Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bucs Fall Quietly Into Second 5-0

Jeff Locke was still a wild child while Adam Wainwright recovered his Cy Young form, and the combination led to a quiet 5-0 loss for the Bucs.

The Pirates collected just three hits - two by Cutch and another by Jose Tabata - and K'ed 10 times, while the Cards dented Locke and the bullpen for six knocks, but used four walks, a hit batter and an error to chip away and put five runs on the board.

Locke went five frames, and allowed the leadoff runner on in four of them. It finally caught up to him in the fourth. A five pitch walk to Carlos Beltran and a double by Yadier Molina, who Locke had gotten ahead of 0-2, came in on a sac fly and infield single. The next frame opened for the Cards with Matt Carpenter being HBP, and Redbirds went to second and third when Clint Barmes threw away a Shane Robinson DP grounder to third. A grounder brought in one run, although a second was saved when Pedro tossed Robinson out at home later in the frame thanks to a great tag by Russ Martin on a wide throw.

Jeanmar Gomez gave up a homer to David Freese in the sixth. The final tally came in the eighth, when Jason Grilli couldn't get the last out against the bottom of the order. With a runner on second and two outs, he walked Pete Kozma; that brought on Tony Watson (Grilli had thrown 20 pitches), who gave up a single to Daniel Descalso.

The Bucs only threatened twice. In the fourth, Cutch led off with a double and Justin Morneau walked, but Marlon Byrd's ball up the middle turned into a 6-3 DP. In the ninth, JT opened with a double and went to third with an out, but Pittsburgh couldn't bring him in. The Bucs had issues with plate ump Larry Vanover all night. After the game they said Wainwright was getting a low strike call and Locke wasn't getting his calls on the corners, and they were probably right, though they didn't seem to adjust to his zone very well.

The Pirates didn't play very inspired ball today, and with a game left against the Cards before a series at Texas, they have to get back to doing the little things right, like throwing strikes and catching the baseball. The Reds are charging hard, too, and there are only three weeks left to jockey for playoff position.

It'll be up to Charlie Morton to salvage a game tomorrow afternoon as he goes against Michael Wacha.

  • The Pirates 4-5-6 hitters, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd and Pedro, went 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts and a double play.
  • Cincinnati won, so St. Louis is in first by 1/2 game over the Bucs and 1-1/2 games over the Reds; welcome to a September pennant chase.
  • The Pirates activated Starling Marte from the DL, although he's not ready to hit yet, recalled Brandon Cumpton from Indy, and DFA'ed J-Mac.
  • Yesterday's seventh inning outburst by St. Louis was big, but it wasn't a record-setter. The Cardinals were three hits shy of matching the MLB mark of 12 straight hits to start an inning, set by St. Louis on Sept. 17th, 1920, against the Boston Braves and Brooklyn on June 23rd, 1930, against the Pirates.
  • West Virginia was eliminated from the Sally League playoffs. Jamestown lost to State College, so tomorrow night's game will decide who moves on in the NYPL playoffs.

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