Big Night From Alvarez Can’t Overcome Rough Start From Morton

The Pittsburgh Pirates scored seven runs tonight, which was only the second time this season they’ve scored more than five runs. Pedro Alvarez had another big night at the plate, going 2-for-4 with his sixth homer of the year. Unfortunately for the Pirates, they also gave up ten runs, which was the most the pitching staff has allowed on the season.

Charlie Morton was off to a good start until the fifth inning. Morton gave up an unearned run in the first after an error by Garrett Jones. He gave up another run in the fourth inning when Adam Wainwright reached on a fielding error by shortstop Clint Barmes, allowing Yadier Molina to score with two outs. That tied the game at two, with the Pirates previously getting on the board after a two run homer from Jose Tabata in the third — his first of the year.

Morton ran in to trouble in the fifth, with a 2-2 tie. With one out, Morton gave up a single to Matt Holliday, walked Carlos Beltran, then after a visit to the mound from Ray Searage, gave up a three run homer to David Freese. A Yadier Molina double and an Allen Craig single in the next two at-bats brought in another run, and ended the day for Morton. Jared Hughes came on and ended the day for Morton without any further damage.

Hughes did give up a run in the sixth when Matt Holliday hit a one out solo homer. Hughes was then credited for two more runs in the seventh. Yadier Molina led off by reaching on an error by Pedro Alvarez. Hughes gave up a single to Craig, then got Skip Shumaker to fly out to left. Tony Watson came on, and while facing his first batter, the Cardinals attempted a double steal. Rod Barajas threw wide of the bag to third, allowing Molina to score, and allowing Craig to move to third. Craig then scored on a two out homer by Rafael Furcal, putting St. Louis up 10-4.

The Pirates got two runs in the top half of the seventh when Pedro Alvarez hit his sixth homer of the year, bringing in Neil Walker on the two run shot. The ball off Adam Wainwright was absolutely crushed, with right fielder Carlos Beltran taking two steps, then watching it sail in to the stands. The homer puts Alvarez tied for ninth in the majors in home runs. On the season he has a homer every 10.33 at-bats in 62 at-bats.

The Pirates rallied in the eighth inning, putting three runs on the board to cut the lead in half. Garrett Jones came to the plate with two outs and runners at second and third and delivered with a two RBI single. Neil Walker followed with a single that moved Jones to second. The Cardinals went to left hander J.C. Romero with Alvarez coming to the plate, but the third baseman came through with an RBI single.

That was all the Pirates could pull together, as Jason Motte closed out the three run game in the ninth inning, giving the Cardinals a 10-7 victory.

GAME NOTES

  • Relief: Jared Hughes – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 1 HR; Tony Watson – 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 1 HR; Brad Lincoln – 1 IP, 1 K
  • Alvarez is 13-for-39 (.333) in his last 11 games, since starting the season 1-for-24. During that time he has five homers and four doubles. His slugging percentage over that span is .829.
  • The Pirates’ defense committed four errors, with the errors coming from Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez, Rod Barajas, and Clint Barmes.
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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Lee Young

    Pedro and Clint have 5 & 6 errors, respectively. Not good.

    Watson hasn’t pitched well this year. Javier Lopez, where have you gone?

  • Thom Kay

    It’s too early to replace Barajas with McKenry and trade Barmes for sunflower seeds…right?

    Because hovering around a .200 wOBA through April is killing us. Not like they’re doing anything special in the field either. Barmes has already matched his ’11 total in throwing errors. 

    Starting to get really worried. What are the Pirates options?

  • http://twitter.com/jamesmvargo James Vargo

    With all this pitching, especially with Karstens on the mend, and Locke, Wilson, and Owens near Major League ready, we can’t keep them all. Time to trade for a catcher or 1B. Aren’t the Yankees desperate for pitching again. I’d like to see what Corriea would fetch in the open market. His value is high right now.

    • KingCobra15

      probably about as much as Derrek Lee got the Orioles last year when we traded for him.

    • Kevin_Creagh

      Last year the Pirates had 9 pitchers throw at least 5 starts.  In 2010….9 pitchers throw at least 5 starts (this takes away the Aaron Thompson-type of spot start).  In short, you need more than 5 or 6 arms to get thru a year.

      There is nothing wrong with keeping Owens in AAA all year — he had an awful year in 2011 and he needs to re-prove himself.  Wilson is not a ML-caliber starter.  His future is a power lefty out of the bullpen.  Locke is there and waiting, but that’s what you do in AAA. 

      There’s no pressing need for them here and there’s no pressing need to trade them right away.  It’s good to have depth.  It’s a long season.

      • http://twitter.com/jamesmvargo James Vargo

        but we need hitting now. 

  • st1300b

    Barmes was brought in for consistency and he hasnt delivered on that, which if it was just the bat I could probably buy in still, but his glove has been as inconsistent as Ronny’s ever was. That play last night was clearly a turning point in the game, and as everyday a play as a SS can have. Defense can not be an issue at that position… Alvarez is less a concern with the glove if he’s hitting like this. 

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