May 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsCharlie Morton
pitched a second strong game of the season and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Padres 5-2. In seven innings of work, Morton limited the Padres to just two runs, one earned, and continued to get the majority of his outs from ground balls. This was his second win of the year and moved the Pirates to 26-23.
The Pirates scored in the first inning when Neil Walker singled and drove in Andrew McCutchen. San Diego answered in the bottom of the first on Yangervis Solarte‘s doubled that scored Will Venable. The Pirates tacked on a second run in the second inning when Josh Harrison knocked in Jordy Mercer, who also stole his second base of the season.
In the fourth inning, Cory Spangenberg hit into a fielder’s choice to Alvarez, who’s throwing error allowed Matt Kemp to score and Derek Norris to move to second. But Will Middlebrooks hit into a double play to end the inning, so the damage was limited.
Morton helped his own cause in the sixth inning when he hit a ground out to second with the bases loaded that allowed Alvarez to score. He was replaced by Tony Watson for the eighth inning, who came in and struck all three batters he faced.
The Pirates tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth inning. After McCutchen’s double brought in Harrison, Marte sent a check swing ground out to first that scored Polanco. Mark Melancon came and earned the save in the ninth, preserving the win for Morton.
What Stood Out
Charlie Morton improved to 2-0 by continuing to induce ground ball outs. The infielders behind him are able to make plays with the way he pitches and he is showing that he is capable of being a strong back of the end rotation. With these two good outings to start his season, he’ll look to continue the success his next time out.
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It was also nice to see the running game in action. With the speed that members of this team has at the top of the lineup, keeping the defense on guard with runners on base could give them a win here and there throughout the season. In the case of a game like tonight, the Pirates dictated the running game.
The Pirates and Padres conclude the four game series tonight at 9:10pm. Jeff Locke and Odrisamer Despaigne will face off when the Pirate look to take three games in the series. Despaigne is not a strike out pitcher, and he is coming off of two good outings after two bad outings.