Pretty uneventful game this Sunday afternoon in the Burgh. Both pitchers pitched extremely well, and the Bucs and ‘Stros combined for just seven hits. But in the end, the Pirates pulled out a 1-0 win thanks to a solo home run and took the series.
Jeff Locke and Lucas Harrell put up nearly identical lines. They both pitched seven innings, giving up a few walks, striking out just four and three batters, respectively, and getting a ton of groundball outs. The main difference between their lines was that Harrell allowed one more hit than Locke, and gave up a run. That can be attributed to Pedro Alvarez, who shot an inside pitch down the LF line and tucked it inside the foul pole for a solo home run. At the time, it was the Bucs’ first hit, but it proved to be the difference.
In the sixth, the Bucs had a great chance to tack on another run after Travis Snider knocked a one-out double into the North Side Notch. Gaby Sanchez cracked a singled up the middle with two down, but the ball was hit so hard that Snider had no chance to score, and was cut down at the plate after a collision.
With Locke going seven and exiting with the lead, the Hurdle was able to turn to Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli for the eighth and ninth, and they were rock solid, as usual. They eached pitched 1-2-3 innings, helping to wrap up the win in under two and a half hours.
Today’s win for the left-hander pretty much guarantees that he will keep his spot in the rotation once Karstens, McDonald, and Morton come back from the DL. The starting rotation situation should be interesting to watch unfold, and a difficult decision will have to be made at some point. But having an abundance of starting pitching really isn’t a bad problem to have, is it?
Pirates (26-18) – Astros (12-32)
Win: Locke (4-1)
Loss: Harrell (3-5)
Save: Grilli (17)