Jeff Locke went five frames; he gave up a three run homer to Jedd Gyorko in the third and another score on a bases-loaded DP in the fifth. Bryan Morris later surrendered another tally, partially his bad and partially thanks to first base ump Tim Welke's eye. Gyorko was the key figure again. He beat out a single on a play that could have gone either way. While on first, Morris made a pair of strong pickoff moves to first that resulted in calls that could have gone either way (well, Welke actually flat-out blew one). Gyorko got the benefit of all three and scored after a pair of singles.
The Bucs, like yesterday, beat the ball in the ground, and Ronny Cedeno made three or four nice plays, including throwing out Marlon Byrd at home, and Gyorko made a dive or two to take away hits.
Pittsburgh's two runs were gift wrapped. With runners on second and third in the third and two outs, Byrd curved a liner to right that was curling into the glove of Kyle Blanks; the big guy blew a tire, hit the turf, and the ball dropped for the only Pirate offense of the night. And we mean the only offense.
After the third, Pittsburgh collected a bunt single, two walks, and a hit batter; one runner reached second. The 18 outs consisted of 14 grounders, three K and a foul pop.
There's 11 games to go, and every one will be a grind, as much mental as physical. The middle relief guys are running on fumes, and the Buc lineup could sure use some lumber from Russ Martin (August .213; September .111) and Pedro (August .208; September .188) down the stretch. It's showtime for the first time since 1992, especially the six games remaining with the Reds, and reputations, good and bad, are going to be made in the next two weeks. Fasten your seat belts.
Charlie Morton and Tyson Ross go at it tomorrow.
- Starling Marte has a six game hitting streak; he was on a five game roll before he hurt his hand.
- The Pirates have lost every home series against San Diego; clawing their way to an even split would be a win. The Friars are 30-10 at PNC Park.
- Typical Tuesday attendance against a non-marquee club: 22,520.
- The Cards won, the Reds won, and the Nat swept a doubleheader. Pittsburgh is a game behind St. Louis, 1-1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati and six ahead of the Nats, who have won 10-of-11, for the last wildcard spot. The Bucco magic # remains at six.