The Pittsburgh Pirates offense again had their troubles and the team lost 6-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers to get swept there for a second consecutive season.
The Pirates ended their lack of offense, scoring in the first inning thanks to a two run home run from Andrew McCutchen that plated Starling Marte. The Pirates were the last team in the major leagues to hit a homer.
The Dodgers would respond plating two of their own in the first inning thanks to a Adrian Gonzalez single that plated Nick Punto and Matt Kemp.
The Dodgers offense struck again with a lead-off double from Carl Crawford. In a strategy familiar to the Pirates, Punto bunted Crawford over to third base and a Kemp sacrifice fly added a run.
Starter Jeff Locke had trouble keeping Dodgers off the base paths, but tried to wiggle out of jams. Ultimately though he allowed another run in the fifth when Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single that he unsuccessfully tried to stretch into a double.
Following a rocky first inning, Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu settled down, allowing just three hits over 6 1/3 innings. He was then replaced by Ronald Belisario. Jose Tabata would wind up on second base because of an error but the Pirates offense failed to knock him in.
Following six innings, Locke was taken out and Chris Leroux came in. The first batter he faced was Justin Sellers who got his first hit, a homer to make the score 5-2 Dodgers. Leroux would then get two outs, but then started to labor walking two hitters before Gonzalez struck again batting in Punto. Leroux would take 32 pitches to get out of the inning.
Leroux could not make it through the eighth inning and Jason Grilli came in to finish the job.
Matt Guerrier pitched the ninth inning for the Dodgers and got an out before walking Michael McKenry. J.P. Howell came in to face Pedro Alvarez and got him and Clint Barmes to strike out and end the game.
On Jeff Locke’s outing: Locke had a rough start to the game and it felt as though the Dodgers had runners on base. The first inning was Locke warming up, remember it is his first start as a Pirate this season. He escaped a jam in the fourth that was impressive after allowing the run in the third inning. What he did in the fifth was impressive getting Kemp to ground into a double play, however the location of his pitch to Gonzalez was a mistake. The outing could have been a lot worse, but the Pirates defense definitely stepped up to keep the team in the game.
Locke’s Line: 6 innings pitched, 8 hits, 4 runs [all earned], 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 86 pitches [53 strikes]
Of note: Michael McKenry and Chris Leroux played in today’s game meaning all of the roster has seen time on the field.
Hero: As great as the defense was I’ll give it to Andrew McCutchen just because this offense has stunk and someone needed to do something. It’s sad it took this long to hit a homer.
Goat: Pedro Alvarez. Three more strikeouts and a reach out of the zone with two strikes just to ground out to the pitcher. Pedro is off to his usual Adam LaRoche-like start.
On deck: The Pirates will start a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks tomorrow. Game time is schedule for 9:40 ET and Wandy Rodriguez will face Trevor Cahill. Rodriguez is 1-0 getting the win Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks hit .278 against Rodriguez with Martin Prado a .300 hitter. Cahill lost to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday allowing 5 runs, three of which were earned in 5.2 innings. The Pirates are 6-37 a .162 average against Cahill. Clint Barmes is 2-2 with a homer against him.