Game Recap: Crowe Struggles, Hitters Can’t Hit When It Matters in Loss to Royals

Wil Crowe got hammered and the Pirates’ offense continued its dismal showing in scoring opportunities in a 10-5 loss to Kansas City.  The Bucs’ latest losing streak is now three.  They’ve lost 12 of their last 15 and 23 of 31.

Crowe was charged with eight runs in four-plus innings, running his ERA to 7.26, which won’t do him much good as the Pirates make rotation decisions.  He gave up a run in the first, then had two easy innings before giving up a two-run bomb to Salvador Perez.  Things came completely apart in the fifth, as the first four Royals’ hitters reached on a single, triple and two walks.  Derek Shelton stuck with Crowe — after all, he only has nine relievers — against the left-handed Andrew Benintendi and the result was a grand slam.

The five-run fifth inning put Kansas City ahead, 8-4.  The Pirates had scored three in the third on a single by Bryan Reynolds and two sacrifice flies.  They got another in the fourth, putting them up 4-1, when Michael Perez doubled in Kevin Newman.

Trailing 8-4, the Pirates had a frustrating sixth inning.  The first two batters reached, then Shelton got ejected arguing a third strike call against Perez.  (The real problem was that Perez swung at several pitches outside the strike zone before the third strike.)  After Erik Gonzalez fanned, Adam Frazier doubled for the second time in the game to drive in a run, and Will Craig walked to load the bases.  With Reynolds up, Newman scored on a wild pitch, only to have Reynolds ludicrously called out for interfering with the catcher, negating the run.

The bullpen wasn’t able to keep the game within three runs.  Chris Stratton threw two scoreless innings, but Chasen Shreve gave up Salvador Perez’ second bomb of the game in the seventh.  David Bednar gave up a run in the eighth and Sam Howard had to get the last out of the inning.

The Pirates went down in order in the ninth.  For the game they had lots of opportunities, but they went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.  They’re now batting .203 in those situations and slugging just .302.

Ka’ai Tom left the game due to an injured wrist.  He was hit with a pitch there while trying to bunt.