J-Mac’s gem gets spolied in extra-inning loss
Extra-inning losses have been becoming popular for the Pirates as of late. Monday night’s 1-0 loss in the 10th inning was the the third time they failed to win in extras in the past four games.
Chan Ho Park came into the game in the 10th inning, but he wasn’t on the mound for very long. He allowed a double by Ruben Tejada, then Nick Evans’ came through with a pinch-hit single scoring the walk-off run.
The Pirates had the opportunity to take the lead in the 10th. Andrew McCutchen was on second base and Jose Tabata was at the plate, Manager John Russell wanted him to bunt.
“Andrew McCutchen on third with one out, there are a lot of ways to score from third,” Russell said. “Jose can bunt. We need to get Andrew to third base. With his kind of speed, a chopper, sac fly, anything is going to score him. With his kind of speed, it’s important to get him to third base.”
Things didn’t work out in the Pirates favor though. Tabata layed down possibly one of the worst bunts I have ever seen in my life. It landed just a few feet in front of the Mets catcher and he threw out McCutchen at third base.
Everyone in the ballpark knew he was bunting,” Thole said. “You have to take a shot. We’re trying to win this ballgame. We’re not playing for a tie.”
“It’s just one of those things — either you go or you don’t,” McCutchen said, unfairly shouldering some of the blame for the botched play. “I probably shouldn’t have gone. I went as soon as I saw the ball hit the ground.”
Unfortunately for James McDonald, his brillant pitching performance was over shadowed.
J-Mac needed just 100 pitches to get through eight shutout innings. He only allowed five hits, walked two and struck out four. It also extended his streak to 17 consecutive scoreless innings for McDonald.
“Every game, the goal is to put up zeroes and give your team a chance to win,” McDonald said. “Last time, these guys kind of roughed me up, so I had to motivate myself to pound the strike zone, get ahead of these guys.”
It was also McDonald’s longest outing of his career and he only needed 100 pitches to do it. What has been the key for J-Mac?
“Making pitches when I have to, getting the ball down in the zone when I need to and good defense.”
“He’s been consistent. That’s the main thing,” Russell said. “He’s got the stuff, but being consistent like he is, he’s able to have clean innings, his pitch count stays low. He’s really grown over these last few starts.”
The Pirates picked-up their 56th loss away from home. (Think of it this way, as Jenifer Langosch tweeted: For added perspective: the Rays have lost 56 games total in 2010.)