As I said in the opening it wasn't a great start to the game for Frank. He gave up a leadoff single and then recorded a couple of outs before things kinda started to come undone. He walked the next two hitters and then went 3-0 on Will Middlebrooks before getting a very generous strike one call:
Call helps #Pirates Strike 1 should be ball 4 Top 1 Liriano vs Middlebrooks 4% call same 4.1in from edge pic.twitter.com/jLbUcsmw7n
— Pirates Strike Zone (@PiratesUmp) September 17, 2014
That was followed by a fielders choice groundout to end the inning. Middlebrooks walks and I have no idea what might happen. Liriano had no idea where pitches were going and one more walk would have made things really interesting but thankfully it doesn't come to that. Frank was decent the rest of the way. He only struck out two and walked five (yikes) but he gave up only three hits and one run in six innings. All things considered I will take that but luckily Clay Buchholz has been fairly bad tonight so this wasn't an issue.
The offense was dominant. The Pirates scored a run in the first, three in the second, another run in the third and then four runs in the fifth inning and this was never really a game. Every starter recorded at least a hit and that includes Liriano who almost scored the first run of his career. Ike Davis had a monster night with a huge three run bomb in the fifth inning and also had a double in his 2-for-4 night. Clint Barmes had three hits on the night while Josh Harrison, Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen both had a pair of hits as the Pirates gathered 15 on the night. The Pirates also had seven extra base hits that included homers from Gregory Polanco and Neil Walker as well as the three run bomb from Davis.
This was a nice night to get some guys out of the game early. McCutchen was out in the seventh inning while Russell Martin and Neil Walker also got a couple innings off and the top bullpen guys didn't have to worry about throwing tonight. Maybe a couple of innings doesn't seem like much but after 150 games before tonight it doesn't hurt to be able to sit down an extra hour or so. Every little bit is going to help over the last 11 games.