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Final: Braves 5, Pirates 4, 10 innings

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (35-23) vs. Atlanta Braves (34-22)

Starters: LHP Jeff Locke vs. LHP Mike Minor

Time: 7:10 p.m.

Site: Turner Field, Atlanta

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Jordy Mercer, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  5. Russell Martin, RF
  6. Michael McKenry, C
  7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  8. Clint Barmes, SS
  9. Locke, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Rob Biertempfel is on the beat.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

262 Comments

  1. Another tough assignment tonight. Minor has been pretty much lights out.

    What’s new though, It’s been a string of tough starters.

    If they want to be consider among the big boys , they need to beat them.

    Let’s hope Locke can continue his string.

  2. Martin in right field??? I what’s the thinking with that?

    • Well, at least no Inge at 3B

    • I didn’t even notice that, I saw Mercer at second and scanned right down to Barmes.

      I guess that’s the only way of sitting Snider and Jones, but curious to say the least.

      With no Tabby. What else would he do.

      It’s kind of telling about the lack of RH depth

    • Maybe they want Martin and his bat to play but also want keep him far enough away from an umpire as possible

      • My thoughts exactly. Unless Iassogna is the first base ump and Clint wants to mess with him. :-)

      • Russell Martin combined minor and major league experience in right field has been one game in 2003 (as a 20 year old) for South Georgia in A ball. He had recorded no outs, assists or errors.

        I’m thinking this is going to be an adventure tonight.

        In totally unrelated news, Dan Bylsma said there is no goaltending controversy. Game 3 will be Sidney Crosby’s first ever start in the net.

        • Clint seems to think anyone can just grab a glove and head out to RF. Roberto is probably looking down with disgust. We have seen JHay, Drew Sutton, now Martin there in the past 2 years.

          • John Russell did the exact same thing with RF’ers.
            Doumit, Pearce, Michaels, Wilson, etc….

            • that’s what I don’t understand.

              That were about the only options John Russell had.
              Clint has better – and more – choices.

  3. TUESDAY GAME LINE

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    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    Tonight’s Line
    Total ERRORS COMMITTED by the Pirates in tonight’s game
    Line is 1.5

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  5. wow, this looks like a Jim Leyland lineup…. obviously Minor must be tough on lefties, and right now, like it or not, Walker as a RH hitter is Inge-like. I like keeping Martin in the game but giving his knees a rest….

    • Hurdle just realizes there isn’t much need for a right fielder when the team hits the ball over the fence.

    • Martin isn’t hitting anyone much lately. I guess him as a RH hitter is better than Walker as a righty, though.

      The one thing I have forgotten to calculate into the Pirates rest of season performance is our brutal intra-division schedule, facing the Reds and Cards so much and not Houston. At least this finishes us with Atlanta. Or, at least I think it does.

  6. Big time redemption start for Jeff.

    Seems funny to think about, but his last start against the Braves had many calling for his removal from the rotation after giving up 3 HR and 4 walks in less than five innings of work.

    • I think we really need him to step up again, NMR. AJ doesn’t disappoint often, but last night was not something we can afford often with our offense performing like it is lately. Of course, Atlanta’s offense has a few sub-.200 hitters and it didn’t stop them last night.

      • The Pirates are a poor man’s Braves. Remarkable how similarly they profile offensively. Lot’s of K’s and score with power.

        Big if, but IF Locke can picth like he has since that first Braves outing – working both corners, down in the zone with movement – he can shut down this lineup. Get them to roll over a ton of groundballs.

        If he challenges them up in the zone like AJ last night, forget about it.

        • I agree. Lots of holes in those swings, but hang something and they can mash. Then, there’s guys like Freeman who are to be avoided, especially with RISP, at all costs. Can’t be walking Uggla.

          • Freeman is a stud. Love that swing.

            • His HR last night was impressive. As was McCann’s. McCann’s timing got better with every swing. Freeman is one of the hottest hitters in the game right now. Lets hope he cools off tonight.

  7. Let’s hope our sports teams show up for the games starting tonight..

  8. I trust Clint.

    But Russel Martin is a .250 hitter with 14 RBI, is it really that important to keep him in the lineup as an outfielder?

