With a chance to earn the sweep over the Cardinals and gain three games in the standings over them they faltered today and just couldn't get the job done with runners in scoring position and dropped a one run decision, 5-4.
The Pirates scored all of their runs in the fourth inning highlighted by a three run bomb by Michael McKenry but starter Erik Bedard couldn't hold the lead and gave up a pair of runs in the fifth inning and that was all she wrote.
The Pirates had their chance with runners on each of the last three innings including runners on second and third with one out but McKenry and Josh Harrison both popped out in the infield and that was pretty much all she wrote.
The Pirates did have 12 hits in the game which is still pretty impressive since Andrew McCutchen was unavailable because of his sprained wrist. Five different players had two hits each so it was really a "spread the wealth" day but only going 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position is really going to hurt you. Even more so when you only need one run and can't push it across. These things happen though during the course of the year. You can't always knock them in and the Cardinals did a nice job of keep the Pirates off the board in big times.
Bedard has really not been good for much of the year for the Pirates. Usually he is able to get by but today he was only able to finish 4.2 innings today in 100 pitches and gave up five runs, all of which were earned. He was really good for the first few starts but ever since he came up lame he hasn't been able to get back to form. It has gotten so bad for Bedard that now both is ERA and WHIP are worse than Kevin Correia. While Correia's sabermetric numbers aren't as good that still says something.
Things were just weird today. Pedro Alvarez was one of the guys with a pair of hits but had to leave the game late after a single when he got some significant cramps in his hamstring. Rather than leave him out there to risk it Clint Hurdle took him out. It doesn't seem to be serious at all so that is good but still not something you like to see.
Hurdle was at it again with below average in game managing. When Bedard was lifted Chris Resop was brought in and it was a part of a double switch. In came Josh Harrison to play second base for Neil Walker who made the last out the prior half inning. Up to that point Walker was 2-for-3 and in the middle of playing some pretty good baseball offensively but was lifted for Harrison. I can see if you maybe are going to make a move like this in later innings but this is the fifth inning of a game where you have your best hitter out of the game. Hurdle is a great clubhouse manager who can get the guys ready to play but his in game managing is really terrible. Nobody is ever going to bring this up and I have no idea why. It sure would have been nice the next time through the order when there were runners on second and third with two outs to have someone that had a pair of hits and was 13-for-40 in his last nine games including today but hey, why have him playing in a game in order to keep Resop in for a few more outs.
There were some positives today. First comes Alex Presley. As you know I am not a big fan of Presley and have been pretty hard on him this year, for good reason, but he has been doing all right since his recall at the beginning of the month. Today he had a pair of hits that included a triple and has his triple slash line up to .240/.275/.389 after it was .220/.246/.305 before the demotion. He hasn't been great by any stretch of the imagination but he is earning some more playing time. Hopefully he can continue to play some decent baseball and give the Pirates some sort of production at the top of the lineup.
Pedro continues to play well. He had a pair of hits today and even though they were only a pair of singles it is good to see him still hitting the ball well for almost two weeks straight.
Good series win for the Pirates and now they go home to take on the Astros. You have to think taking at least three out of four is must.