by Zane Heiple
|Photo by Getty Images|
A lot as gone right for the Pittsburgh Pirates of late, but tonight against the Houston Astros in one inning everything went wrong. Charlie Morton was cruising again tonight for the Pirates until the sixth inning when a pair of errors, a bad defensive decision, and some timely hitting dug the Buccos in a hole that they could not climb out of.
Pittsburgh actually jumped out on top early in the first inning, when Andrew McCutchen singled home Alex Presley. Neil Walker then flew out to Carlos Lee in left field and then doubled off Garrett Jones, who made a bad read on the ball, at second base. After that both teams were held scoreless until the Stros piled on in the sixth.
It all started on a fielding error by Chase d’ Arnaud on a groundball by Michael Bourn. Angel Sanchez would then have an RBI double and advance to third on an error by McCutchen. Carlos Lee would then triple when Cutch dove for a ball and missed, allowing the ball to roll to the centerfield wall. Lee would score on a Jeff Keppinger double. Two batters later, Keppinger would come around to touch home plate on a single by Clint Barmes. Morton would exit the game after facing Barmes. After five decent innings, he could not go any longer after poor execution by his defense. His final stat line read 5.1 innings pitched, allowing four runs on eight hits, with one walk and six strikeouts.
The Pirates would add a run in the bottom part of the inning when McCutchen would ground out to third, allowing d’Arnaud to score. While this closed the gap to 5-2, three runs would be all the closer our Battlin’ Buccos would get on the night. Houston starter Bud Norris pitched very well to help his team salvage a game in this series. He would go seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Even the bullpen had a rough night. After Chris Leroux pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, Daniel McCutchen was touched for two runs on three hits in the ninth, and Daniel Moskos would give up one more run before getting the final out. The Bucco bats went 1-2-3 in the bottom part of the ninth to give Houston an 8-2 victory.
This game had some flashbacks to 2010 in my opinion, one bad inning leading to a blowout victory. The offense never seemed to be really into the game after the first inning and there seemed to be a lot of mental mistakes in the field and on the base paths. The best thing to remember is that it is a long season and games will be lost. On a plus note, this was the 17th series that the team had won on the year. The Pirates will have tomorrow off before welcoming the Chicago Cubs to town to begin a three game series. James McDonald will start for the Buccos, while the North Siders will send Rodrigo Lopez to the bump. First pitch is schedule for 7:05.
Record vs. Astros: 7-2
Record vs. N.L. Central: 18-11
Home Record: 21-21
Overall Record: 45-42
Let’s Go Bucs!!!