  9. I’ll take the over on tonights line for 100. Probably the first two balls hit to right…

  10. Looks like some new bloggers here tonight

    Pls sign up, its my hobby

    Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
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    363 locations represented in the blog,
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    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    6/4/2013 5:56 PM

    • Biz:

      I’ve noticed there isn’t much from the entertainment field in the HOF. Pittsburgh has
      contributed honorably to the television and film arts.

      Mr. Rogers is in and a given. But what about someone like Gene Kelly or Shirley Jones ?

      Also, Andy Warhol deserves enshrinement in my view.

      Just some thoughts-not sure if you want to extend into the arts very much.

  11. Can anyone answer me what’s up with the Braves wanting to send down Upton?

    I know every time that is suggested here in the Burgh with Pedro, the answer is always “keep him up here, he just needs to work thru anything”.

    Any help in this would be appreciated.

    • He’s hitting like a buckfifty, he was a huge signing for them in the off season.

      They want to win this season and he’s hurting them, but has options, unlike say JMac with us

      • Thanks Biz.

        I think you hit the nail on the head……… “they want to win this year”

        Could it be they have any capable replacements in AAA for him, unlike the Bucs who dont? I just found it amazing that they would even entertain sending him down. He was their big offseason acqusition. I just was shocked when I heard it, but had no background on it.

        • They have this Gattis guy, a great story, was out of baseball for a few years, he’s a catcher by trade but McCann is back now.

          I think one of their thoughts is to get Gattis (and I might be spelling this wrong) a ton of ABs, so they can see what they do with McCann (sp, sorry) because he is older, (30, gawd I wish I was 30) and a FA after this season.

          • See, this is why I rely on you, and others here for my info.

            At my Pond, there just isnt room for satellite trucks with the knowledge of the great big outside world. I still have a Commadore 64.

            I do appreciate you filling me in on this. I suspected they had someone available down in the farm system they would feel confident promoting……………….. just a shock to hear they would demote Upton. I only referenced Pedro, because I know there was a debate as to what to do with him to improve the BA, K rate, etc.

            Thanks for helping a Hippo out. ;)

            • You are the best

              Can you do me a favor? Post what follows tomorrow am, the Pens are not done, stuff happens

              What is your real name, BTW, my real name is Ron

              • Post what happens? Like a missile strike or something? ;)

                Like new poster hometowns?

                My real name is Roger, until WITSEC decides on a new one for me.

            • Check below, Roger, and thanks

  12. Ok, its 1979, me and my wife, Norma, and my son Chris, went to like 43 or so games at the end of the season, sitting behind the Cobra sigh. What a great time, Chris was 3.

    So game 4 of the World Series, we got smoked. I was totally crushed, we got ridiculed by some Balty fans, I went home and just went to bed, thinking, I want the world to see what this club is all about. We stayed at my Mom’s and Dad’s. My Dad even came up to see if I was OK

    The next day, Jim Rooker pitches a game of his life.

    Here’s the message, and sorry to be so babbly to get there.

    The Pens will show their class, or they might not..

    I’m not giving up.

    The fat lady knows, and she is sitting back down, she is just stretching.

    Just about dam anything can happen

    • I was at Game 5. Up in 650 . I could see the ALCOA sign better than home plate.

      That game renewed my sense of never say die.

      Although the one disappointment of the game was…The Penthouse playmate of the year sang the anthem. It was like 38 degrees, she was wearing a full length coat, and I was a mile away from the plate anyway lol

    • Great story, Biz.
      How it all seemed so bleak back in ’79 after the Bucs had dropped two of their three at home and trailed the O’s three games to one. I had forgotten that it was Jim Rooker who pitched in game five. I do recall that it was a day-game and that Mad Dog led the way to an easy rout that day. (Incidentally, Rooker was born in a little, eastern Oregon town out in the middle of nowhere called Lakeview, and I was living right there in Lakeview in 1979. The Pirates and the Steelers kept me from going bonkers that year.)

      Great that you went to a World Series game. Too bad that particular game was downer.

  13. Nice grab leaning into the stands by Freeman.

  14. Hard to believe. Per ATL announcers, reminded that Cutch made his MLB debut 4 years ago today.

    They have also mentioned at least twice that Locke came to the Buccos in the Nate Mclouth trade with ATL.

