It got off to a typical Charlie Morton start - after an out, a hit batter and Pedro error put him in the hole. Morton was up in the zone, and a barrage of liners, a bloop and a sac fly resulted in a 4-0 Card lead before the Bucs visited the bat rack. Charlie could have gotten out of the frame several times, but the error, a liner up the middle that was barely out of Neil Walker's reach and Allen Craig going riskily from first to third on a liner to left, winning the bet that JT couldn't put the throw on the bag, and his pitch location all contributed. Shelby Miller put the Pirates away in order.
Morton got through the second; he was helped by a nice running grab by Cutch and hurt by a generously ruled ground single that popped out off Walker's mitt after a long run. Pedro opened with a single against the shift, but was left aboard as two Bucco liners found leather instead of grass.
Molina started the third with a ground single, but a quick DP and another bouncer cleaned it up; at least Morton is getting to hit it on the ground now. The Bucs came that close to tying it in their half. Tony Sanchez started with a cue ball shot to right, and with two down Walker was clipped on the ankle and Cutch walked. Pedro was looking for a first pitch heater and got it, but his liner to center needed a little more carry and was caught at the wall by Jon Jay.
The Cards got Mark Ellis to second on a walk and two-out stolen base, entirely off Morton, but didn't plate in the fourth. The Bucs were the good, the bad and the ugly all in the same frame. With an out, Ike Davis walked and Jordy Mercer was all over a high breaking ball, drilling it into the LF stands to make it 4-2. Tony Sanchez singled. Charlie struck out trying to bunt for the second time in as many trips, and then Sanchez was picked off first by Yadier Molina. Oh well, at least it's interesting again.
Morton had the good Charlie inning again: a ground out, a ground single, a ground ball DP. Snider walked to open the Bucco fifth, bringing on a very unhappy Mike Matheny who scolded his young charge. After an out, a heater got away and Travis scooted to second. Cutch walked, but Pedro, who fouled off a heater down the middle, popped out on a curve. JT bounced out to end the frame and leave more runs on the sacks. Charlie pitched a clean sixth, and Seth Maness took the bump for the Cards after Miller retired Ike. Maness collected the last two outs easily.
Vin Mazzaro came on for the Pirates in the seventh; Charlie was getting stronger but hit 100 pitches last frame. A ground ball single and another Pedro throwing error put Cards at first and second with an out to set up Matt Holliday and Allen Craig. Vinsanity kept calm and got a pop out and whiff. Kevin Siegrist got the wave from Matheny. Gaby singled with an out, and Siegrist, a lefty, was careful with Cutch, walking him to match up with Pedro. This time El Toro came through, knocking in Gaby with a single to center to make it 4-3. That rang the alarm bell for Carlos Martinez to face JT, who flew out to fairly deep center.
Josh Harrison went to right and Jaff Decker made his debut in left as Bryan Morris worked the eighth. He gave up an infield single to Matt Adams with one out and Jay rolled a knock into right. An out later, Peter Bourjos lined a 1-2 cutter that split the plate to right, and the Cards had their insurance run back. A wild pitch brought in another run. That was followed by a pair of walks, one intentional, to jam the sacks. He got Matt Holliday to ground out, but with two outs & two strikes, two terrible pitches gave the Cards two runs.
The Bucs didn't quit. Ike singled and Jordy doubled him to third to start the frame. A bouncer by Tony Sanchez brought Ike home, but that would be all they cashed in. Jared Hughes tossed a clean ninth.
Trevor Rosenthal came in looking for the save. The Kid greeted him with a ground rule double, and Cutch singled him home. Pedro singled him to third; now the game is really afoot. That brought up Clint Barmes to pinch hit for Hughes, and he drew a four-pitch walk to fill the bases. Ike Davis swung at the first pitch after a four pitch walk (!), a high heater, and popped out for the third time tonight. And there would be no heroics tonight; Mercer hit one back to the box for a game ending 1-2-3 DP. For want of a fly ball...
Again, the Pirate offense wasn't efficient - they stranded 11 and were 2-for-11 with RISP - but they put up five runs. The pitching failed them; Charlie Morton let an error lead to a big inning, and Bryan Morris couldn't make a 1-2 pitch to a .221 hitter. The attack is doing enough, but defense and pitching are wasting some solid at-bats.
The Pirates are off tomorrow and will visit Milwaukee starting Tuesday.
- Errors: Pedro has made nine errors; eight have been on throws. Morton leads all MLB pitchers in errors committed behind him; the Bucs have muffed 11 balls while he's been on the mound. And Charlie doesn't bail them up very often; he's allowed nine unearned runs.
- Bean Balls: Neil Walker leads the NL in HBP with eight; the Bucs lead the league in total with 23 plunked batters. And the Pittsburgh staff leads the majors with 24 hit batters, so it evens out.
- John Kruk had a great line on ESPN: when told the Clemente Wall was 21 feet high in honor of the Great One, he said "I'll bet a lot of left handed hitters wish he wore #4."
- Tonight's paid attendance was 32,065, not bad for a late Mother's Day game.