Jeff Locke walked two guys sandwiched around a hit and they came in on a two out double in the first. The Snakes stranded a couple in the second and with two out in the third, the D-Backs strung together seven straight hits including a homer and a two-run knock by the D-Back pitcher to chase Locke and make it 8-0.
The Bucs answered pretty well when Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez homered to make it 8-4. JT's single in the sixth made it 8-5, and the Bucs actually had the lead run at the plate with two down and the bases juiced, but Joe Thatcher K'ed Neil Walker swinging and that was as close as the ol' ball game would get.
And it actually was ballgame until the eighth. That's when Jeanmar Gomez faced five batters and surrendered four hits; maybe he hadn't recovered from the 23 pitches he threw Friday night. Bryan Morris came on and gave up a couple of more knocks to make it 12-5, then served up a three run homer in the ninth to close the books on a 15-5 thumping.
For once, the bullpen couldn't put up zeroes all afternoon. As for Jeff Locke, he needs badly to find some confidence and aggressiveness; he was successful pitching to contact, but has walked fewer than three guys just once since July. We think his cure is simple enough; keep the ball down, away from the middle and in play instead of trying to finesse the black. Today, he was behind in the count all day and up in the zone, and he can't get away with that for long.
As it is, he hasn't made it through six innings in his past four starts, and the Bucs need all the horses they have to pull the load. There are no reinforcements in sight until Wandy returns, as we doubt the Bucs are going to be using any September arms anywhere but out of the pen unless they're backed against a wall.
Charlie Morton and Wade Miley go at it in the rubber match tomorrow.
- The 15 runs and 20 hits rung up by Arizona are the most against the Bucs since September 18th, 2011 when the Dodgers banged out 23 knocks during a 15-1 win at Dodger Stadium. The Pirates used eight pitchers during that contest and only two (Tony Watson & Jason Grilli) remain on the team today.
- Pedro and Paul Goldschmidt both homered and remained tied for the NL lead at 30 bombs apiece.
- Today's attendance of 37,982 was the 14th sellout at PNC Park.