Edwin Encarcion opened the second with a free pass; then Juan Francisco walked on four pitches. Brett Lawrie legged out an infield single that stuck in Jordy Mercer's glove, and then Colby Rasmus lowered the boom, taking a 3-2 curve that was down but mid-plate over the Clemente Wall. Volquez stopped the bleeding, but it was 4-1 Jays.
Melky Cabrera singled to start the third and a grounder moved him up a station, where he was stranded. McGowan kept his groove going; he's tucked away eight straight Buccos. After an out in the fourth, Rasmus continued to stroke, banging a double. An Erik Kratz fly moved him to third, where he stayed. Pedro broke up the Pittsburgh out streak with a one-away single, and Ike walked an out later. Both jogged to the dugout after Mercer looked at strike three; manager Clint Hurdle and first base coach Rick Sofield were both ejected for arguing the call. McGowan hasn't been pinpoint; he's left balls in the middle of the plate, but the Bucs can't square up in the early going.
At least they didn't get to see a Reyes double and Cabrera homer make it 6-1 to start the fifth. A walk was followed by a DP and good thing, too, as Francisco bounced a ball to right, through the shift. Another grounder ended the frame. a Chris Stewart singles was erased by a Harrison DP, and Casey Sadler took over on the bump. he worked a clean frame. McGowan was tiring out a bit; he walked Pedro with two down and fell behind Marte 3-1, but got him to K by fishing after a pair of shoe-top sliders;. After showing some patience batting lower in the order, Starling has become a chase machine today.
A ground ball single and walk put Sadler in a bit of a jam in the seventh, but he escaped unscathed. Pittsburgh went down in order. Lotta shifting going on for the eighth: Harrison moved from right to short, Snider went to right and Jared Hughes claimed the mound. He gave up three straight one-out singles to make the score 7-1. Marcus Stroman took the ball in his MLB debut. With one away, Harrison collected his second triple and The Kid got plunked in the calf. Cutch lifted a sac fly to make it 7-2, and lefty Brett Cecil came on to work on Pedro. He got him to ground out into the shift, and the last hurrah was approaching.
Both sides went down uneventfully in the ninth as the Bucs fell 7-2.
Pirate batters were chasing today, but this loss goes on Edinson Volquez. The Pirate starters have been pretty poor, and the mid-relievers are piling up too many innings. We thought the FO needed one more vet starter to replace AJ, but never thought the returning starters' regression would be so steep. Maybe this will be the year we find out if Jeff Locke, Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler have what it takes.
Jeff Locke gets his first start of the year against Matt Cain and the Giants tomorrow night.
- The Pirates have gone seven straight games without a starter getting through the sixth inning.
- As for the Pirates looking for help at first base rumor, Neil Huntington told the media that "Sounds like someone's trying to create a market."