The Pittsburgh Pirates needed a good start from Jeff Locke, and the youngster delivered.
Locke allowed only two hits in six shutout innings as he pitched the Pirates to a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the second game of a four game series at Citizens Bank Park. Locke struck out six and walked only two in earning his second win of the season before he turned things over to the Pirates bullpen to finish the job.
The Pirates had some chances early as Starling Marte singled and stole second in the first and doubled in the third, but Jose Tabata failed to advance him to third with nobody out both times and the Bucs rallies stalled.
But the Bucs would strike in their half of the fourth.
After an infield single from Neil Walker, Brandon Inge, who was activated from the disabled list prior to the game, got his first hit as a Pirate as his double plated Walker to make it a 1-0 game.
Things stayed that way until the eighth when Gaby Sanchez belted his second homer of the season, a solo shot to right to make it 2-0.
The Pirates didn’t muster much offense off of Phillies starter Cole Hamels, as they got only the two runs on seven hits, but it was enough as Locke and the Pirates bullpen made it stand up.
Locke ran up a high pitch count early and pitched out of a first-and-second one out jam in the second and impressively wiggled out of a first-and-third nobody out jam in the fourth, but cruised after that as he finished his night by retiring eight hitters in a row.
Tony Watson tossed a perfect seventh, Mark Melancon pitched out of a jam in the eighth and Jason Grilli retired the Phillies in order in the ninth to record his league-leading eighth save.
Marte and Sanchez provided most of the Pirates offense on the night, combining for four of the Bucs seven hits.
In his Pirates debut, Inge went 1-for-4 with the RBI double, but also hit the ball hard his first time at bat when he was robbed of a hit by Phillies third baseman Michael Young.
The Pirates and Phillies are back at it again Wednesday night in Game 3 of their four game set. Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 0.56 ERA) gets the ball for the Bucs and will oppose Roy Halladay (2-2, 6.04)
Winning Pitcher: Jeff Locke (2-1)
Losing Pitcher: Cole Hamels (0-3)
Save: Jason Grilli (8)
Home Runs: Gaby Sanchez (2)