Found August 07, 2013 on Pirates Prospects:
Josh Harrison hit his first career pinch-hit home run to keep the Pirates two games ahead in the NL Central. (Photo Credit: David Hague) Final batter Josh Harrison was the hero. Tapped to pinch-hit for the Pirates in the 9th inning of a tie game, Harrison turned on the third fastball he saw. The ball flew and flew just over the right-center-field fence to beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 Tuesday night. “I was just watching [right fielder Giancarlo] Stanton’s reaction. I knew he wasn’t gonna catch it,” Harrison said after team leader A.J. Burnett slapped him with a celebratory shaving-cream pie. “When it didn’t come back in, I knew it was gone… Getting a walk-off hit is something that not everybody gets to do.” The game-winner on Mike Dunn’s 1-1, high-and-away fastball sealed Pittsburgh’s victory to maintain the best record in baseball. But there were also 73 other plate appearances in this game and 264 pitches. We would be remiss not to discuss them. Harrison’s home run would have been a less meaningful solo shot had it not been for Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates’ three-time All-Star flashed two huge plays to make the walk-off possible. McCutchen’s Two Huge Plays Center field has become a friendly home for Andrew McCutchen this season – 9 runs saved, 6.4 UZR (Photo Credit: David Hague) After Neil Walker’s ground-ball single in the 3rd inning, McCutchen stepped in with two runners on, two outs and his team down 3-0. Young Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez had been carving up the Pirates about as he had 11 days prior (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K). “I was trying not to let that happen again,” McCutchen said. McCutchen changed that. He smoked a first-pitch fastball opposite field off the right-center-field wall. Starling Marte and Walker scored on the two-RBI double to cut Miami’s lead to 3-2. “I knew I was gonna get a lot of fastballs,” McCutchen said. “So I was ready to hit it. We were able to get two big runs.” Four pitches later, Pedro Alvarez smashed a pitch over the head of center fielder Jake Marisnick. McCutchen touched home to tie the game. He turned around to see the 235-pound Alvarez barrel into third base for his first triple of the season. Tie game. Jeff Locke’s Hard Luck Jeff Locke has not been worse over the last month, just less lucky. (Photo Credit: David Hague) The good fortune Jeff Locke saw in the first half has turned sour. No one strands 83% of baserunners and sees his defensive convert 77% of balls in play into outs over a full season. But even by law of averages standards, Locke had some rotten luck Tuesday night. He generated 10 groundballs but 5 turned into hits. In the 2nd inning alone he saw three straight grounders become singles for the Marlins’ first run. Locke’s two runs allowed in the 3rd inning were his own fault, though. He served up four straight singles to the heart of the Miami lineup: Mike Lucas and Giancarlo Stanton, then line-drive RBI hits from Logan Morrison and Donovan Solano. It was time for pitching coach Ray Searage to have a chat with his young starter trailing 3-0. “Ray will come chirp at me once in a while and [tell me] I gotta just pick the pace up a little bit,” Locke said. “I kind of agree with him because that helps me get my tempo. Sometimes I might be working real quick and sometimes there’s times where I need to step back and take a breath.” Whatever works. The starter escaped the jam on a bunt popout, infield fly and groundout back to Locke. After Searage’s visit, Locke allowed only one hit over his final 14 batters. Jeff Locke Season Stats Through July 1: 3.79 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, 83.3% LOB, .228 BABIP, 2.15 ERA Through tonight: 3.70 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, 82.2% LOB, .261 BABIP, 2.47 ERA Don’t confuse Locke’s regression since his All-Star first half as a decline in his performance. His fielding-independent numbers have actually been better the last five weeks. What has heightened his ERA are the luck stats: runners stranded and batting average on balls in play. “I haven’t changed up a whole lot of things,” Locke said. “I continue to do what works, I pitch righties the same, I pitch lefties the same until I need to make an adjustment. “I think surely other teams are starting to notice that a little more, but I’m not going to go away from what I do well.” The Cutch Catch Locke’s third walk in the 6th inning meant it was time to go. Vin Mazzaro entered to strand the two runners his starter walked. In the 7th, Mazzaro allowed a two ground-ball singles in front of batter Adeiny Hechavarria. The second-year hitter tagged Mazzaro’s slider and drove it to left-center. Center fielder McCutchen quickly jumped, sprinted and dove to steal a possible RBI hit and keep the game tied. “I knew he hit it off the end of the bat, so I just was trying to get myself in a good position,” McCutchen said. “If you’re trying to jump at a certain area, or if there’s a line, you say I’m gonna jump that line, you can pretty much do it.” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says his center fielder has improved from last year’s Gold-Glove-winning season. “That’s as big a play as we had on the defensive side on the ball,” Hurdle said. “He’s playing as good a center field as I’ve ever seen him.” Bullpen Holds it Down After the stellar grab and Pedro Alvarez’s throwing error, Mazzaro generated a fly ball from Jeff Mathis to leave the bases loaded. The Marlins left 11 runners on base. Vin Mazzaro stranded the two runners he inherited, then left the bases loaded to escape the 7th. (Photo Credit: David Hague) “Mazzaro’s numbers with inherited runners are extremely good this season,” Hurdle said as the right-hander’s strand rate passed 79%. “I thought his breaking ball would play.” Hurdle went to the right options Tony Watson and Bryan Morris to retire the final six hitters they faced and give the offense a chance to earn the Pirates’ 26th comeback win. Former Pittsburgh reliever Chad Qualls loaded the bases on the first three batters after Henderson Alvarez (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) exited. Dunn came in to freeze Pedro Alvarez on a fastball to strike him out then got Russell Martin to ground into an inning-ending double play. Hurdle chose Harrison to lead off the 9th more for his speed than his power (“I didn’t have a homer,” the manager said) but the fast utility man was happy to seal Pittsburgh’s 68th win via the home run. “That’s how baseball is funny,” Harrison said. “You never know what to expect.”

