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Locke continues to get out of jams
But as he has done all season, Locke made most of those jams disappear to lead the Pirates to a 6-5 victory against the Phillies at PNC Park and pick up his team-leading eighth victory.
After losing his first start of the season, he is the first pitcher in Pirates history to go undefeated in 16 consecutive starts.
It was the sixth home run in the past 11 games for the slugging third baseman, who started the season hitting .089 through the first 13 games. Now Alvarez leads the team in home runs and RBIs (56) and is having his name thrown around as an All-Star candidate.
It was only his third home run this season against left-handed pitching — long an issue for Alvarez. But he said his confidence is growing in those spots.
Whether Locke makes the All-Star team is to be determined. But he will certainly finish the traditional first half of the season as the Pirates’ most effective starting pitcher.
It was like a lot of Locke’s starts this season, in which the left-hander didn’t dominate or keep runners off base. But he got help from his defense and made clutch pitches when he needed to.Locke’s 2.12 ERA is third in the National League. He was initially scheduled to pitch Tuesday but his start was pushed back a day after getting loose late in the Pirates’ 14-inning victory Sunday.The Pirates (52-31) powered ahead of the Phillies (40-45) with a four-run fifth and roughed up starter John Lannan, who allowed four earned runs on 11 hits in five innings.
Russell Martin sparked the inning with an RBI single, scoring McCutchen to tie the score with one out.