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Pirates see winning streak end with walk-off grand slam

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


It feels like I've recapped an inordinate amount of Pirates losses, particularly a lot of clunkers and just generally annoying games.

This occurred to me when Charlie sent out the bat signal today, but I took the bait anyway, because writing about baseball on the internet is fun. You can hijack ledes to make them all about yourself and use the word "dinger" and do fun stuff like that.

So, of course the Pirates' seven-game winning streak didn't just end, but it did so in painful fashion, a 6-2 loss on a walk-off grand slam by Derek Norris, who had struck out in his four previous at-bats.

The Pirates almost got out of a ninth-inning bases-loaded, no-out jam, created in large part by Rob Scahill's ugly throwing error on a sacrifice-bunt attempt. With a five-man infield behind him, Scahill induced two forceouts at the plate. On the first, Francisco Cervelli had a chance to double Abraham Almonte off at third, but, like the rest of the world, he wasn't thinking about the possibility of Almonte doing anything but running on contact, and held onto the ball. The hard part was over with, but Norris smashed one over the left-center field wall anyway.

It was a shame, because Francisco Liriano pitched masterfully. He fed the Padres a steady diet of sliders and changeups for 11 strikeouts, one walk and three hits in six innings. It was Liriano's second straight 10-plus-strikeout performance following his ugly outing against Minnesota.

The Pirates got two runs on Pedro Alvarez's shift-beating single in the third. They missed out on one earlier in the inning when Gregory Polanco, who had reached on a pretty bunt single, was thrown out trying to score from third on a wild pitch. Clint Hurdle challenged the call, but replays were 50-50 at best and the original call stood.

James Shields was quite strong, with six strikeouts, two walks and six hits in six innings, but it felt good for the Pirates to come out ahead in the starting pitching battle.

Jared Hughes promptly blew the lead in the seventh, though, allowing a walk and an infield single before Almonte's two-run double. The only out Hughes got was on a sacrifice bunt before he was lifted for Arquimedes Caminero.

The Pirates got walked off for the sixth time, while they haven't won by walk-off this year. That isn't cause for alarm at all, particularly when you haven't lost in a week, but I'll try and bring you some good news one of these days.