Edinson Volquez added to a string of poor starts by Pirates pitchers and the offense was unable to muster much of anything, as the Bucs fell to the Blue Jays in a Sunday-afternoon drubbing, 7-2.
Volquez lasted only five innings, allowing six runs, all of them on two home runs. In his last two starts, Volquez has allowed 12 runs in 10.2 innings pitched.
Today's game is the seventh in a row that a Pirates' starter has not reached the sixth inning. Bucs' starting pitchers now have the fourth-highest ERA in the league, 4.59.
The difference-maker came early. In the second, the Blue Jays loaded the bases on two walks and an infield single. Cody Ramus then followed with a grand slam.
The Jays tacked on two more in the fifth on a Melky Cabrera two-run homer, and another in the eighth.
"He felt like [Volquez] was getting the ball in good spots down in the zone, he didn't get the calls and tried to make adjustments," Clint Hurdle said. "He probably over-adjusted too much the other way and painted himself in a corner [in the second inning]."
"I was all over the place and off my rhythm a little bit," Volquez said. "That was the first time that he [Chris Stewart] caught me in a game, and we were confused a little bit about what I was going to throw, what I was supposed to throw, but we'll get in the same place."
In the bottom of the fourth, Hurdle was ejected for arguing a called third strike on Jordy Mercer. The pitch appeared to be in the lower part of the zone that had caused Volquez problems in the second.
"I think it is pretty apparent that the low strike wasn't going to come into play today," Hurdle said. "The fact of the matter was that it had gotten to a point where a pitch that I thought hadn't been called all day got called a strike in a very pivotal at bat for us."
Josh Harrison was responsible for basically all of the Pirates' offensive output today. Leading off for the second game in a row, he hit a triple in his first at bat, and scored on a Walker groundout. In the eighth, he hit another triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew McCutchen.
With the loss, the Pirates dropped back to seven games below .500, 12-19. The San Francisco Giants, winners of five games in a row and nine of their last 10, come to PNC Park tomorrow. The scheduled pitching matchup is Jeff Locke vs. Matt Cain.