So that wasn’t pretty.
The Braves started the scoring in the second with four consecutive singles from the 5-8 hitters. The chief surprise here was Gerald Laird, who is awful but had a good day, with two singles and runner thrown out stealing. Anyhow, that rally was worth two runs before Kris Medlen got down a sacrifice only for the less Upton to strike out, ending the inning. Unfortunately, Medlen had an episode in the bottom half, giving the two runs back. He wasn’t very effective overall. There was a fair number of hard-hit balls, and he got some help from his defense, including a would-be HR that the greater Upton brought back with a fantastic play, and a spectacular diving grab by Andrelton Simmons on a foul ball up the LF line. But he didn’t give up another run until two down in the 6th when Clint Barmes dribbled the weakest little grounder up the middle for an infield single, plating a run for Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, the Braves were putting runners on all over place but to no avail. Braves reached in the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th but coming away with nothing. Pittsburgh’s starter, Jonathan Sanchez, was out after the 3rd having thrown nearly 80 pitches already. He got a fair number of strikeouts, but with all the runners he put on, he was lucky to only give up the two runs. The futility continued against the relievers, including consecutive innings with leadoff walks that amounted to nothing. The most frustrating was the 7th, where Rarmiro Peña was thrown out as part of a stirke-em-out-throw-em-out double play (for the second time in the game), which was promptly followed by an Evan Gattis double. So… yea.
The Pirates scored again in the 7th as Luis Avilan returned from his cramp thing three days ago, looking at times really good and really suspect. Travis Snider also scored on a wild pitch, just to make it clear that the Braves weren’t going to come back.
You could say that the Braves need to hit HRs to win, but this was the JV lineup they ran out there today, and the Braves’ pitching was bad enough that they were lucky to only surrender 4 runs. It’s clearly time to get out of Pittsburgh. They have way too many rivers in that city. It’s weird.