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Locke locks the door on a sweep; Pirates win, 3-2

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The Reds left the bats at home today, wasting an excellent start by Homer Bailey.

Joe Robbins
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

In terms of peripherals, Homer Bailey clearly deserves today's award. Bailey struck out a career-high 12 batters in six and a third innings while walking only one. He did give up one home run, but it was only a solo shot. Unfortunately, Bailey ran into some trouble in the seventh inning that spoiled his excellent start. A tough at-bat, a couple of soft singles, and Dusty Baker's slow hook led to two Pittsburgh runs. J.J. Hoover entered the game after the second run, but the damage was done.

Unlike Bailey, Jeff Locke did not have overpowering stuff on the mound today, striking out six Reds, but also walking four. One of the free passes did lead to the lone run off Locke, but otherwise, those walks did not haunt the All-Star lefty. Putting his good luck and groundballs to good use, Locke limited the Reds to only one hit in his six frames. Shin-Soo Choo collected the lone single off Locke, but the Reds centerfielder was caught stealing later in the inning. Locke started the play with a timely pickoff. It was that kind of day for Locke, and that's why I'm picking him as the Star of the Game. No, his performance wasn't extraordinary, but he was the main reason why the Reds lost the game.

Additional honorable mentions are due to Choo, Jason Grilli, Garrett Jones, and Jordy Mercer.

Key Plays
  • In the top of the second, Garrett Jones got ahold of a hanging breaking ball from Homer Bailey. The ball landed in the seats in right field, and the Pirates led, 1-0.
  • In the bottom of the fifth, Zack Cozart and Corky Miller each drew one-out walks. Bailey bunted them over to second and third for Shin-Soo Choo. With two strikes on Choo, Jeff Locke threw a hard breaking ball that skipped to the backstop, allowing Cozart to score. Choo later popped out. Game tied, 1-1.
  • In the top of the seventh, Michael McKenry doubled off the wall in left field after battling Bailey for 10 pitches. Jordy Mercer then singled to score McKenry. Clint Barmes hit a single to keep the pressure on Bailey. Clint Hurdle then inserted pinch-hitter Jose Tabata for Locke. Tabata lined the first pitch into center field to score Mercer. Pirates led, 3-1.
  • In the bottom of the eighth, Derrick Robinson drew a four-pitch walk off All-Star Mark Melancon to lead off the inning. Robinson advanced to third on a single by Choo. Next, Chris Heisey walked to load the bases for Joey Votto. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Votto grounded into a 3-6-1 double play that scored Robinson. Brandon Phillips grounded out to end the inning. Pirates led, 3-2.
  • In the bottom of the ninth, Todd Frazier reached base with a one-out single, but never advanced past first base as Jason Grilli retired the next two batters to end the game. Pirates won, 3-2.

    A Selection from FanGraphs

    <iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="">FanGraphs</a></span>

    Other Notes

    • The Reds are now 8-8 on Sundays.
    • The Reds head west tomorrow for a pair of four-game series with the Giants and Dodgers, followed by a three-game set with the Padres. Bronson Arroyo will match-up against San Francisco's Tim Lincecum tomorrow night at 10:15 PM EDT. Lincecum is coming off a no-hitter in his last start.
    • The Cardinals just defeated the Padres, 3-2. With Alexi Amarista on first and two outs in the top of the ninth, San Diego's Jesus Guzman ripped a double down the line that likely would have scored Amarista. However, the ball bounced into the stands, forcing Amarista to stop at third. Jedd Gyorko then hit one to deep left field that Allen Craig hauled in with a leap at the wall.
    • The Miami Marlins are currently mired in a 36-inning scoreless streak.