Jeff Locke paid for a couple of key fifth-inning walks as the Pirates narrowly lost to the Cardinals Tuesday, 4-3. It was the latest in a long string of one-run games for the two teams this year. The loss dropped the Pirates to six games back of the Cards in the division.
The two teams traded runs in the first. Starling Marte and Jung-Ho Kang each doubled as the Bucs went up 1-0. In the bottom of the inning, though, Matt Carpenter singled and Jhonny Peralta added a single of his own with one out. Jason Heyward then grounded into what initially appeared to be a 3-6-3 double play that Pedro Alvarez handled well on both ends. As it turned out, though, replay showed that Kang's throw had pulled Alvarez off the bag, and that Carpenter had scored the tying run.
Gregory Polanco led off the third with a triple, though, and the Pirates took a 2-1 lead on Aramis Ramirez's two-out single. In the fourth, Alvarez put the Pirates up by two when he smashed Carlos Martinez's fastball way over the wall in center.
Locke, meanwhile, avoided getting burned, leaving the bases loaded in the third and stranding Stephen Piscotty after Piscotty doubled to lead off the fourth.
Locke kicked off the fifth, though, with leadoff walks to Kolten Wong and Jhonny Peralta, struggling to get calls on close pitches, at least to Wong (and also struggling with batters who were seeing him for the third time). Heyward brought home a run with a single, Yadier Molina brought home another with a sacrifice fly, and Piscotty plated a third with another single. 4-3, Cardinals.
That's how it would stay. The Cardinals let Martinez go eight innings and were rewarded for it, and Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth, getting a couple dubious strike calls along the way.