Bucs: McDonald Struggles Early, Crotta Late As Pirates Lose
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PITTSBURGH — A four-run first inning put the Pirates behind just enough to prevent a comeback, as Pittsburgh dropped its third loss in four games against Colorado, 6-5.
Bucs starter James McDonald walked two and gave up a single to Seth Smith, driving in Jonathan Herrera to start the game. Jose Lopez followed with a three-run home run to left field, putting the Pirates in a 4-0 hole before stepping to the plate.
“There is that sense of purpose that we don’t want to give up one day,” said Street about the Rockies’ 6-2 start — second best in franchise history. “We’ve learned that over the course of the last two years how important those days, especially in April and May, show up in September.”I love our approach. It’s a humble, fighting, grinding approach. We’ve got a lot of talent.”
As was the case on Friday night, Pittsburgh slowly chipped away at the deficit for the next few innings.
Ronny Cedeno drove in Pedro Alvarez in the second inning on a sacrifice fly to center field in the second, closing the gap to 4-1. In the third, Andrew McCutchen drove Jose Tabata home on a single. McCutchen and Neil Walker advanced to second and third base, respectively, on a throwing error, and Lyle Overbay drove both of them home with a double to center to tie the game, 4-4.
The Pirates scored one run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to tie Friday’s game after Ross Ohlendorf gave up a three-run homer to Jason Giambi in the first inning. Then on Saturday,
Walker was involved again in the fourth, driving home McDonald on a ground out to first to put Pittsburgh ahead, 5-4.
That lead lasted until the seventh, when Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was forced to pull McDonald with one on and two out. McDonald finished the afternoon with five runs earned on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He threw 103 pitches, 57 for strikes.
Mike Crotta came on in relief and couldn’t register a single out, walking Herrera and allowing a single to Jason Giambi that scored one. Crotta then walked Troy Tulowitzki and Smith, plating the game-winning run.
“Tough day, just didn’t execute my pitches; that’s my job,” Crotta said. “It’s tough to get outs when you walk people. There’s eight guys out there and if they put it in play, chances are they hit it at somebody. If you walk a guy, nobody’s there to help you.”
The Pirates struck out five times in the final three innings to lose, 6-5.
“We’re all right,” Overbay said. “That’s a very good team over there. They’ve got some good players. We just got into a situation where we didn’t continue hitting. We didn’t get that killer instinct.”
Chris Gates | Bucs Blog