Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/14/14
Jeff Locke was stellar on Friday night as the Pirates entertained a sold out crowd at PNC Park by earning yet another shutout win. Locke was remarkably efficient. He was basically the definition of a pitcher “cruising” through seven innings. He needed a mere 75 pitches and allowed just two hits (one of them a leadoff bunt single) and one walk. Two of the three baserunners that reached against him were quickly erased on double plays. Locke also struck out five, which is continued reason to hope that this is for real. He now has the fifth best ERA in the National League! This was a guy that some thought didn’t deserve to make the rotation during spring training. Incredible. The Pirates were able to put up a two spot off Stephen Fife in the third inning when the first two batters reached and Andrew McCutchen doubled them in. That was all the Bucs would need, although they threatened a few other times early in the game and came up empty. McCutchen added a run basically by himself in the eighth with some daring baserunning after a leadoff single – he went first-to-third (barely) on a single and caught Adrian Gonzalez off guard by successfully tagging up on Neil Walker‘s foul out to first – which earned Neil a “sac fly.” Locke easily could have stayed in the game and would have had a chance to go all the way, but Clint Hurdle doesn’t seem to like letting his guys go past seven. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli took care of business, although they both made things dicier than usual by allowing two hits each. They recovered to get big strikeouts to earn the usual hold and save, respectively. The next two games will be an uphill battle, but this was a very solid performance by the Bucs that has them up in the series and feeling better after an awful game on Thursday. Pirates 3, Dodgers 0 / Box / 2013 Record: 40-27 / Next: Saturday, vs. Dodgers, 4:05 Source: FanGraphs
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