Well, it was bound to happen. The Pirate pitchers keep putting runners on through their wildness, and it finally caught up to them tonight. Charlie Morton walked the first two batters; one scored. He walked a batter with two outs in the third; he scored.
Jose Veras pitched the eighth; he walked the leadoff batter, plunked a guy with two away, and they both came around.
In spite of that, the Pirates had the winning run at the plate in the ninth, Steve Pearce. He ended the suspense by banging into a DP. Still, that's not what lost the game. Morton and Veras put six runners aboard via the free pass and hit one; four of the seven runners scored. That's what lost it.
Hey, give Morton some credit. The bullpen needed a blow after last night's 14-inning all-nighter, and he gave them seven innings, yielding three runs (two earned) on six hits, five walks and a K. Even with the wildness, he left throwing just 92 pitches and the game tied 3-3.
Veras took the hill in the eighth because Evan Meek is out with shoulder tightness. He showed the good, the bad, and the ugly side of his stuff all in one frame. He walked the first hitter, gave up a line single to the second, then struck out the next pair of Rox.
He was that close to escaping when he brushed Jose Lopez, a .240 hitter, to load the sacks. Ty Wiggington sat on a heater - it's all he hits - and got one on the first pitch. He drove it into left to score all three runners. It was almost an identical shot to the one he hit last night, except there was no Pedro magic this time around.
The Pirate offense was primed by a couple of long balls.
In the second, the Bucs put up a deuce when Dewey drilled his first homer of the year, bringing in Lyle Overbay ahead of him. They plated again in the seventh when Matt Diaz singled home Ryan Doumit, who had doubled. Jose Tabata added a blast into the bullpen in the eighth.
But until the Bucco staff begin to make opponents earn their way on base, the attack is going to have to pick up the pace.
-- Jose Tabata has a league-leading nine game hitting streak.
-- The Zambelli fireworks drew 25,398, the smallest crowd of the series so far.
-- Steve Pearce came in and played third in the ninth as part of a double switch, his first MLB inning at the hot corner.
-- Kevin Correia pitched the ninth to save Hanny's arm; he got the Rox 1-2-3. It was KC's day to throw between starts; why waste the pitches in the bullpen?
-- Jen Langosch of MLB.com reports that Brad Lincoln will go to Indy for rehab, not Bradenton as originally planned, and start Sunday. They made the move after Daniel McCutchen was recalled to Pittsburgh. Bad Brad will take his spot in the rotation.
-- 32 year old RHP Chris Jakubauskas, who was clocked by a liner in his only Pirate appearance last year, has been called up by Baltimore. It's good to see him get another chance, even if it's in the O's bullpen.