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Locke great again in Bucs' loss
After all, perfection is a difficult act to sustain.
They left the bases loaded twice, including in the sixth when Locke, a Kennett of Conway product, came to the plate with one out against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo. Locke, who had thrown 81 pitches, grounded out, and Starling Marte also failed to collect a key RBI hit.
Not only did Hurdle want to save his bullpen, but 72 games into the season, Locke trails only Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the National League with a 2.01 ERA.
Locke threw seven scoreless innings against the Reds on Wednesday, allowing four hits. He walked three and struck out three.
To work out of one of his few jams, Locke froze Todd Frazier with a 91 mph inside fastball in the fourth inning.
Locke did not hit a batter, but the Reds hit two more Pirates. Jordy Mercer was hit in the back by a 96 mph Alfredo Simon fastball in the eighth, and Russell Martin was plunked in the back by Arroyo’s 88 mph fastball in the fifth.
Locke’s curveball has added sharpness; his strikeouts have picked up in recent starts, with 31 in his last 36-2/3 innings.
For example, most pitchers are careful and tentative when pitching to Reds slugger Joey Votto. But in the sixth inning, Martin had Locke challenge Votto with four straight fastballs located on the middle-inside portion of the strike zone. Votto grounded out to second.
The was all the scoring until Bruce’s homer.
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