Posted May 19, 2013 on AP on Fox
Jeff Locke allowed three hits over seven innings, Pedro Alvarez homered and the Pittsburgh Pirates won for the eighth time in 10 games, 1-0 over the Houston Astros on Sunday. Locke (4-1) won his fourth straight decisions and gave up one run or fewer for the fifth time in his past eight outings. He struck out four and walked three. The notoriously streaky Alvarez pushed his average above .200 for just the second time since the second game of the season. His eighth home run came on the first pitch and was an opposite field line drive down the left field line in the fifth. Alvarez's longball was his second of the series and third in eight games. It was the lone mistake by Astros starter Lucas Harrell, who lost his third consecutive decision despite allowing four hits and one walk in seven innings. Off to their best 44-game start since 1991, the Pirates (26-18) have the National League's third-best record. They won despite the absence of outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who was a late scratch because of soreness in his right knee. Despite allowing the leadoff man to reach four times, Locke permitted a runner to reach second base only once. In his past six outings, Locke has allowed 21 hits and seven earned runs over 37 innings (1.70 ERA). A day after his 13-game scoreless streak came to an end, Mark Melancon worked a perfect eighth and Jason Grilli finished off the game with a 1-2-3 ninth for his majors-leading 17th save. In addition to his home run, Alvarez walked in the second and flied out to the wall in center in the seventh. Pittsburgh's other chance at scoring came the prior inning, when Travis Snider was thrown out at the plate by centerfielder Brandon Barnes on a two-out single by Gaby Sanchez. The throw easily beat Snider, who had doubled, and Snider's shoulder to the chest of Astros catcher Chris Corporan did not jar the ball loose. Through 6 1-3 innings, Alvarez's home run and Snider's double were the only balls to leave the infield off Harrell (3-5), who had a single in a rare plate appearance for an American League pitcher. The Astros, who won in 11 innings Saturday night, did not have an extra-base hit. NOTES: Astros SS Ronny Cedeno was scratched from the lineup late Sunday morning because of a sinus infection. ... Houston has won three of its 11 series played this season while Pittsburgh is 8-2-2 in its past 12 series. ... The Pirates are off Monday but then play on 16 consecutive days. They open up a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on Tuesday. ... Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel will make his third start of the season in the opener of a three-game series in Kansas City on Monday.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Sorry, Jeff Locke, You Won’t Keep Dominating

Jeff Locke says he has “gotten much better” over the last two years. Jeff Locke, let’s talk. Heh. Rhymes. Jeff, your pitching has played a role of significance in the Pirates’ 26-18 start and a spot in the playoffs if Bud Selig took ether and ended the season on May 21. You have pitched five quality starts in your last six outings in the last month, allowing an average of...

Pirates Win Series on Locke’s Sharp Start, Alvarez’s Homer

Pedro Alvarez leads the Pirates with 8 home runs. (Photo credit: David Hague) It’s an overall negative that the Pirates could only score eight runs in three games against the Houston Astros, baseball’s worst run prevention team. It’s an overall negative that that they could only crack open four total hits on average starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, and needed 15 hitters Sunday...

Pirates fan jumps into river for Pedro Alvarez home run ball (Video)

A Pittsburgh Pirates fan named Bobby Zappala jumped off a boat into the Allegheny River fully clothed to grab a home run ball hit out of PNC Park by third baseman Pedro Alvarez during last Friday night's game. Your browser does not support iframes. The 2-run HR by Alvarez tied the Houston Astros at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth, and the Pirates won the game in the bottom...
INTO THE DRINK

Alvarez hits HR out of PNC Park, into river

Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez brings new meaning to “hit it out of the park” as this home run ball clears the bleachers and ends up in the Allegheny drink. Screen snaps below courtesy of MLB.com, Root Sports, and KDKA and brought to you by Lowe’s. Looks like a Sergio Garcia shot at 17 Sometimes you just have to get wet as a fan retrieves the wet souvenir -David...

Jeff Locke and Pedro Alvarez lead Bucs to 1-0 win over Astros

Final: Pirates 1, Astros 0 (box) WP: Jeff Locke (4-1, 2.73 ERA) LP: Lucas Harrell (3-5, 4.63 ERA) SV: Jason Grilli (17, 0.92 ERA) Jeff Locke started and pitched seven scoreless innings. He struck out four, walked two, and gave up just three hits. Andrew McCutchen was scratched due to soreness in his right knee. Apparently he was able to pinch hit, but was not used. The only run of...

First Pitch: The Altoona Four – Where Are They Now?

Jeff Locke was one of the four pitchers known as The Altoona Four. In 2010 the Altoona Curve had a group of pitchers that went on to be called “The Altoona Four” out of convenience. I say convenience because the group led Altoona to an Eastern League title in 2010, but they also led the Lynchburg Hillcats to a Carolina League title in 2009. So they could have easily been “The...

Pirates Come Back to Win 5-4 with Alvarez’s Bomb, Martin’s Walkoff

Pedro Alvarez struck with a massive home run into the Allegheny to tie the game. (Photo credit: David Hague) Pedro Alvarez will frustrate the hell out of you. Pedro Alvarez will be unwatchable at the plate. Pedro Alvarez will fly south of the Mendoza Line for a month and a half. Pedro Alvarez will also come up in the 8th inning of a game and tie it with one swing, send a ball 462...

Jeff Locke, Jason Grilli Shut Down Astros for 1-0 Victory

The Pittsburgh Pirates have two unlikely arms leading their pitching arsenal this season. Third-year newcomer Jeff Locke, in his first full time season as a starter, and veteran journeyman Jason Grilli, who has become the Pirates closer and one of the best relievers in the game. In a 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday, Locke would work seven scoreless innings, surrendering...

Pirates post-game interviewer gets pied and showered

After the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Houston Astros 5-4 in walkoff fashion thanks to a Houston error, Root Sports post-game interviewer Robby Incmikoski was interviewing Pedro Alvarez, who tied the game at four in the eighth inning with a titanic home run. Near the end of the interview, you can see Alvarez look past Incmikoski and slightly smile. Out of nowhere, Pirates pitcher...

Game 44 Preview: Pirates vs. Astros

Astros (12-31) at Pirates (25-18) 1;35 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh MLB.com Gameday TV: ROOT It’s dumb to call this a big game, but the Pirates are somewhat in need of a better effort today. They were lucky to escape with a victory on Friday, couldn’t get going at the plate yesterday, and are now at risk of dropping a home series to the awful Astros. Tonight’s starters… Lucas...

Pirates fan leaps into Allegheny River to claim home run ball (Video)

As previously noted on Outside the Boxscore, fans will pretty much do anything for a home run ball and one Pittsburgh Pirates fan proved that last week. The fan's name was Bobby Zappala and he got a little wet trying to track down a Pedro Alvarez home run ball that landed in the Allegheny river: Your browser does not support iframes. Kudos to you Bobby, your dive was...

Game 44: Pirates 1 Astros 0

Let's try a different perspective here: for the first time in a long time, you could accuse the Pirates of playing down to their opposition this weekend. Against an awfu Astro team, the Pirates spent most of this weekend playing on one side or the other of a low-scoring one-run game. Today, the only run was a solo homer by Pedro Alvarez that was the diametric opposite of his...
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
Help
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.