After jogging through the park, mowing the lawn and playing with the kid's pit bull, GW was ready to face another game. It has a nice September feel to it; Jeff Locke is getting his first MLB start while Pedro and Chase are starting.
Locke showed some nerves in the first, throwing twenty pitches while bopping a batter and walking another. But he kept them from touching the plate, so it's a great start. In the second, he gave up his first hit and collected his first K. Locke also got his first at-bat, unfortunately a two-out whiff with the bases juiced.
The third, last night's Armegeddon, didn't start off very well for Locke, An infield single and a pair of walks surrounding a bunt put him quickly behind the eight ball. A two-run single by John Buck put him behind, period, 2-0. He got out of the inning when Don Murphy hit a sac fly/DP, something you don't see very often.
The fly to center scored a run, but Murphy got caught between the bases and tagged out at second after Derrek Lee cut McCutch's throw. Still, 3-0 Fish. Despite loading the bases last inning, the Bucs aren't faring very well off Anibal Sanchez. He's given up a hit and K'ed six in three frames; the Pirates can't lay off his slider or change, and Sanchez is living up to his rep as a swing-and-miss hurler.
The fourth didn't get off to a great beginning, either, with back-to-back soft singles. But the Fish bunted into the wheel play to force the lead runner, and a 6-4-3 got Locke out of the jam. The game went quietly through five, and Locke was pulled for a pinch hitter.
He went five innings, giving up three runs on five hits along with four walks, a hit batter, and a whiff, throwing 82 pitches. Locke wasn't terribly impressive, but it's possible his control problems had more to do with butterflies than wildness; he walked 3 guys per nine in the minors this year. Locke is a pitch-to-contact hurler (after the first inning, seven of the nine outs he recorded were grounders with a K) and unafraid to work inside. Chris Leroux took the hill for the Pirates.
He shut down the Marlins, the team that drafted and released him, as Sanchez continued dealing. After seven, it was still 3-0 Florida, and the Bucs still had one hit. And that's all they would get. Sanchez pitched a complete game shutout with 11 K's to lead the Marlins to a 3-0 win. He threw 119 pitches and 86 were strikes, even with three walks.
Javier Vazquez goes against James McDonald tomorrow. The Pirates will honor the heroes of 9/11 and the region's first responders before the game.
- Happy birthday, Neil Walker. The Pittsburgh Kid turned 26 today.
- Chris Leroux had his streak of 21 consecutive batters put down ended by an Emilio Bonifacio single in the seventh.
- The Bucs drew 34,063 fans for the last Fireworks night of the season.
- Pittsburgh was eliminated from winning the NL Central last night and from the wildcard race tonight.
- The Pirates asked for a league review of Friday's scoring call that gave Florida's Omar Infante a homer on a ball that bounced off OF'er Alex Presley's glove and over the wall in the third inning.