Jeff Locke came awfully came close to pitching a Maddux and facing the minimum, instead settling for a 105-pitch, complete-game, three-hit shutout of Miami in a 10-0 Pirates victory on Monday night.
Locke set down 19 in a row, between Cole Gillespie's third-inning single and Jeff Mathis' pinch-hit single with two-outs in the ninth, which came on Locke's 100th pitch and prevented Locke from facing the minimum 27 batters.
Locke struck out just one (which, of course, is part of the whole idea), but got 13 groundouts and did not issue a walk.
Meanwhile, the Pirates' offense played like it was Bad Jeff Locke out there. After a couple early runs, they broke free for five runs in the sixth.
Andrew McCutchen's leadoff single chased starter Justin Nicolino, and David Freese welcomed Jose Urena with a double to put two on with one out. After Jung-Ho Kang lined out,
the great Connie Mack himself Don Mattingly had Starling Marte intentionally walked to load the bases ahead of Francisco Cervelli and Gregory Polanco. Cervelli scored Cutch on an infield single (Admittedly, I had flipped to the Penguins game for a minute and didn't see what happened). Then Polanco crushed one 423 feet to right-center field to clear the bases. Polanco's first career grand slam landed not far from the spot his first career home run reached.
That made it 7-0, leaving us to focus only on
the hockey game Locke doing quite awesome in the late innings. The Pirates added three runs in the ninth on a Sean Rodriguez two-run homer and, after a Josh Harrison double, a Freese RBI single.
Freese went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, and Harrison, Marte and Polanco had two hits each.
Don't look now (as I give you a hyperlink to a web page you're supposed to look at), but this makes six out of seven starts in which Locke has looked, at worst, downright reliable. Now I'll slowly get my head away from the gift horse's mouth.