Locke’s effort gets wasted
PITTSBURGH – This was the same Jeff Locke that made the All-Star team a year ago. Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it also was a terrific outing for Yovani Gallardo.
Locke pitched seven sharp innings in a spot start, but the Pirates left 10 runners on base in a 1-0 loss to Gallardo and the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Locke was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to start in place of Charlie Morton, who was pushed back a day to Monday. Pittsburgh also put right-hander Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue.
The Pirates needed a big strong game from Locke, and the left-hander allowed three hits and one run. He also struck out five and walked one while throwing just 75 pitches.
“That’s the young man we saw pitching in the first half of the season last year,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Good tempo, good rhythm, he didn’t mess around, man, he got right after it.”
It was Locke’s second start of the season for the Pirates. He allowed six runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against San Francisco on May 5.
Locke (0-1) said he was on the same page with catcher Russell Martin.
“We just knew I was going to pitch my game,” Locke said. “(Martin) just put down the right fingers and moved the ball around a little bit.”
Gallardo (4-4) had a season-high eight strikeouts in his second win in his last three starts. He allowed four hits and walked one.
The Pirates had at least one baserunner in five of Gallardo’s seven innings, but the right-hander got sharper as the game progressed.
“I was able to get out of some big situations and make pitches,” Gallardo said. “That’s always something positive to go from.”
Milwaukee got the only run of the game in the seventh. Jonathan Lucroy led off with a liner down the left-field line that was grabbed by a fan while it was in play. He was awarded a ground-rule double on the interference.
Lucroy went to second on Carlos Gomez’s lineout to center and scored on Aramis Ramirez’s bouncer to first.
The Pirates then loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half. But Gallardo struck out pinch-hitter Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison popped out to second to end the inning.
“Yo was outstanding,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “Just hung in there and made some great pitches, got better as the game went on.”
Pittsburgh left 10 runners on base in its 10th loss in 13 games this season against NL Central-leading Milwaukee. Martin and Hurdle also were ejected in the eighth.
With two out and Andrew McCutchen on third, Martin looked a called third strike on a curveball from Francisco Rodriguez on the lower-inside edge of the plate. Martin spiked his bat and helmet in the batter’s box. Hurdle then confronted umpire Ed Hickox about the call and was thrown out.
Roenicke said he thought the pitch looked questionable based on the way his catcher reacted to it.
“(Lucroy) made that pitch look a little not-as-good-as it probably was,” Roenicke said. “Just because he was maybe in between trying to block or decide where the ball was going to end up.”
Lucroy said he did not think the pitch was a strike.
The Pirates then put runners on first and second in the ninth, but Rodriguez got Travis Snider to hit into a fielder’s choice that advanced Starling Marte to third and retired Harrison for his 19th save.
“I ended up making the right pitches to get out of (the jam),” Rodriguez said. “So it’s definitely a nice win.”
NOTES: Lucroy had three hits and improved his batting average to .335, third-best in the National League. … Morton (2-7, 3.31 ERA) got an extra day of rest and will pitch against Chicago tonight. … Milwaukee RHP Marco Estrada (5-2, 4.19 ERA) starts when the Brewers begin a three-game series with the Mets on Tuesday.