Who predicted this outcome? Jeff Locke quieted his critics tonight and tossed 6.0 shutout innings with eight strikeouts (whaaaat?) to give the Pirates bullpen some much-needed rest, and more importantly, a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in the series opener.
Locke pitching in Coors Field against Arenado, Cargo and Story seemed like a disaster in the making. Instead, Locke was steady and got out of a couple jams with some strikeouts thanks to a big strike zone. Just when everybody was about ready to give up on him too. After this performance, I don’t want to read one negative thing about Locke for at least the next five days until his next start. As for the Rockies big three? They went a combined 1-for-10 in this game.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the 5th inning on a RBI ground out by John Jaso that scored Josh Harrison for the first run of the game. Gregory Polanco singled then used some astute baserunning to get into position at third base to score on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 in the 7th inning. Jason Rogers and John Jaso drew a walk after the wild pitch and then Matt Joyce launched his second home run of the season, a big three-run shot. Seriously, how good are the Pirates bench players this season? Joyce started in LF to give McCutchen a day off and he provided again with two hits and the three-run blast to break the game open.
A.J. Schugel worked a scoreless 2.1 innings and since he came into the game in the bottom of the 7th inning with the tying run on deck, he picks up his first save of his career.
The offense recorded their big hit, Locke proved effective just when we needed it, bullpen saved for tomorrow and beyond and the Bucs pick up their fourth win in their last five and first game of the four-game series. All in all, not a bad way to start their final stop on a long road trip.