Man, that was bad. The Cardinals took the first four games of this series on the chin and tonight they got a few punches in and they were huge blows. They still lost the match so this largely doesn't matter but when you can put up 13 runs on 17 hits you made your point that you didn't want to be swept. Whatever.
Charlie Morton really had a tough outing. It was sort of the normal that you have seen early on from Morton where he will look lights out for stretches at the beginning of the game and then just sort of lose it all as the game progresses. Tonight he was only able to give five innings where he gave up five runs and ten (!!!!) hits. Things weren't bad in the first three innings as he only gave up a load run on a couple of two out hits but in the fourth things started to unravel in a big way. He loaded the bases up with no outs and eventually let three runs in on four hits. He loaded the bases again in the fifth inning with one out but was able to escape after a strikeout and groundout. Morton finished his outing giving up another run in the sixth on a Carlos Beltran double to left centerfield. It really just wasn't Morton's day and while he has had some stretches of inconsistency this year it is really hard to get a feel on him. When you watch him pitch early he flat dominates teams. Tonight he was all over the Cardinals hitters the first time through but they were able to adjust and get the better of him. It is a shame because I am a Morton fan but at some point he is going to have to get more consistent and not lose focus.
While Morton struggled so did Jeanmar Gomez. Gomez has been nothing short of great this season but tonight he just had a brutal night. The first six batters he faced reached base and when it was all said and done he gave up seven runs (five earned) on four hits while walking two batters. As they say, when it rains it pours.
How bad was it? The Cardinals scored eight runs on six hits in the seventh inning. Oy vey.
The offense really didn't help things out. As off-and-on as Morton was the offense didn't even record their first hit until the fifth inning. They did load the bases in the second inning but with Morton coming up to hit with the sacks packed and two outs weren't ideal. Outside of that the Pirates grounded into a double play off the bat of Jordy Mercer in the fifth inning to negate a Jose Tabata leadoff single and then when Morton picked up his first hit of the season (and first since 2011) he wasn't able to score on a Starling Marte double to deep right centerfield. Neil Walker was unable to pick him up when at that time it was only a 4-0 game. After that the at bats were just a formality as the Cardinals just poured it on. That's baseball sometimes.
Things just weren't going right for the Pirates tonight. You kind of expected on of these games to happen and after how the Pirates played some last night and how the Cardinals bats started to come to life and to be perfectly honest to expect a five game sweep was pretty greedy. Not that it is bad to be greedy but four game sweeps are hard enough to come by let alone beating one of the best teams in baseball five times in a single series.
The Pirates now get the Rockies and Marlins at PNC Park while the Cardinals will play the Reds before they take on the Dodgers. They are 1.5 games up and as bad as tonight was for the Pirates all things told things are pretty good. Actually, real good.
If you are still feeling down here is a picture of pitching coach Ray Searage for your viewing pleasure: