A day off didn’t help the Pirates offense. For the second straight game the Pirates were beaten 2-0. This time the winning hurler was Jair Jurrjens of Atlanta. This time the victimized pitcher was Charlie Morton.
Morton wasn’t as sharp as he has been. He had only a pair of 1-2-3 innings in his 7-1/3 innings of work. Atlanta pieced together single runs in the second and the third, but left men on third base in the fifth and sixth inning.
In the second inning Alex Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman singled to put runners at the corners. Brooks Conrad fly ball scored Gonzalez. In the next inning Jordan Schafer – making his 2011 debut – drew a lead off walk. Martin Prado doubled him in, but was stranded when Morton retired Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Eric Hinske.
Jurrjens limited the Pirates to six singles. They came in bunches – Lyle Overbay and Chris Snyder singled in teh second but were stranded and Snyder and Ronny Cedeno singled in the sixth to no avail. Craig Kimbrel struck out two in a perfect ninth for the save.
Jurrjens walked one and struck out four in 7-2/3. Morton walked three and struck out four in 7-1/3. It was the 13th save for Kimbrel.
Morton was effective again. He continues to keep the ball on the ground – 16 of the 21 balls in play were grounders.
Jose Tabata and Snyder each had two hits.
Evan Meek returned and struck out the side in the ninth.
No runs for the second straight game.
The Pirates used three pinch hitters – Matt Diaz, Ryan Doumit and Xavier Paul – and all three struck out.
Pittsburgh was shutout in consecutive games on 4/19 and 4/20 earlier this year by Florida.
Jurrjens was 1-3 against Pittsburgh coming into this game despite a 3.13 ERA over four starts.
Morton is now 0-2 against his old team.
Alex Gonazalez had never faced Morton before but collected three hits.
Pittsburgh has allowed just ten runs over the last six games.