Pirates beat Rays 6-5, but lose Starling Marte

Brian Blanco

The Pirates beat the Rays 6-5 and moved to 39-38 in the process, but Starling Marte left the game after being hit in the head while sliding.

Marte took a knee to the face while being caught stealing in the fifth, then took awhile to get up and was visibly wincing for a couple minutes after heading to the dugout. Let's hope it isn't a concussion. The Pirates, of course, outrighted Jose Tabata today; he might not be gone long.

In the first, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead when Gregory Polanco walked, stole second and moved to third on an error, then came home on Andrew McCutchen's groundout.

Jeff Locke walked the first batter he faced, Desmond Jennings, on four pitches, and I was worried his old control problems might rear their head after he'd gotten off to such a good start in that area this year. But he settled down, getting a double play and then a strikeout (thanks in part to some strong framing from Russell Martin), and then getting through 7 1/3 innings without too much trouble.

The Pirates' offense, meanwhile, picked up three more runs in the third. Pedro Alvarez led off with a walk, and Jordy Mercer reached with an infield single. Polanco then successfully sacrifice bunted, proving that he really is the superstar we all hoped he'd be. (Sarcasm aside, it was nice to see a player execute a sacrifice with little trouble -- we haven't seen much of that this year.) Marte then singled home a run before moving up to second on a wild pitch. McCutchen brought home Mercer on a single, and Marte came home on a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker.

The Rays scored a run in the fifth that happened almost entirely because Polanco lost a Logan Forsythe fly ball in the lights. Forsythe got credit for a triple on the play, then came home on Jose Molina's double, but the initial hit probably wouldn't have happened if Polanco had much experience playing in domes. No big deal, or at least that's how it looked at the time.

The Bucs made it 5-1 in the sixth, when Ike Davis hit a two-out double and came home on Josh Harrison's line-drive single. They picked up another when Martin hit a line-drive homer off Brad Boxberger in the eighth.

The Pirates appeared to be headed for a rout when Evan Longoria cut the lead to 6-3 with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, at which point the Pirates finally turned to the bullpen. Jared Hughes and Tony Watson pitched the eighth.

Mark Melancon allowed two singles in the ninth, then gave up a wild pitch and a Brandon Guyer single that cut to lead to 6-5. Evan Longoria then flied out to end it.

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