Pittsburgh Pirates lose on walk-off home run to Braves 5-4
By Tyler Waite
The Pittsburgh Pirates, despite two comeback attempts, fell to the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on Saturday night in game two of the three-game set. The Pirates tied the game twice after being down, but were defeated on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Jeff Locke started for the Pirates in what could have been one of his final starts in a Pittsburgh uniform. Locke pitched 6.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks. He allowed one run in four separate innings and threw 96 pitches. Opposite Locke on the mound was 24-year-old Julio Teheran, coming off a season in which he held a 2.89 ERA. Teheran allowed four runs on five hits over 7.1 innings. The Pirates used three relievers while the Braves used two, including former Pirate Jason Grilli.
The Braves struck first, as they did in game one of the series, on a Chris Johnson solo home run in the second. Atlanta then tacked onto their lead in the third with a Freddie Freeman sacrifice fly. But the Pirates attempted to come back, as they have many times this season, when Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run in the fourth, tying the game at two. The Braves made the game 4-2 after the seventh, but Gregory Polanco tried to pull the Pirates back again with a two-run single in the eighth, tying the game at four.
Vance Worley came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Pirates, but on the first pitch he threw Christian Bethancourt hit a walk-off solo home run, securing the Braves a 5-4 victory.
What Stood Out
Jeff Locke, after receiving the support of Clint Hurdle and the staff, pitched another poor outing. It will be interesting to see what the staff has to say about Locke after his most recent effort.
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Polanco went 3-4 and pulled his average up to .266. He’s batting .417 over the last seven days and has been on fire since being given time off recently. Francisco Cervelli and Andrew McCutchen also added hits as each continues to be a big offensive piece of the Pirates’ lineup.
The final game of this three-game set between the Pittsburgh Pirates (30-25) and the Atlanta Braves (27-28) is set to go underway at 1:35 PM on Sunday afternoon. Gerrit Cole (8-2, 1.90 ERA) looks to be the first National League pitcher to nine wins and to add to his all-star résumé. Cole will be opposed by 24-year-old Alex Wood (4-2, 3.19 ERA) as the Pirates look to close the gap between themselves and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
Next: Are the Pirates better off with Francisco Cervelli at catcher than with Russell Martin?