Game Recap: Rule 5 Giveth and Rule 5 Taketh Away

Being in the National League, the Pirates so far have largely been spared having to face any of the new “superteams,” depending on exactly what definition you use.  But now they’re facing four games against the San Diego Padres, who meet anybody’s definition.  The Pirates made it look good for a while, but eventually lost, 6-2.

Trevor Cahill gave the Bucs their third straight strong start.  All the more so considering the team he was facing, even with Fernando Tatis, Jr., absent.  He kept the Padres in check, throwing a whole lot of different pitches and locating them well.  He went five innings, allowing just three hits and two walks, and fanning  eight.

The only damage was a pretty cheap run in the first.  Cahill gave up a hit and a walk to start the game, then struck out Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer.  He made a good pitch to Wil Myers, jamming him, but Myers looped the ball off his fists over short for an RBI single.  Cahill retired the next seven batters and allowed only two more runners.  It’s certainly possible that his bad initial start was just rust from missing most of spring training.

In the early going, the Pirates didn’t look overmatched against Yu Darvish, at least not apart from Erik Gonzalez, Dustin Fowler and Gregory Polanco.  They had some loud outs, but not much fell in.  The only run came when Adam Frazier singled with two out in the third and Phillip Evans hit a hard grounder off Machado’s glove that went for a double.

Luis Oviedo followed Cahill and . . . well, he’s going from facing class A hitters to facing the Padres.  He had trouble throwing strikes and gave up a walk and then a home run to Myers.  A single and a double produced another run, making the score 4-1.  Oviedo got hit around in his second inning as well, giving up two more runs and leaving with two out.  It wasn’t a great outcome, but at least there’s a point to losing games with Oviedo, as opposed to Derek Holland or Miguel Del Pozo.

Michael Feliz and Richard Rodriguez got the last four and three outs, respectively, without incident.  The Pirates also played their fourth straight errorless game.

Meanwhile, Darvish retired 13 of 14 after Evans’ double.  He came out after seven.  The Pirates got a run in the eighth on a pinch hit triple by Wilmer Difo and a sacrifice fly by Adam Frazier.  Keone Kela set them down in the ninth.