Volquez goes distance as Pirates roll to victory over Cardinals
ST. LOUIS — Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage usually writes up a detailed scouting report for each game and goes over it intently with that day's starter.
Thursday, however, Searage tried a different kind of pregame briefing when right-hander Edinson Volquez faced the St. Louis Cardinals for the fourth time this season.
“Ray came to me and said, ‘Go, pitch and win,' ” Volquez said. “That's all he said. I know those guys from St. Louis pretty well. So I just followed (catcher Russell) Martin, kept the ball down and went for it.”
It worked. Volquez tossed a six-hitter — his first complete game in almost two years — as the Pirates routed the Cardinals, 9-1.
Until Thursday, the Pirates had been one of four big league teams without a complete game this season.
Volquez had waited since July 19, 2012, when he did it for the San Diego Padres against the Houston Astros.
Volquez (8-6) was brilliant, scattering six singles. He walked one and struck out five to rack up his fourth consecutive win.
“I never lost my focus,” Volquez said. “After the fifth, I was like, ‘Let's go for it.' I kept pitching like it was 1-0.”
The Cardinals had just one runner reach second base from the fifth inning on. Volquez threw 114 pitches and took advantage of three double plays.
“One thing I've noticed about him,” manager Clint Hurdle said, “when it gets past the fifth, he smells the finish. It's not like he's looking to just give you six or seven. He's going to go until you take him out.”
The Pirates amassed 10 hits, half of them coming against right-hander Shelby Miller (7-8).
Martin had three hits, including a solo homer. Andrew McCutchen had two hits and scored twice. Neil Walker and Josh Harrison each hit a two-run double.
The Pirates' first four runs all came with two outs.
“The team that gets the most two-out hits is usually the team that wins,” Walker said. “We didn't really hit with runners in scoring position the first three games (of the series). Tonight, we took advantage of some mistakes and were able to play our game.”
The Pirates broke open the game with a three-run fifth inning. The big blow was an RBI single by McCutchen that made it 2-1.
Catcher Tony Cruz set up outside, but Miller's 95 mph fastball drifted over the middle of the plate at the top of the strike zone. McCutchen went up and got it, and lashed an opposite-field single.
With the Pirates up 4-1 in the sixth, things quickly went from sublime to ridiculous and back again.
Pedro Alvarez reached on an infield bouncer that reliever Tyler Lyons couldn't field cleanly. Jordy Mercer hit a comebacker, but Lyons threw it away at second, and both runners were safe on the error.
Volquez's bunt was grabbed by third baseman Matt Carpenter, who threw the ball to second ... to no one. Center fielder Jon Jay was backing up the play and was able to scoop the ball and run to the bag in time to force out Mercer.
A 5-8 fielder's choice putout at second base? Yep.
“I have never, ever seen that,” Hurdle said, grinning. “Maybe in a tee-ball game somewhere, but never at the major league level.”
Gregory Polanco walked, loading the bases. Harrison's double one-hopped the outfield wall to make it 6-1. Polanco scored on a passed ball, and Harrison came home on McCutchen's flyout to deep center.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Prospect Sanchez makes 1st start at first base with Indy
- Time on the bench gets Snider back into Pirates lineup
- Saturday’s scouting report: Pirates at Brewers
- Harrison’s 5 RBIs help Pirates pound Brewers
- Pirates’ Axford overcame long odds to reach majors
- Statistically speaking: Pirates, Brewers possess strengths up the middle
- Pirates notebook: Morton hopes to return this season
- Braves’ error, Sanchez’s sacrifice fly in 9th help Pirates snap long skid
- Friday’s scouting report: Pirates at Brewers