This game wasn't all sunshine and roses as the final score might seem if you didn't watch the game. The game started off well enough with the first three Pirates hitters recording a hit that platted a run followed by a second inning where Garrett Jones and Jordy Mercer both went deep. The Pirates then added seven (!!!!) runs in the fifth inning to break open what was a tie game at the time and the offense collected 13 hits including three from Jose Tabata and two each from Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Mercer.
The bad was Jeff Locke. With a 3-0 lead and doing fairly well in the first two innings (as in he didn't give up any runs) he really fell apart and allowed the Giants to score a run in the third and then two more in the fourth inning. You might think that's not that bad but it was way worse than the three runs he gave up. He looked just terrible and he was so bad that Clint Hurdle didn't bring him back out for the fifth inning after the Pirates made it 10-3 after four and a half innings and only needing to get three outs to qualify for the win throwing 73 pitches. Instead Jeanmar Gomez came in and threw three nearly perfect innings (allowed only a walk).
To me Hurdle not sending Locke back out there really says a lot. Hurdle is a manager that loves to play for the win for the pitcher and with a seven run lead I really wouldn't have had much of a problem with him trying to get another inning or two out of Locke but through four innings Locke had given up five hits and walked four so he had just seen enough. Good on Hurdle for doing that though. Like I said I don't think I would have had a problem with him sending him back out there (after letting him hit in the top of the fourth) but this was a change of pace for him.
I really wouldn't be all that surprised to see Gomez take the rotation spot from Locke coming up soon. Locke was great in the first half but the walks are starting to catch up with him and he just hasn't been good, at all. I will be the first to admit that I wasn't a fan of having Gomez on the roster at the beginning of the year but I was dead wrong. He's come in and really done anything you could have asked from him and right now I think Locke maybe just needs a start skipped and then try to trot him back out there.
Thankfully the offense was able to cover up. It was really great to see them smoke Matt Cain and then Jose Mijares who Bud Black left out there to basically lay under the bus the rest of the night. Tabata reached base three times and actually been swinging a decent bat lately. Nice to see at the top of the lineup with Starling Marte out.
Jones finally was able to get a hit after having only two in the previous 10 games and he even drew a walk against a left handed pitcher. Yes, it was that kinda night. Alvarez was really good last night as he blasted a pair of ground rule doubles that actually were unfortunate. In the third McCutchen had a one out single to center and then Alvarez doubled to left center which would have scored 'Cutch easily but he had to hold at third since the ball bounced over the fence and was not able to score. In the fifth with the bases loaded (and against a lefty) Alvarez blasted a ball to right center that would have cleared the bases but it once again bounced over the wall. I mean I guess we really can't complain about the results but it would have been nice for those two balls to stay in the park. Now, Alvarez did strikeout in his other three at bats but I am going to pretend like that didn't happen.
The Cardinals and Reds both won yesterday so this was a really good win for the Pirates (and I mean what win isn't good?) that keeps them in first place in the NL Central. The Cardinals have three more against the Braves while the Reds are starting a series against the Brewers. Winning this series would be really nice and this was a good start with the weakest of four starting pitchers on the bump.