Same story in the second for Charlie; a whiff and two grounders. With two down in the Bucco half, Starling Marte was plunked in the shoulder and was gunned down stealing on the next pitch. Morton changed it up in the third, K'ing a pair and getting a tapper to third. The Bucs went down 1-2-3.
Yangervis Solarte was the first Friar to reach when he drew a one-out walk in the fourth. He went to second on a bouncer and came home when Charlie left a first pitch fastball up and away to Yonder Alonso, who singled the opposite way to chase Solarte home. Will Venable followed with another knock before Charlie struck out Jedd Gyorko, freezing him with a hook. Jordy drew an opening walk and Travis followed with a single. Nix poured cold water over the frame, rolling over on a slider for a 5-4 DP. He stole second, but Stew looked at strike three to close the frame.
Abraham Almonte started the fifth with a knock and Rene Rivera followed with a ground ball through the right side. Ross couldn't bunt them; Ike fielded his ball and got the force on the lead runner at third. A soft fly was out number two, but Charlie plunked Alexi Amarista on an 0-2 back-foot slider to load the bases, and it cost him dearly.
He fell behind Seth Smith 2-0, gave him a BP fastball and Smith tagged it off the left field wall for a triple. A wild pitch brought him in, and Charlie again has served up a big frame to a team that's scored three runs in the prior two contests. For some reason, Morton decided to work the outside against the lefties, and the Padres in the past two frames have been going the opposite way at will. It was his last frame. The Bucs got a two out double from Gregory, and then Josh was plunked in the back on an 0-2 pitch. Ike didn't have any two out magic in him, flying out to center.
In a two-fer, Gaby came in to play first and Stolmy Pimentel took the bump in the sixth. Gyorko singled with an out, but Stolmy responded with a couple of whiffs. Jordy opened with a knock up the middle, but a whiff, foul pop behind the plate and liner to third ended the frame. The 6-7-8 hitters of the Bucs, Snider, Nix and Stewart, have left nine runners on collectively.
Amarista singled with an out in the seventh, a blast off the wall that Polanco played beautifully, and Solarte followed with a bloop that dropped between three Bucs into left. Smith was hit to load the bases and draw a warning from the plate ump Chris Conroy. Stolmy went 3-0 to Alonso, came back to make the count full, then gave up a sac fly. Venable walked to load the bases again after a 10 pitch battle, and Stolmy is at 47 pitches to get five outs. He only needed three more to get Gyorko looking.
Blaine Boyer took the hill for the Padres. Gaby went down routinely, and Starling not as much, having his drive run down in The Notch, 400+ feet away. Polanco grounded out, and the Bucs are down to six outs.
Jeanmar Gomez took the ball in the eighth, and Josh went to second, Pedro to third, Nix to right and El Coffee grabbed a seat. Gomez gave up a two-out triple to Tommy Medica but left him stranded. Dale Thayer came in and struck out the side.
Smith doubled off Gomez with an out in the ninth. That was followed by a couple of walks, then a two-run single before Jeanmar could put a cap on the frame. Tim Stauffer grabbed the rosin bag. Stew singled with two down, and that was the Pirates last hurrah.
Charlie continued to be the most frustrating pitcher in baseball, while Jeanmar Gomez is working hard on his walking papers. For the third straight game, the Bucs scored in the first and were shut out the remainder of the game. And it sure doesn't get easier.
Starting tomorrow, Pittsburgh plays a 22-game stretch against contenders: the Tigers, Nats, Braves, Brewers, Cards and Reds with a ragged roster. We know you can't plan on injuries, but you can plan on some depth. The front office has fizzled both in the off season and deadline time to address bullpen and bench issues. It's not like the old days when waiver wire pick-ups were cool.
We're equally mystified by the way they approach injuries. Wandy was terrible and cut; ends up he needed knee surgery. And this "should we or shouldn't we" approach to the DL has to end. It's been the same story all year, with Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, and now Cutch and The Kid.
The Bucs may gamely overachieve, get some bodies back - the lineup really solidified with Cutch, The Kid and Russ in the middle - and come through this crucial three weeks in OK shape. But if they don't, the blame will rest squarely on the shoulders of the front office rather the guys in the locker room.
Jeff Locke takes on Justin Verlander tomorrow night in the first of a quickie two-game set against the Tigers.
- Gregory Polanco's homer was the first Bucco blast in 58 innings.
- Josh's 13 game hitting steak ended; the best he could do today is take one for the team.
- Attendance today was 38,030, another sellout throng.
- San Diego has won 14 consecutive series in Pittsburgh; they've never lost a set at PNC Park.
- The Pirates claimed IF Tommy Field off waivers from the Angels and optioned him to Indy. Field hit .285 with 18 doubles, 4 triples, 7 home runs, 33 RBI and 55 runs scored in 80 games with AAA-PCL Salt Lake this season, and plays middle infield with some 3B on his resume. With his addition, the 40 man roster is filled again.
- Gerritt Cole took another rehab spin today at Indy. Cole allowed just a single in six shutout innings, with three K after 73 pitches. He was sitting at 91-92, touching 94-95, so that's a good outing for him.Brandon Cumpton worked today too after being scratched from his start, coming in for the ninth on his day to throw a side.