Jeff Locke walked six batters and struck out none in his last start against the Brewers, and I was steeling myself a bit for a poor result this afternoon. Instead, Locke breezed through 7.1 innings, and the Pirates beat the Cardinals 3-1 to take a key series from the Cardinals.
I don't want to put as fine a point on Locke's performance as the broadcast did, because Locke only struck out three and walked two, and he gave up a solo homer to Matt Holliday in the third. But there's something to be said for making it look easy, and innings like the seventh, where Locke threw a mere five pitches, certainly looked easy. Locke also got 13 outs on the ground.
The Pirates, meanwhile, got to Adam Wainwright early. Wainwright hit Russell Martin in the second, then gave up a two-run shot to Ike Davis. It was, of course, Davis' second straight game with a homer, as if he were finally beginning to remember what the Pirates acquired him for. Then in the third, the Pirates answered Holliday's homer by beginning their half with three straight singles (the last of which was Travis Snider's, which came on a really well executed bunt attempt that turned into a base hit -- I almost didn't know what I was watching). Andrew McCutchen brought home one run with a sacrifice fly.
That's all the Pirates would get, but that's all they would need. After Locke exited, Tony Watson completed the eighth uneventfully, and Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for a save. The Pirates are now one game out of a playoff spot.