It won’t be a .500 season. It likely won’t even be a 75 win season. But one milestone was cleared in this game – the Pirates won for the 70th time on the year for the first time since 2004.
The early part of the game looked promising for starter Jeff Locke to pick up his first Major League win. Garrett Jones crushed a homer to deep center in the second off of Edinson Volquez with Ryan Doumit aboard. In the third Doumit’s seeing eye grounder found it’s way into right field with two gone to score Andrew McCutchen.
Locke stranded a pair of runners in the third and in the fourth inning but escaped both jams. He wouldn’t make it out of the fifth. He walked Volquez with one away. Brandon Phillips singled. With two away, Joey Votto singled to make it 3-1. That double sent Locke packing. Daniel Moskos whiffed Jay Bruce to end the inning.
Chris Leroux gave up a run in the sixth. Todd Frazier singled and moved up on a ground ball out. He would score with two gone when Paul Janish singled.
It stayed 3-2 until the ninth. Joel Hanrahan was in to close it out. He allowed singles to Chris Heisey and Phillips before getting Drew Stubbs on a fielder’s choice bunt (Heisey out at third with Phillips and Stubbs safe) and whiffing Votto. Bruce was walked intentionally to load the bases and bring Frazier to the plate. Hanrahan hit him on the wrist to allow the tying run to score.
But the Pirates rallied right back. Bill Bray gave up a one out double to Jason Jaramillo. Bray was pulled in favor of Nick Masset. Jaramillo was replaced by the speedier Chase d’Arnaud. Ryan Ludwick poked one off the wall in center to score d’Arnaud for win #70.
Locke lasted just 4-2/3 innings. He allowed six hits, one walk and one run. Volquez also got a no decision. He allowed three runs in five innings on six hits. Bray was the loser. Hanrahan won for the first time this year after blowing his fourth save.
Doumit and McCutchen both had two hits, with Cutch having a double and a triple.
Jason Grilli whiffed three hitters in the eighth. One of those hitters – Ramon Hernandez – reached on a wild pitch third strike.
No complaints about Hanrahan overall. But he didn’t hold the lead in this one.
Volquez entered the game with a 1-0 mark against Pittsburgh. This was Locke’s first appearance versus the Reds.
Some zaniness in the fifth inning. With Volquez on second and Phillips on first with one away, Drew Stubbs smoked a one hop grounder to Ronny Cedeno. Volquez stayed put on the bag at second while Cedeno flipped to Neil Walker, who stepped on second. Walker’s actions forced out Phillips at second. But in the confusion, the Pirates thought Phillips, who was lingering between second and first, wasn’t actually out. So, they got him into a rundown and tagged him out. The second base ump singled another out, leaving everyone momentarily thinking the Pirates had recorded an inning ending double play. Not the case. Time was called and order was restored. Volquez was on second. Bruce was on first and then Votto doubled in the Reds first run.
Bucs continue to draw pretty well despite being out of it and school having started. Reported attendance by MLB was more than 23,500 people at PNC for this one.
It had been exactly one month since Jones last homered.