Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 8/23/12

The Pirates were swept out of Petco Park with a listless effort on Wednesday that dropped them out of a playoff spot. The game was so ugly, I don’t think anyone was all that upset when ROOT Sports lost its video feed for a whole inning and Tim Neverett had to call the action radio-style.

James McDonald did not build on his strong outing in St. Louis. In fact, he wasted no time at all in taking a step back. He walked the leadoff man, then (possibly bothered by the speedster on first) walked the second hitter…and then walked the third after a long battle. He then grooved a pitch to Carlos Quentin, who came a few feet short of a grand slam but still drove in two with a double off the wall.

McDonald was fine after that, but walking the first three batters of a game is inexcusable. He allowed one more run to score in the first on a sac-fly, then settled down and allowed just one more run over the next four innings…but only struck out two and made it through just five. I guess he can look at the last few innings as a positive, but the lack of control early on was very disturbing to see.

The early hole shouldn’t have been a big issue for the offense, which was facing rookie Andrew Werner in his major league debut. Werner had allowed eight runs in his previous start (which was in AAA) and had pretty unspectacular numbers in the minors. Regardless, he had no problem shutting down the Pirates–mostly by tossing soft off-speed stuff away all day and getting them to roll over it. The Bucs grounded out 10 time against Werner and notched just four hits.

Gaby Sanchez pounded a homer to center for his first Bucco blast, and Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez both reached base multiple times…but nobody else did much of anything. It was an extremely disappointing showing by the Bucs in an important game.

The Pirates finished the season 1-8 in California, 1-5 against the Padres, and 13-19 against the NL West. They’re out of a playoff spot for the first time since June 27th, and trail the Reds by a season high 8.5 games. The Bucs trail St. Louis by a half-game for the second wild card spot.

Padres 4, Pirates 2 / Box / 2012 Record: 67-57 / Next: Friday, vs. Brewers, 7:05

MVP: Alvarez (+.114) / LVP: McDonald (-.274) / Key play: Quentin’s double

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