The Pirates rode big games from Jeff Locke and Starling Marte to a 6-4 win over the Phillies Monday, their fourth straight victory.
Forget about the Phillies' four-run total -- three of those came on a sloppy eighth inning from Jared Hughes and Tony Watson. Locke allowed just one run in seven innings and looked great doing it, striking out nine, placing his fastball well much of the night and showing none of the control problems that have dogged him in recent starts.
Meanwhile, the Pirates got a two-run homer from Marte (who also doubled and singled in the game) in the fifth, then had a big four-run eighth inning capped by RBI doubles by Jordy Mercer and Brent Morel. Morel, by the way, had a great game filling in for Josh Harrison, picking up two hits and playing some mean defense at third.
Minus the usual bunting misadventures and that ugly bottom of the eighth inning, the Pirates looked great in this one, continuing to take care of business as they try to establish some separation in the Wild Card race. Speaking of which, the Braves lost, and the Brewers are currently losing. The Cardinals won, and the Giants are off tonight.