In Jeff Locke’s Major League debut, the Pirates were beaten on a one hit shutout. They got five more hits in his second start. But that wasn’t enough. Locke was lifted after three innings and James Loney poked a three run pinch hit homer as the Dodgers pulled away late.
The Pirates threatened against Hiroki Kuroda a couple of times but never put much of an inning together. Neil Walker’s one out double in the first was wasted. In the second Garrett Jones singled and Pedro Alvarez walked. With one out, Ronny Cedeno’s bouncer was tossed errantly by Dee Gordon trying to turn a double play. Cedeno was safe at first and Jones scored the first run of the game.
Los Angeles tied it up immediately when Jerry Sands and Rod Barajas hit consecutive doubles to begin the home half of the second. But Locke settled down and got three straight ground ball outs to end the inning.
The third inning was a little more of the same. The Dodgers first three hitters reached as Gordon singled and Justin Sellers walked. Matt Kemp singled in one run. Juan Rivera’s bouncer to Alvarez at third was turned into one out as the throw from Alvarez to Walker at second was high and Walker was unable to turn the double play. Kemp was retired at second, but Rivera was safe at first and Sellers scored the third Dodger run of the game.
After facing the minimum in the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Pirates offense showed some life in the sixth. Alex Presley led off with a homer to cut the lead to 3-2. Walker and Ryan Doumit both singled. But Kuroda got pop outs from Derrek Lee and Garrett Jones and then whiffed Ryan Ludwick to end the inning.
The bottom of the sixth would be disastrous for the Bucco bullpen. Daniel McCutchen gave up three consecutive one out singles (Russell Mitchell, Jame Carroll and Aaron Miles). That was enough to get him pulled from the game. Daniel Moskos relieved and gave up one run on an RBI grounder from Gordon. Chris Resop was summoned to replace Moskos. Loney, pinch hitting for Sellers, homered to make it 7-2.
Hong-Chih Kuo, Scott Elbert and Matt Guerrier allowed only two Pirate runners over the final three innings to seal it.
Locke was the losing pitcher. He gave up the first three runs in three innings. He allowed five hits and he walked two. No Dodgers struck out against him. Kuroda pitched six effective innings. The Pirates got just two runs (one earned) off him. He gave up five hits and two walks. He K’d seven.
Brian Burres tossed two scoreless innings for Pittsburgh to finish the game.
Walker and Doumit both had two hits.
Pedro Alvarez walked three times.
Locke wasn’t particularly effective.
The bullpen didn’t hold off a Dodgers rally.
The offense only collected six hits.
Buccos struck out twelve times.
Kuroda posted a sub 2.00 ERA in six previous starts against the Pirates. He racked up a 4-1 record in those starts.
This was just the fifth time all year that Andrew McCutchen didn’t start in center. Alex Presley started. Jose Tabata and Xavier Paul each made two starts in center earlier this year.
Alvarez walked three times in a game for the third time in his career and first time in 2011. This was just the fifth time in 2011 that he reached base three times in a game via hit and/or walk.
Bucs are eleventh in the league in walks but have struck out the third most of any National League club.