Jeff Locke turned another good outing on paper Sunday despite walking a season high seven batters in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Locke managed to give up just one earned run in 5 and 2/3 innings, gave up only one hit and struck out six.
Reliever Justin Wilson took the loss when he gave up a tie-breaking three-run home run to Cody Ransom in the bottom of the seventh. After that, the Cubs’ bullpen slammed the door with Carlos Marmol pitching a scoreless eighth and closer Kevin Gregg earning his seventh save of the season denying the Pirates a ninth inning rally.
Starting pitcher Edwin Jackson improved to 2-8 on the season and pitched a brilliant seven innings allowing just one run on four hits, walked one and struck out eight.
Locke surely did not show his best control, however he did manage to lower his ERA to 2.39 which still holds as one of the lowest in the National League.
The Pirates’ left hander told reporters after the game that he was not even aware of his no-hitter throughout the first five innings because of the high number of walks he gave up.
“Multiple people the whole time, I was pitching from the stretch no matter what,” Locke said. “Good and bad at the same time, I’ll take the things I did good and push forward.”
Garrett Jones supplied the Pirates’ lone run in the fourth inning and finished the game 2 for 4.
Pittsburgh still remains 11 above .500 and still sit in a tie for second place in the NL Central with the Cincinnati Reds who also lost Sunday. Both teams are four games out of first place behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Pirates have an off day Monday and look forward to a six-game home stand this coming week. They will host the defending champs, the San Francisco Giants Tuesday in Garrit Cole’s much anticipated Major League debut.