  15. The Braves don’t run a lot. Something tells me they will tonight :/

  16. Nice HR by Gabby!

    Was plenty fair, too. ;)

  17. Gabby !!!!

  18. I was reversing the foul ball. At first I thought it was fair. when I went back to live. Gabby was rounding second. That will teach me.

  19. As long as Clint is making Martin very versitile player, maybe he should loan him to the Pens Don’t they need a stopper?

  20. So far so good.

  21. How come every time I say something nice about Pedro, he follows up with a super bone-headed play? I was just bragging about how good he plays his position last night. Sheesh….

  22. Pedro has his weaknesses, but lack of effort is not among them. Sort of liked that play.

  23. Very nice hustle down the line by Locke.

  24. Poor bunt cost a run

  25. Cutch !!!

  26. Cutch-Clutch…stings two out two RBI double!

  27. I guess not !!! Way to go Cutch

  28. The day off pays off for Cutch

    Finally a key 2 out hit with RISP

    • I didn’t think the pond had wifi

    • According to the article – MLB is going to look to suspend Braun and A-Rod for 100 games. How you like those apples crying Ryan? 50 games for the contact with the guy in Florida and another 50 games for another reason they say in the article. Lets see you get your suspension reversed this time.

    • Players Under Scrutiny

      Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to Biogenesis, OTL has learned. Among the players who might ultimately face discipline:
      Player Team
      Ryan Braun Brewers
      Everth Cabrera Padres
      Melky Cabrera Blue Jays
      Francisco Cervelli Yankees
      Bartolo Colon Athletics
      Nelson Cruz Rangers
      Fautino de los Santos Free agent
      Gio Gonzalez* Nationals
      Yasmani Grandal Padres
      Fernando Martinez Astros
      Jesus Montero Mariners
      Jordan Norberto Free agent
      Jhonny Peralta Tigers
      Cesar Puello** Mets
      Alex Rodriguez Yankees
      * Sources told ESPN that Gonzalez only received legal substances ** minor leaguer, not a member of the MLB Players’ Association

  29. 20 years later that %$#@in chant is still annoying

  30. I don’t care what Johnny says. That was a luck double.

  31. No matter what JW says, that was a tough way to end a scoreless streak.

  32. Martin looks fine in Rf. We doth protest too much. Minor is brutal against leftys so you load up with right-handers. Love that MLB is gonna suspend that smug Ryan Braun, among others. No word yet on Grilli.

  33. Very nice re-focus for Locke. This kid is impressive.

  34. Pedro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Pedro !!!!!

  36. El Toro goes opposite field yard, gets one back, off a lefty no less

  37. Only the 10th hit all year by a lefty against Minor.

    Who’d a thought it would be Pedro

  38. Opposite field power……if he can start doing that…….please, please Pedro

  39. Hayward is the Braves Pedro.. Don’t want him getting hot

  40. Unlike a young Paul Maholm, Locke doesn’t seem afraid to pitch inside

    • Coming out of spring training, I thought they made the wrong call bringing him north.

      I’m glad I was wrong.

  41. A lot of people think that they know who is coming north when spring training starts — that there really isn’t much true competition for spots

  42. Biz, just wanna say, your “class” post up ^ there is awesome. You give Mother Theresa some more optimism :)

    Hipposter, if you have Wide Fidelity, I think you should market it ;)

    Looks like the Buccos have some stuff going for them tonight…cool.

    Any sign of Brandie?

  43. That’s some sweet numbers for Locke

  44. Dang and blast. First time I get to see Reid pitch…and this :sigh:

  45. If Dan Uggla married Uma Thurman, her name would be Uma Uggla. Just some really bad humor there.

    Can I come to the Ryan Braun suspension party Jandy is throwing?

  46. Offense needs to get it going. Don’t they remember what happened to the Reds on Sunday when they played them.

  47. are you kidding me?????

  48. 19 innings!

  49. Whenever I hear the name Freddie Freeman, I think of Foghorn Leghorn, and Rhode Island Red………………………………. “Freddie the Freshman”.

    Boy, I said, Boy………… you are testing the limits of my patience………..

