Locke gets rocked as Pirates are knocked off by Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — It felt like a loss Thursday afternoon when the Pirates couldn't make a deal before the non-waiver trading deadline.
A few hours later, the team experienced the real thing at Chase Field.
The Arizona Diamondbacks knocked around Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke in the middle innings and pulled away for a 7-4 victory.
Locke (2-3) pitched 51⁄3 innings and gave up six runs (four earned) and nine hits. He walked two and struck out five.
“The consistency from time to time wavered on him,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
Management tried to come up with pitching help in the trade market and set its sights high by bidding for aces Jon Lester and David Price. However, the Pirates were unable to land even a middle reliever for the stretch drive.
Trying to bounce back from a ragged outing (62⁄3 innings, 10 hits, six runs) in his previous start against the Colorado Rockies, Locke was strong early. But the Diamondbacks broke a 3-3 tie with two home runs off Locke in the sixth inning.
“The game's funny,” Locke said. “I went out for the sixth inning, feeling a little bit fatigued, trying to make pitches and fighting myself a little bit.”
After Nick Ahmed singled, Andy Marte launched a changeup into the left field seats. It was Marte's first home run in the majors since Sept. 8, 2010, when he played for the Cleveland Indians.
With one out, Aaron Hill homered to right.
The Pirates got a run back in the seventh. Gregory Polanco doubled, and Andrew McCutchen lined an RBI single to center.
Ahmed hit his first career homer in the eighth off Stolmy Pimentel.
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the second inning against right-hander Josh Collmenter. Neil Walker singled, and Ike Davis walked. Russell Martin stroked a two-run double to left-center field.
Locke retired the first eight batters he faced, then put himself in a jam in the third inning.
With outs, Collmenter hit a grounder up the middle. Locke tipped the ball, which slowed it down just enough for Collmenter to reach on an infield single.
Rookie Ender Inciarte, whom Baseball America rated the “fastest baserunner” in Arizona's farm system this spring, hit a routine roller to the right side. Inciarte was a blur down the line and beat the throw by second baseman Walker.
“Sometimes, little things like that can trigger a big inning,” Locke said.
Aaron Hill walked, loading the bases for the 2013 home run co-leader, Paul Goldschmidt.
Locke fell behind 3-1, then got a borderline call for strike two. Goldschmidt fouled off an inside pitch, then went down swinging at a 91 mph fastball.
Locke was not as fortunate in the fourth. The Diamondbacks again loaded the bases on a single, a double and a hit batter.
With two outs, Collmenter hit a bouncer to third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who double-clutched before making a low throw. First baseman Ike Davis muffed the catch and was charged with the error. Two runs scored.
Jordan Pacheco's two-out RBI single gave the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
Walker tied it in the sixth with a solo shot that splashed down in the pool beyond the fence in right-center field. It was Walker's 16th homer, matching his career high from last season.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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