Long ball sinks Pirates in 6-4 loss to Braves
Jeff Locke could have pitched a shutout Thursday night and probably still woken up on Friday a short-timer on the Pirates' roster.
The team is going to have too many starting pitchers once Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens get healthy, and that time rapidly is approaching. After Jonathan Sanchez, Locke is next in line to relinquish his spot in the rotation.
Giving up three home runs and threw 95 pitches in 42⁄3 innings in a 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves in the series opener didn't help his cause. B.J. Upton led off the game with a long ball followed by Chris Johnson in the third and Justin Upton in the fifth. Manager Clint Hurdle said the one thing that continues to challenge the 25-year-old left-hander is his overall consistency and getting ahead in counts.
“First-pitch strikes were good, but after that, there are some sequences that are sharp, but there are too many misses,” Hurdle said. “We've got to get more strikes, and we've definitely got to get more strikes to his glove side.”
Locke wasn't responsible for the home run that ultimately did in the Pirates, however. With the game tied, 4-4, Evan Gattis homered in his first career pinch-hit at-bat to drive in two off Jared Hughes (1-1) in the eighth inning.
Gattis, a 26-year-old rookie who battled drug and alcohol addiction and once worked as a janitor before returning to the game at which he excelled in high school, has hit five home runs this season and leads the Braves in game-winning RBI.
“I thought it was a good matchup with (Hughes),” Gattis said. “That's what I'm looking for, what he's throwing. I'm glad I got to see two pitches before (the homer). That helped.”
The Pirates had two home runs off Braves right-hander Julio Teheran from the players who've been struggling the most at the plate.
Catcher Russell Martin, batting .103 coming into the game, hit his first of the year to left field in the second inning to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead and Pedro Alvarez, batting .089, delivered a 448-foot blast to the center field, his first extra-base hit.
“It feels good to be able to put a big swing on a ball like that,” said Alvarez, who forced second baseman Dan Uggla to make a nice play for the out on a hard-hit ball in the first inning. “It's just day in and day out working to feel that comfort level and keep going forward.”
The Pirates scored one to tie the game, 4-4, in the fifth inning but left the bases loaded. Travis Snider, who's 8 for 20 in his last six games, led off the inning with a double off the right-field wall then scored when Garrett Jones hit a one-out double. Julio Teheran intentionally walked Alvarez with two outs, and the Pirates got a break when third baseman Juan Francisco's throw pulled first baseman Chris Johnson off the bag and Martin was safe. Clint Barmes flied out to end the inning.
Starling Marte saw his 10-game hitting streak end with five strikeouts in five at-bats.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at email@example.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.
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.
- Ferrante trial: Doctor couldn’t figure out what made Klein so sick
- Counterfeit credit card ring falls for failure to remember birth date on fake ID
- Pennsylvania chips in $2.5M for $38M boutique hotel in Pittsburgh
- Rossi: Middling Steelers must make a statement
- Port Authority steps loser to linking Oakland and Downtown, makes switch from Highmark to Aetna
- Arrest made in connection with Rostraver home invasion
- Predators winger Neal caught ‘blindsided’ by trade from Penguins
- Steelers free safety Mitchell is still settling into role on defense
- Steelers’ Adams delivers in pinch against Texans
- Pittsburgh’s Veterans Day parade moves to Saturday
- Monsour hospital properties sold at free-and-clear sale