And hey, it could have been worse - he stranded five guys in those pair of frames. The Reds sent up nine men each inning; Brandon Phillips and Johnny Cueto were the only two not to get a hit.
Morton is now 1-9 with a 9.35 ERA, making him statistically the worst pitcher in baseball by a wide margin.
Jeff Karstens, Javier Lopez, and Evan Meek were solid in relief, but the game was too far out of hand for it to matter.
Johnny Cueto again owned the Pirate hitters, giving up three hits and no runs with 9 Ks and 2 walks in six innings. The only thing that can be counted as a negative was his pitch count, which hit 101. With that lead, he should have been able to give their Red pen a night off, not that it made much difference.
Dusty baker used three guys to mop up, none prime time, and that let the Bucs escape with a shred of respect, losing 8-2. There were a couple of bright spots.
Ronny Cedeno, batting leadoff, hit a pair of doubles and walked. Aki Iwamura had a pinch hit RBI single to run his hitting streak to five games. And Jeff Clement banged out three hits, trying to stave off a June replacement while boosting his average to .209 (take that, Mario Mendoza!).
Who knows? Maybe Clement will stay and Charlie Morton will get the ticket to Indy; after all, he does have an option remaining (as does Clement). No scholarships, right? We'll see what the suits have up their sleeve in short order.
The Pirates travel to Turner Field to take on Atlanta tomorrow night. The match up will be Zach Duke against Derek Lowe.
-- Here's the lede for ESPN's Jason Stark "Rumblings and Grumblings" column that has a few paragraphs about Matt Capps resurgence:
If you live in western Pennsylvania, it's tough enough that the man leading the major leagues in homers (Jose Bautista) is a fellow who was once dumped by the Pirates for a nonprospect in a 2008 waiver deal. But then the Pirates had to go out this past winter and nontender the pitcher who's now leading the majors in saves, too. Does it ever end for this team, or what?He did a piece on the best "minor" free agent pick-ups during the off season; Eric Hinske is there, too. Sheesh!
-- And to add insult to injury, Fox's Ken Rosenthal has a story today on the red-hot Hinske, too.
-- Bryan Morris' 0.81 ERA, combined between Bradenton and Altoona, is the best in minor league baseball to date.
-- Nick Colias of Major League Trade Rumors reports that the Pirates have signed Dominican RHP Jonathan Herrand for $185K from the Dominican League La Javilla squad. Jeffrey Nolasco at Hoy (Spanish language site) says he's 6'4", with a 95 mph fastball backed by two plus breaking pitches, and a delivery that his Javilla coach compares to a young Pedro Martinez.
-- A final misery loves company note: the Mets just swept the Phillies - and shut them out last night for the third straight game!