Monday, June 16, 2014

Game of the Day (6/15/14)

Marlins 3, Pirates 2 (10). Henderson Alvarez started for Miami; Vance Worley took the mound for Pittsburgh. I had no idea Worley was a Pirate, which makes sense because this was his first start for them.

Both pitchers allowed two-out first-inning singles to players who are among the very best in the league - Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen in the top of the inning, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton in the bottom. Russell Martin was hit by a pitch in the top of the second, and Adeiny Hechevarria doubled in the bottom of the inning, but neither team scored before the top of the third, when Gregory Polanco singled and Starling Marte doubled him home. Marte took third on the throw home, McCutchen walked, and Ike Davis hit into a double play to end the inning.

Worley worked around an error in the bottom of the third, and the Pirates extended the lead in the fourth on a walk to Martin and singles by Pedro Alvarez and Josh Harrison. Casey McGehee and Garret Jones started the fourth with singles, but a strikeout and a double play conspired to squander the opportunity, and the starters then combined to allow only three singles through the end of the seventh inning (by Harrison, McGehee, and Polanco, respectively).

Chris Hatcher relieved Alvarez in the top of the eighth and worked around a Martin single. Tony Watson took the mound in the bottom of the inning and allowed singles to Jeff Baker and Rafael Furcal; two outs later, McGehee doubled both runners home to tie the game. Steve Cishek was perfect in the top of the ninth, while Jared Hughes worked around a Marcel Ozuna leadoff hit to keep Miami scoreless in the bottom of the inning, sending the game to extras.

AJ Ramos came on for the tenth and promptly gave the Pirates a golden opportunity; Marte walked, McCutchen singled him to third and stole second, and Davis walked to load the bases with nobody out. But Martin hit into the rare 5-2-3 double play, and after Pedro Alvarez was intentionally walked to reload the bases, Clint Barmes struck out to end the inning.

Furcal led off the bottom of the inning with a single and was pulled for pinch runner Ed Lucas (which is unusual for a player with Furcal's speed - he had fouled a pitch off of his knee earlier in the at bat). Lucas was bunted to second, and Stanton was intentionally walked. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and McGehee brought Lucas home with a walkoff sacrifice fly.

Casey McGehee had three hits, including a double, and drove in all three of his team's runs, including a walkoff sacrifice fly. His +.639 WPA is the second-highest figure of his career. Not bad for a guy who didn't play in the majors at all last season. (He's maybe still not ideal lineup protection for Giancarlo Stanton, but the Marlins aren't exactly swimming in options for that role.)

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