I don’t know if I’d say that this is the weirdest Pirate win that I’ve ever seen, but that’s only because of the sheer number of Pirate games I’ve seen and the way that time erodes memory. This was a weird game. Let us count the ways.
Jeff Locke, who had previously given up 18 runs in his last two starts, shut out a Giant team that hadn’t scored fewer than five runs in a game in almost a week over 6 2/3 innings. Erik Kratz, the Pirates’ fourth-or-so string catcher and hitless since his acquisition over a week ago, homered off of Madison Bumgarner. It wasn’t any home run, it was a bloop into what I like to call Jack Wilson Corner in left field at PNC, and the ball landed in Angel Pagan’s glove and fell out when he banged his arm on the wall. That run was the only run the Pirates got and the only run they needed, when Neftali Feliz and Tony Watson and Mark Melancon shut the game down without allowing a home run, and so the Pirates, losers of 17 of the 22 games before this one, ended the Giants’ nine-game winning streak.
This is obvious an extreme example of Weird Baseball and so the temptation to draw any sort of conclusion should be avoided, but it’s striking to me how different the Pirates look when they get a half-way competent start.
This is the part where I note to you that tomorrow’s starter is still officially listed as “TBA” and so it’s probably best to not say, “let’s hope this is the start of a good run of starts for the Pirates.” The best guess for tomorrow’s start is Wilfredo Boscan, who is the scheduled Indy starter, since he’s on the 40-man roster and Chad Kuhl made his regularly scheduled start tonight. I have no idea if it’s an audition for a rotation start since we’re still not 100% clear on what Juan Nicasio’s situation is, but Boscan has pitched well as a starter in Indy and turned in some decent relief performances for the Pirates earlier this year, so it’s probably not out of the question that he sticks if he pitches well tomorrow (assuming, again, that he is the one that gets the start).
Anyway, everything’s gotta start somewhere, and a 1-0 Jeff Locke win over Madison Bumgarner on an Erik Kratz home run is definitely somewhere.
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