Pirates have to adjust after extra innings

PITTSBURGH-The impact of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ disheartening Monday loss was felt all the way to Indianapolis.

Because the bullpen was well-used in the 13-inning loss to the San Francisco Giants, the Pirates had to abandon their plan to call up outfielder-first baseman Andrew Lambo.

Instead, they brought up righthander Phil Irwin to provide the bullpen with a fresh arm.

“We had a Plan A and a Plan B depending on how the game went,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s no doubt we needed to add a pitcher.”

So Lambo stayed in Indianapolis, missing a chance to cash in on his good work in the minor leagues and perhaps win a share of the right field job.

He probably would have gotten at least a week with the Pirates. According to Hurdle, the team will next need a spot starter on May 13. Until then, the Pirates were willing to carry one less pitcher and one more position player.

The first part of the transaction went as planned: Jeff Locke, who started Monday’s game, went back to Indianapolis after giving up six earned runs in five-plus innings of work.


n It seems as though more teams are finding a way to avoid facing Andrew McCutchen, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player.

In his first 152 plate appearances this season, McCutchen has drawn 26 walks. Teams would rather pass on him and take their chances with the hitters behind him, notably Pedro Alvarez.

If the pitches are outside the strike zone, McCutchen said he’ll take the walk and avoid chasing them.

“Barry Bonds was the best at it,” McCutchen said. “He had more walks than strikeouts for I don’t know how long. His on-base percentage was over .500 and his average was still .300-plus. It shows you that it takes patience, but at the same time, it’s aggressive patience, if that makes sense.

“It’s being ready to hit, and ready to hit your pitch. If they don’t give you your pitch, then I’ll take the walk. That’s what I want to be, and that’s what I’m working toward.”

n Irwin, 27, made one appearance for the Pirates last season, his only major league experience.

He started the April 14 home game against Cincinnati and had no decision with a 7.71 ERA. He worked four and 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, four earned runs with four walks and four strikeouts.

Irwin made two starts at Indianapolis, then worked in relief in five games. He had allowed one run in his last 9 and 1/3 innings at Class AAA.

“He’s shown some improvement [at Indianapolis] and gotten some experience,” Hurdle said. “It’s an opportunity for him to give us length. We needed another pitcher, and he fit the criteria for what we need for tonight’s game and for tomorrow afternoon.”

The Pirates have an open date on Thursday, which will give the bullpen a chance to reload.

Hurdle went into Tuesday’s game planning to avoid using Mark Melancon, Jared Hughes and Jeanmar Gomez because of their recent workloads.