Matt Joyce‘s 3-run homer to opposite field in the top of the 7th broke the game wide open, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-1 road win against the Colorado Rockies last night.
Jeff Locke tossed 6 shutout innings for his first win of the season, striking out 8.
5 of Locke’s 8 strikeouts came looking which may have had something to do with two Rockies getting ejected from the game.
It was Pittsburgh’s 4th win in their last 5 contests and pushed them up into 2nd place in the Central.
Starling Marte had another nice game for Pittsburgh. He’s hitting .329 with a .375 OBP and already has 9 doubles and 6 stolen bases.
The story in Pittsburgh as of late has been an overtaxed bullpen and while Locke’s 6 shutout innings of work were nice, they are still looking for somebody to go 7-plus.
In fact, they’ve gone 8 straight games now without a starting pitcher working their way into the 7th inning. The last time it happened was April 16th, when Jon Niese went 7 shutout innings for the win at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Pirates are 11-9 with a +6 run differential (0.0 per game) while the St. Louis Cardinals‘ loss dropped them to 10-9. The Redbirds have an impressive +35 run differential (+1.6 per game) but were swept by the Bucs to start the 2016 season.
Here are expected records based on run differential in the NL Central. That Luck column is basically Actual Wins minus Expected Wins, so teams like the Chicago Cubs and Cardinals should have a couple more wins than they do right now, while the Cincinnati Reds and Brewers have better records than they deserve.
In New York last night, veteran Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips took a Noah Syndergaard fastball off his left ring finger and was removed from the game.
X-rays were negative.
Read a nice little article over at Fangraphs where August Fagerstrom puts the spotlight on the Cubs’ base-running skills.