1925 Pirate Replay, July 18: Bucs Split Two, Retake First

The Pirates concluded a hard-fought five-game series in Boston by splitting a doubleheader with the Braves.  They took a big lead and then just hung on to win the first game, 9-8.  The second game was a pitchers’ duel, with Boston coming out on top in 11 innings, 2-1.  In the series, three games went into extra innings.  Four were decided by one run and the one that wasn’t went to extras.  The day worked out well enough for the Bucs, as Cincinnati’s Dolf Luque blanked the Giants, who played only the one game.  That left Pittsburgh in first place by half a game.

In game one, the Pirates built up a 9-1 lead over the first six innings against Boston’s Johnny Cooney.  They got a quick lead in the top of the first, when Kiki Cuyler doubled home Max Carey, then erupted for five runs in the second.  Boston’s defense provided some help.  After a single and an error, Johnny Gooch doubled in a run and starting pitcher Emil Yde doubled in two more.  Carey then reached on another error, with Yde going to third.  When Carey stole second, catcher Oscar Siemer threw the ball away, letting Yde score and Carey take third.  Eddie Moore brought Carey home with a squeeze bunt to put the Pirates up, 6-0.

The Braves got one back in the bottom of the second on two singles, a double play and a single by Siemer.  Things got quiet after that, as neither team had  more than one runner in innings three through five.

The Bucs picked up three more in the top of the sixth, with all the action occurring after two were out.  Yde doubled for the second time, then a single and a walk loaded the bases.  Cuyler singled for two runs, then Clyde Barnhart singled to drive in another.  Cuyler was thrown out trying to score on the play, but the Pirates led, 9-1.

Yde pitched well through the sixth, but ran into trouble in the seventh.  Three singles and a walk led to a run and set up a bases-loaded triple by third baseman Ernie Padgett.  A sacrifice fly made the score 9-6.

Bill McKechnie stuck with Yde and the lefty had more problems in the eighth.  A walk, a single and an infield hit loaded the bases with two out, and center fielder Gus Felix singled for two runs.  Yde got Padgett on a fly ball to hold the score at 9-8.

The Pirates failed to score in the eighth or ninth, primarily because they had one runner thrown out at home and another at second, and also had a runner picked off third.  When a walk and a single put runners at the corners with one out in the bottom of the ninth, McKechnie finally sent Ray Kremer out to relieve Yde.  Kremer got Dave Bancroft to hit a grounder to third and Pie Traynor threw the lead runner out at home.  A ground out ended the game.

Yde gave up 17 hits, four of them to right fielder Les Mann, but still improved his record to 10-5.  He was better at the plate than on the mound, going 3-for-4.  Carey and Cuyler also had three hits apiece, with Carey scoring three times and Cuyler driving in three runs.

Game two was much quieter.  The total combined hits went from 31 to 15 and the combined errors went from seven to one.  Instead, the starters, Johnny Morrison for the Pirates and 30-year-old Bob Smith for the Braves, mostly held things in check.

Until this year, Smith was an infielder, but he held the Bucs to six hits.  Cuyler and Carson Bigbee, who gave Barnhart a break in left, each had two.  Cuyler had a two-out triple in the first and Bigbee a two-out double in the second, but both were stranded.  The Pirates had other chances.  In the third, with runners at the corners and two out, Cuyler got picked off first.  In the fourth, with two on and one out, Bigbee hit into a double play.

Morrison was pitching as well as Smith, but the Braves got on the board in the bottom of the fourth.  A pair of singles and a bad throw put runners at second and third, and a long fly ball to right by Dave Harris brought in the game’s first run.

With the score 1-0, little else happened until the top of the seventh.  The Pirates put runners on second and third when Glenn Wright walked and went to third on a single by Bigbee, and Bigbee took second on the throw to third.  Boston walked Earl Smith to get to Morrison, who struck out.  Carey tied the game with a sacrifice fly, but that was all.

Other than a single by Smith, there were no baserunners until the 11th.  Cuyler led off the inning with his second triple of the game, giving him 16 on the year.  He had to hold, though, when George Grantham bounced back to Smith.  Then Traynor flied to Jimmy Welsh in shallow right.  Cuyler tagged and tried for the plate, but Welsh threw him out.

The game didn’t last much longer.  Welsh beat out a bunt to start the bottom of the inning, then Dick Burrus tried to bunt and ended up with a single.  That brought up Felix, who singled to left to drive in Welsh and end the game.

Morrison pitched a fine game, but fell to 8-8.  The Pirates have a day off and then play three games in Philadelphia.