Chris Stewart had his biggest day as a member of the Pirates today, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI. He led the team with a WPA score of .294.
His first double came in the second inning when he knocked a ball down the left field line that ended up getting lodged underneath the wall padding. Jordy Mercer, who was on first base, came around and seemed to score a game-tying run. However, the umpires ruled that the play was dead as soon as the ball became stuck, and Mercer was sent back to third base. Clint Hurdle came out to argue the ruling, since the Rockies left fielder, Brandon Barnes, did not signal that the ball was under the padding and initially appeared to be attempting to make a play.
Hurdle explained the ruling afterwards.
"As soon as the ball became lodged, it's a dead ball. The only time they are going to ask the outfielder ... [is] in any ballpark where the bullpen are in play and there is chairs where the ball might get underneath."
Stewart's second double was also affected by the ballpark, as it hopped up into the left field seats for a ground rule double. This time when Mercer scored from second, it counted as a run and tied the game.
When he was asked if it was strange to have two doubles affected by the park, Stewart delivered the quote of the day:
"I mean, it's strange for me to have two doubles, period."
Aggressive baserunning pays off
The Pirates first four runs of the game were the direct consequence of aggressive plays on the base paths.
Gaby Sanchez led off the second inning with a single. Neil Walker followed with a base hit to right field. Sanchez ripped around second and headed to third on the play. Rockies' right fielder, Carlos Gonzalez came up throwing. As soon as he released the ball, Walker headed for second. Both Sanchez and Walker were safe. The next batter, Mercer, promptly brought them both home with a single.
In the sixth, Mercer stole second base after reaching on a walk. The stolen base allowed him to score on Stewart's double.
Finally, in the seventh, Josh Harrison stole second after being walked and Andrew McCutchen drove him home with a single.
"The 90s [feet] are something we talk about everyday," Hurdle said. "Free 90s, and they're not free, you got to make them happen. But to look for opportunities, whether it is a dirt-ball read, whether it's a hit and run, whatever we feel compelled to do, we've got guys that are selling out and getting it done."
"That's kind of an aggressive play from Gaby and myself," Walker said of the play in the second inning. "We're going to be aggressive. We're going to get thrown out, we're going to look stupid at times, but at the same time we're going to make aggressive plays that lead to runs. Some people may call it stupid, we call it aggressive."
Jeff Locke had a difficult first two innings, allowing two home runs and three runs. He settled down after that and held the Rockies scoreless until he was pinch hit for in the bottom of the sixth. Although he'll be credited with a quality start, it could have been worse as there were a lot of hard hit balls against him. For the game his pitching line reads: six innings pitched, seven hits allowed, three runs, two walks and three strikeouts.
"The runs come in early and kind of put the team and you in a bad spot right away," Locke said. "We get down, but we're never really out of a game. I don't think there's a lot of games you can pitch the way I pitched today and come away with a win at the end of the day."
Winning at home
Bucs have now swept their last two series at home and have won 11 of their last 13 at PNC Park.