After two days of ugly bullpen work from the Pirates, this game was pretty much exactly what they needed. Ike Davis hit a looooooong home run in the bottom of the second inning to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead and Andrew McCutchen hit a sac fly in the third after the Cardinals cut the lead in half, then Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon cruised through the game’s final six innings without much incident to give the Pirates their second straight win against the Cardinals and their fourth in six games against the Cardinals and Brewers.
The Pirates obviously still have their work cut out for them — even their best case scenario after tonight’s games would leave them four behind the Brewers, 2 1/2 behind the Cardinals and a half-game behind the Giants — but seeing them win five of seven against three playoff contenders was about the best bounce-back that I think we could’ve dared hope for after their seven-game losing streak that ended a week ago today.
Anyway, Jeff Locke pitched much better today than he did against the Brewers last Friday, and it was nice to see Tony Watson get through the eighth without much incident. I was kind of curious to see how Ike Davis would respond to his de facto benching in favor of Pedro Alvarez over the weekend, and I think “with monstrous multi-run home runs” is a pretty good answer. It’s also worth noting that Andrew McCutchen looked pretty OK after last night’s rib re-injury scare, which coupled with the win makes this an all-around pretty solid day of Pirate baseball.
At this time of year, what an afternoon game really means is that you have to spend the whole night scoreboard watching. The Braves play the Mets nowish (they’re up 1-0) while the Brewers and Padres go at 9:10 and the Rockies and Giants start after 10.