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Pirates Lose 7-4 After Clint Hurdle Lets Evan Meek Blow Bucs' Chances

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 16, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: Erik Bedard #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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Erik Bedard struck out seven batters after having his start delayed by back spasms. Unfortunately, he also gave up three homers -- a solo shot by Ian Desmond in the third, and then back-to-back homers by Adam LaRoche and Xavier Nady, and the Nats led 4-1 after six. (Back in the Pirates' dugout, Nate McLouth must have felt lonely.)

At that point, there was a spasm of "THE GAME IS OVER" posts to Twitter, but as we all know, individual baseball games have ways of making predictions look silly -- even when Gio Gonzalez is racking up strikeouts (he ended up with 10 in seven innings) against a terrible Pirates offense. With one out in the top of the seventh, Rod Barajas walked. Two batters later, Josh Harrison (!?!) came up and smacked a 94 MPH fastball for a long homer to left-center. I guess you can't blame Twitter for not having seen that coming, but in any case, the Pirates were back in the game, with the Nationals' lead down to one.

At that point, Clint Hurdle brought in Evan Meek. Now, let's think about this for about three seconds. Yesterday, Meek was not good enough to be in the Pirates' bullpen. Today, Hurdle felt he was good enough to pitch in the seventh inning of a competitive game, even though Juan Cruz, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan all got the night off last night. I'm sure the Pirates want Meek to soak up some innings with a short bullpen and Kevin Correia having gone only 3.2 innings last night, but come on -- at some point, you've got to try to win the game.

Meek started his outing by hitting Jesus Flores. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Meek then walked Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman to load the bases. The lefty LaRoche, who had already homered, walked to the plate. Hurdle left Meek in. This, Twitter users, is when you make that bold prediction. Meek grooved a knee-high cutter that was about a foot from Barajas' glove, and LaRoche socked it into the right-field corner for a bases-clearing double. 7-3 Nationals, and lo, THE GAME WAS OVER. The Bucs got one back in the eighth but lost, 7-4.