Tonight’s ballgame wasn’t a fun one. That could be the understatement of the season, as the Pirates lost the 2nd game of the Dodgers series by a score of 11 to 0. Yes, 11.
Kevin Correia started off strong, retiring the first 6 batters he faced. For a pitcher who usually struggles early and then works out of it, the game was looking good. In the top of the 3rd, the Dodgers pushed a run across by playing small ball, ultimately scoring on a Shane Victorino groundout. Matt Kemp started off the 4th inning with an infield single deflected by Pedro Alvarez, and then he reached 2nd on a force attempt on a ball hit by Andre Ethier. Neil Walker seemed to have tagged Kemp, but afterwards the ball popped out of his mitt, and Kemp was ruled safe. Clint Hurdle came out to argue. “I tried every defense I could come up with out there,” Hurdle said after the game. “Once I looked at the replay… we had a play to make, and we didn’t make it.” Two unlucky breaks had Kemp at 2nd base instead of being out. He moved to 3rd on another infield single by Hanley Ramirez. The ball looked like it would go foul, but it just stopped. A groundout to the pitcher scored Kemp, and another single, this one by Luis Cruz and finally out of the infield, scored Ethier and Ramirez. “Four balls were hit on the ground, in the infield, never left the infield,” Hurdle pointed out. Correia was hit a little harder in the 6th inning, giving up 2 runs on 2 balls hit to center field. “The only inning he had the ball up in the zone was the 6th,” Hurdle said. Kevin gave up a total of 6 runs, 5 earned, on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. He fell to 9 and 7 with the loss. “I felt good out there. I think I made a lot of good pitches. Things didn’t really go my way,” Kevin said after the game. “I wish I would have made some better pitches after I got into some trouble. You can’t sit out there and feel sorry for yourself.” Jeff Locke pitched a perfect 7th and scoreless 8th, giving up just a hit, and then Chad Qualls, who has pitched well so far for the Pirates, came in to pitch the 9th. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, and Kemp’s single back to Qualls scored 1 run. An Ethier single scored 2 more, and a throwing error by Qualls didn’t help matters. Chris Resop replaced Qualls after just one-third of an inning and immediately gave up a 2-run double to Ramirez, both runs being accredited to Qualls. A popout and lineout ended the 9th inning.
The Pirates, on the other hand, managed just 5 hits against the Dodgers, all coming off of Chad Billingsley, who pitched 8 shutout innings. Pedro Alvarez was the only Pirate to draw a walk. Kevin Correia actually reached base twice, on an infield single and an error. Garrett Jones and Travis Snider each hit a double, so that was good. Jones continues to hit, and when some other players on the team come out of their slumps, the Pirates will be OK. “We know what we’re dealing with. We just gotta find a way to turn it around. That’s all,” Hurdle said. “Right now, you watch this tape, things aren’t going very well, guys aren’t playing very well. Someone called it a gut check. Does that mean we don’t have guts if we’re not playing well? It means we’re not playing well. That’s all it means.” The guys who are slumping are working hard to get out of those slumps. No one is giving up. “The guys in there, they’re all in, and they’re gonna keep battling,” Hurdle said. “That I’m not worried about.”
“We can’t worry about what went wrong, what could have gone our way, what should have gone our way. Can’t worry about those things,” Andrew McCutchen said. “We’re doing a lot better than we did last year, still playing good ball. We’re right where we need to be.”
Tomorrow, lefty Wandy Rodriguez (7-11, 3.91 ERA) looks for his first win as a Pirate. All he has to do is defeat 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.88 ERA). Does anyone else feel like the Pirates win these games that they’re supposed to lose?
“Get the win tomorrow, that’s it,” Cutch said. “Bad way to lose, but we’re gonna show up tomorrow ready to win.”