess they weren’t playing nine innings, as this ended after seven.