  50. Watson fans Freeman on three pitches. I wonder if he’s, um, chemically enhanced?

    (I’m totally joking.)

  51. Great tweet from Mets beat reporter Andy Martino:

    Andy Martino ‏@MartinoNYDN 29s

    Remember this about Mets prospect Cesar Puello, part of the Biogenesis mess: He’s not good anyway.

  52. Did my Hippo eyes just see some schmuckle “leading” their fans in that crazy chop thing?

    Good Lord………………..

  53. whew got outta that jamb!

  54. somebody say something! Besides ermine lol

  55. watch Hipposter type “something”

  56. Who said 19?

  57. ………….. something………………. ;)

    Lets play 2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Lead off walks again, but of course, as usual, the ump was squeezing him.

  59. What’s will all the walks? grr

  60. A much needed K

  61. It looks like Melancon is our new 10th inning guy. :) And if I am Searage my pitching plan for the rest of the evening is as simple as ABZ….Anybody But Zagnut!

  62. Better not see Zags tonight

  63. OK I’m closing down and hitting the sack. 4 am comes too early….night!

  64. You timed that right Jandy. Damn!

  65. That sucked

  66. Went to the bathroom, and BAM! we lose.
    That will learn me………

  67. I’ve never seen a team that had pitching this good and the hitters had no interest in batting. The effort and attitude of the two parts of the team are completely different. Gutless offense that will not win.

    • Gutless offense? What does that mean, other than you’re frustrated?

      Since they lost, I’m frustrated they only had one error.

    • There’s a large difference between gutless and talentless…right now, they’re not a very talented bunch of hitters. And the supposed best or better hitters are pressing quite a bit. When you play teams that are better than you, you have to beat them…you have to out-play them. The Reds are clearly better than the Bucs right now. The Braves are too. Both of those teams have lineups where one or two batters don’t slump for weeks at a time like Alvarez or Cutch or Jones or Walker or Sanchez or Marte. You don’t see Votto or Freeman or Phillips or McAnn pulling what Cutch pulled last year in the last two months…or what Alvarez does with his short bursts of power.

      The Pirates lineup, while much more talented than in years past, is nowhere near consistent enough to battle the top tier teams night in, night out. And this stretch of games v. the Reds and Braves could well have a longer lasting effect. Because if they go in a funk now and start losing to lesser competition, it will be a long summer.

      McCutchen: time to start acting and producing like a top 5 player. If you don’t, this team will flounder very quickly.

      Walker, Alvarez, Jones, Marte, Sanchez, Martin: time to start getting more than 2 hits a week.

  68. The pen was bound to have an off night..It wasn’t a bad night, they just gave up a run late. Everyone does it, we’ve been spoiled

  69. Well, on the bright side, I had the under on the window line…. Seriously, it is time for someone to get hot and carry the squad for a while. Have at it #22!

  70. at least the Reds lost

  71. Once more, we lost because we can’t hit with men on base. Like one blog put it, the hitters have no interest in hitting. Let the pitchers pitch their hearts out, it’s HO-HUM for the hitters, we’re still getting paid for not hitting, Half the starting lineup is hitting below that famous line “The Mendoza Line”

  72. Starting to get the feeling that reality is setting in with the Pirates.
    Cincy and St. Louis look better than last year.
    If we drop behind much more than five…It’s gonns be tough.

    • For the division, yes indeed it is and will be very tough. Reds and Cards lineups are too good. And like I mentioned above, Votto/Phillips/Bruce and Freeman/McCann…those guys just don’t slump for weeks at a time, let alone all at the same time.

      McCutchen has to hit… and not just one of those .450 tears for two weeks and then .250 for a month. Alvarez has to be a tougher out. Walker has to be more consistent as does Jones, Sanchez, Marte and Martin. Those are seven guys that aren’t doing much now (though Alvarez has come to life a little bit in the last three weeks), and the offense is too easy for pitchers to pick apart.

      If these two series have a lingering effect on the team, it’s going to be a long summer. Opportunities to produce are there, the results are not. And if that continues, the doubt creeps in… and when the doubt creeps in, hitters get desperate. And last August and September we all saw what desperate hitters do.

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