Locke's difficulties continue thanks to old friends
PHOENIX — Imagine Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke's surprise Thursday night when Andy Marte stepped in to pinch hit for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning of a tie game.
“I didn't even know he was on the team,” Locke said with a shrug. “I had no idea. I hadn't even seen him since I was in (Atlanta) Braves camp (in 2005).”
Marte, a 30-year-old backup infielder, hadn't taken a swing in the big leagues since 2010, when he was with the Cleveland Indians. The Diamondbacks called him up from the minors a few hours before the game.
Locke threw a first-pitch fastball, and Marte watched it for strike one. Locke came back with a fat changeup, and Marte whacked it into the left-field seats.
The two-run shot gave the Diamondbacks a 5-3 lead. Two batters later, 32-year-old Aaron Hill clubbed a solo homer, putting Locke and the Pirates on the fast track to a 7-4 loss.
Completing this Throwback Thursday was Diamondbacks reliever Oliver Perez — the lefty who was a 12-game winner with the Pirates a decade ago. Perez, who at 32 is racking up playing time toward an MLB pension by toiling in the bullpen, tossed two-thirds of an inning to pick up the win.
As Arizona's old-timers were sprinting around the bases, it was Locke, 26, who seemed like a geezer. After the game, Locke, who yielded six runs and nine hits in 5 1⁄3 innings, said he simply ran out of gas.
“It was a combination of sitting for just a minute (between innings), not making pitches and being a little fatigued at the end,” he said.
Locke faced 19 batters and gave up three runs over the third, fourth and fifth innings. He didn't get a lot of down time in that span, as Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter zipped through those innings with just 37 pitches.
“We had some innings that went on longer than we needed them to go,” said Locke, who threw 104 pitches.
Only four of the runs against Locke were earned, thanks to shoddy defense in the fourth inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Locke got Collmenter to hit a grounder to the left side. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez had all day to throw the ball — Collmenter is a pitcher and runs like one — so he took a step, paused, double-clutched ... and threw the ball into the dirt near the first-base bag.
Ike Davis got his glove on it but could not make the catch. Davis was charged with the error, and two runs scored.
“We were in position to put the inning away,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We didn't.”
It was Locke's second rough outing in a row. A week ago in Colorado, he was tagged for six runs in 6 2⁄3 innings against the Rockies.
Could some of his fatigue problem be due to the long road trip in high-altitude conditions?
“I don't know too much about stuff like that,” Locke said. “I just look at it as two poor games. I had two handfuls of great ones and then two poor ones in a row. They kind of stand out when they go back to back like that.”
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: Alvarez having success looking the other way
- Pirates use big 7th inning to sweep Marlins, stretch winning streak
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Gameday: Pirates at Padres, May 28, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Struggling Polanco held out of starting lineup
- THE BLAME GAME
- Book details secret to Pirates’ turnaround
- Pirates win 5th straight as offense continues to click in win over Marlins
- Pirates’ prospect Taillon returns to mound following surgery
- Biertempfel: Despite Marte’s inconsistency, Pirates’ Hurdle keeping faith
- Pirates notebook: Substance rule a sticky subject