J.T. Brubaker got through five tough innings, allowing only two runs, and the Pirates managed not to get blanked by Yu Darvish. Those were the highlights. Erik Gonzalez committed three errors and the last one was costly. San Diego won the rubber match of the three-game series, 4-2.
Brubaker really battled in this game. Over five innings, he threw 93 pitches, and allowed six hits and three walks. He also had to work past three errors, one of his own and two by Gonzalez.
Gonzalez’ first error came on the first batter Brubaker faced, but he got the next three. Brubaker’s error put runners on second and third with two out. After walking Eric Hosmer, he went to a full count on Wil Myers and got a ground out. Gonzalez’ second error put two on with one out, but Brubaker fanned Darvish and Tommy Pham.
The runs off Brubaker came on a third-inning home run by Victor Caratini and a one-out single by Myers in the fifth. Brubaker had to strand two runners in that inning, too. He struck out seven for the game.
The Pirates were overmatched for five innings against Darvish, getting just four baserunners. In the sixth, though, Bryan Reynolds led off a home run, the Pirates’ first dinger since . . . I think Ralph Kiner. Not only that, but Gonzalez and Colin Moran singled to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Jacob Stallings fanned, but Ka’ai Tom hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and get Brubaker off the hook. The Pirates eventually loaded the bases when Hunter Owen got hit on the hand, but Kevin Newman grounded out weakly. (No, really.)
In the bottom half, Gonzalez struck again. With Duane Underwood, Jr., in, his third error put the leadoff man on. Trent Grisham doubled and Jake Cronenworth singled in both, putting the Padres up, 4-2.
The Pirates went down meekly the last three innings, getting just a two-out, infield hit from Newman. The next batter, Phillip Evans, also seemed to have beaten out an infield hit, but the call was overturned on review. Todd Frazier, who I heard was going to veteran the Pirates to contention, contributed a pinch out to run his tally to 1-for-23 so far. That makes him considerably worse than the much-maligned Dustin Fowler and Anthony Alford.
So the Pirates put up a fight against a very good team, but having only four major league players in the lineup just doesn’t work. The game illustrated the fact that a significant percentage of the current roster is just taking up space and undermining the efforts of the rest. It’s getting to be time to move on from them, even if it means bringing up potentially better players who may not be ready.