The Bucs left a pair aboard in the first; the Phils did the same, stranding guys at second and third. Pittsburgh left a runner at second in the second; the Phils again got runners to second and third, but no further. The Pirates left two aboard in the third, although Locke hurled a 1-2-3 frame.
The Pirates scored in the fourth when The Kid singled and scored on a Brandon Inge double to the wall in right center; he, of course, was stranded. The Phillies outdid themselves in their half. With runners on the corners to open the frame, John Mayberry got tossed out at home on a grounder to third and Eric Kratz followed with a DP ball.
In the fifth, the Bucs stranded Gaby Sanchez at second as the 17th Bucco LOB and making them 0-for-13 with RISP; the Phils again went down in order. Hamels struck out the side in the sixth; Locke answered by whiffing a pair of his own, for a 1-0 game after six frames.
Locke ended up pitching pretty darn well after a bumpy start; giving up two hits and two walks with six K, although he's at 96 tosses and done for the night. He did it with the Bucs making an error behind him when Starling Marte botched a ball, and one of his two hits was a fly misplayed by JT in right. It was easily the best outing of the year for the young lefty, who retired the last eight batters in a row. The only downside was that 41 of his pitches were balls, mostly in the early going.
It was the Bucs turn to go down 1-2-3 in the seventh, with Tony Watson toeing the rubber in the Phillie half with Jared Hughes and Vin Mazzaro both off for recovery days. Couldn't ask for a better bridge; he put down the 6-7-8 hitters in order with a couple of K, though he did have to sweat a couple of long, loud fouls by Erik Kratz.
On his 103rd pitch, Hamels finally slipped by leaving a 2-1 heater up to Gaby, who took it the opposite way for a homer a few feet inside the pole, adding a big insurance run in the eighth. Russell Martin followed by rolling a single to left. He was left there, but barely as Neil Walker's fly was hauled in by the 381' mark in left center. Hamels saved his bullpen; he went eight and used 118 pitches, but held Pittsburgh to a pair on seven hits, a walk and six K.
Mark Melancon climbed the bump. Lance Nix fouled off four balls before finding one he liked, and he lined it to right for an opening knock. After getting two quick outs, Michael Young bounced one through the left side to put Phils at first and second to bring up lefty longball threat Ryan Howard. MM worked him hard inside and got a grounder to Gaby to put up another Philadelphia zero.
Phillippe Aumont scaled the hill for Philly in the ninth. He nailed the Bucs in order, and it was time for Jason Grilli. He earned his 8th save, tops in the NL, with a clean inning, punching out a pair of lefties to close the game and ice Jeff Locke's second win. Locke's now 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA.
Wandy Rodriguez and Roy Halliday get it on tomorrow night.
- Gaby Sanchez (2B, HR) and Starling Marte (1B, 2B) had a pair of knocks for the Bucs.
- Mark Melancon is the poster child for tossing strikes; he hasn't walked a batter in 12 IP this year.
- Every Pirate starting position player left a runner on; six left two or more stranded, led by Russell Martin with five LOB.
- Martin extended his hitting streak to eight games.
- Jared Stonesifer of Yahoo Sports wonders if Mike McKenry doesn't deserve more PT.
- Charlie Morton's rehab start at Altoona went well. He worked four innings, with no runs on one hit, two walks and three strikeouts, throwing 69 pitches.
- Chris Leroux is taking his talents across the Pacific to play for the Tokyo-based Yakult Swallows of the Nippon (Japanese) League, where he'll join Lastings Milledge.