Prospect Watch: Tyler Glasnow Sets a Record; Kris Johnson Pitches a Gem

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the mid-season rankings, and links on each name go to their Pirates...

Baseball America Releases Their Best Tools Lists; Several Pirates Mentioned

Baseball America released their Best Tools lists for each level in the 2013 season. Below are the links to each level’s article, along with the Pirates who received recognition. Pittsburgh All of the Pirates awards were NL only. Pedro Alvarez was named as having the third best power, behind Carlos Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton. Andrew McCutchen received a lot of recognition in...

McCutchen homers after mom sings anthem

Video: Good night for the Cutch family

Pirates Playoff Roster Projection: Choosing a Champion

We know Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen are in, but not every roster spot is easy to suss out. (Photo by: David Hague) This is not a jinx. On this day last year, the Pirates’ playoff odds were hovering around 50 percent. Their chances to make the postseason this year are above 98 percent. Starting to think about what the 25-man playoff roster will look like is not counting...

First Pitch: How Many Teams Around MLB Would Charlie Morton Start For?

I’ve talked about Charlie Morton a lot in the last week, arguing that he deserves to be in the starting rotation. There are plenty of anti-Morton Pirates fans who feel that Morton shouldn’t even be on the team. His strong overall numbers are chalked up to being a fluke, and his bad starts are highlighted. In short, if Charlie Morton is doing well this year, it’s just a small...

The Debate: Should Jameson Taillon Be a September Callup?

Jameson Taillon has only made one start at the Triple-A level. That start was rough at first, with three earned runs in the first inning before Taillon settled down. He has time to make about five more starts before the end of the Triple-A regular season. Therefore, it’s probably too early to talk about him making the jump to the majors. But that discussion started long before...

DSL Prospect Watch: Henriquez Continues Strong Pitching in Win Over Rockies

For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here.  For a recap of the DSL All-Star game, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day. PIRATES1 Box Score Result: Pirates 5, Rockies 2 Starting Pitcher: Christian Henriquez, LHP (2-1,...

Top Performers: Clay Holmes Showing Why He’s a Top Prospect

Below are the pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The top ten and the bottom five starts are broken down below the chart. The top five short season pitchers are also highlighted in a separate group, since most of those guys only go 4-5 innings max, and don’t have a good chance of being highlighted in the top ten. The rankings include...

Charlie Morton Grounds Marlins in 4-2 Pirates Victory

Charlie Morton was dropping his sinker and curveball below the Marlins bats in a winning effort. Charlie Morton is the ground ball. The ground ball, Charlie. Morton played grounders for seven innings of Pittsburgh’s 4-2 win over the Miami Marlins. The Pirates starter faced 25 Marlins batters, saw 20 of his pitches put into play and 15 ground balls to produce a quality start. He...

Prospect Watch: Andrew Lambo Adds Two More Home Runs

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the mid-season rankings, and links on each name go to their Pirates...

Pirates Playoff Odds Remain Above 98 Percent into August

Sellout crowds for October baseball are in PNC Park’s future. (Photo Credit: David Hague) The Pirates won four out of five games from the St. Louis Cardinals and two out of three from the Colorado Rockies last week. That is, hold on while I get my dictionary… A good thing. Good. Hmm, that’s a new word. Anyway, Pittsburgh sat just under 98 percent playoff odds one week ago...

VIDEO: Pirates Roundtable Live — Episode 4

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that ends in usually about an hour or 90 minutes or whenever we are done talking about baseball. We’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside… After a couple weeks off, we are back on Pirates Roundtable Live. Among the topics of your interest for your talking heads to discuss: closing the book on Pittsburgh’s lack-of-trade deadline... POtW: A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett was picked up off the scrap heap after a failed experiment in New York, and all he's done is have his the best season of his career, including two big performances in the past seven days.

Pirates 4, Marlins 2

Charlie Morton retired his final 11 batters over seven strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates maintained the best record in the majors with a 4-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night. Morton (4-3) shook off a shaky beginning in which he allowed six hits over his first three-plus innings to beat Miami for the second time in an 11-day span. Morton, who also had an...

Game 112: Pirates vs. Marlins Recap

Source: FanGraphs Clever, witty, a cool fact, a question. These are normal things that are used to lead into a blog post or any form of writing for that matter. Well not tonight. I got nothing. The Pittsburgh Pirates have left me speechless. Every time you think that they have won a game in every…
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.