Locke gave up a single and walk to start the second before waltzing through the bottom of the order. The Pirates struck again with two gone; JJ tripled to right center, then Cutch fought off a tight 98 MPH heater and dropped it into right. Gregory fell behind 0-2, ran the count full and banged a curve on the outside half over the Notch to make it 5-0, a massive drive for a lefty Jeff got an out in the third before d'Arnaud singled and stole second. He was stranded behind nice glovework flashed by Gregory and JHK. Pittsburgh tried for more two out thunder when Jordy singled, but fizzled this time around.
|Jeff Locke tossed another solid game today (photo via Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Jeff Francoeur doubled to open the fourth and Tyler Flowers two-bagger plated him, but again Locke had the bottom of the lineup's number to limit the damage. Eric O'Flaherty came on and tossed a clean frame. Locke can't get d'Arnaud out; Chase banged a one-out ground rule double to right in the fifth, but the Bravos couldn't cash him in. El Coffee tripled off the Clemente Wall to greet O'Flaherty; that brought John Gant in from the pen. JHK's sac fly made it 6-1.
Frenchy murdered a change up, giving the fans in left center a souvenir before Locke settled down to finish the sixth. The Pirates answered when Jordy singled and Stew got HBP to open. Jeff couldn't move them up, but JJ picked him up with a bloop to right that chased Jordy home. Cutch worked a 10 pitch walk to juice the sacks. Ian Krol got the call. He whiffed El Coffee lefty-on-lefty, getting him to chase a nasty wo seamer that went for a passed ball, allowing another run to score.
Locke Down tossed his first clean frame in the seventh. At 97 pitches, he's done, and it was a good night's work - seven IP, two runs on six hits with two walks and six K. Alexi Ogando climbed the hill, and escaped with just a two-out knock by Jordy. Wilfedo Boscan, on his fourth call up, finally got to toe a MLB rubber in the eighth. He tossed a clean frame, filling up the strike zone and picking up his first major league whiff.
|Wilfredo Boscan made his first impression a good impression (photo via Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Jason Grilli took over; a strike out/wild pitch put S-Rod aboard, then JJ walked. Grilled Cheese bore down and handled Cutch, Gregory and JHK routinely. With an out in the ninth, Boscan gave up his first hit, a bloop to right. Two garden variety outs later, the Bucs had another win to add to the column.
The Bucs needed some pitching to eat some innings effectively. Jeff tonight and Frankie last night provided that, squaring up the bullpen. Hopefully the Pirate arms can get it together; Gerrit and Frankie getting on rolls would be nice, and Jon Niese carrying his weight would be a plus, too. But at 21-18, the Pirates are six back of the Cubbies, so even with that hot start, Chicago hasn't run away.
- JJ and Jordy had three hits each; Gregory added another pair of knocks.
- Jung Ho Kang not only has five homers; he's also been HBP four times.
- Jeff Locke beat the Braves for the first time since 2012
- Jared Hughes and Arquimedes Caminero were off today due to workload; Jeff and Wilfredo made sure they weren't missed.
- The long ball is still an issue; the Braves had nine coming into the series, and lost six balls in four games against Pirate pitching. Could be the odds evening out, but the given the state of Bucco pitching...