Paul Maholm is getting used to being a quality starter at the Major League level for the Pirates. Unfortunately, his offense still forgets how to hit whenever he takes the mound.
Maholm turned in another stellar effort for the Pirates, but the Buccos bats went bitterly cold again for the left-hander, as the Pirates lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, at the Rogers Centre Wednesday night.
Maholm’s record dropped to 4-9 this season, but his ERA stands at a sparkling 3.17. He allowed just 2 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, but was yet again the hard-luck loser, being given no run support for his effort.
It was the fifth straight start in which the Pirates’ offense has failed to give Maholm more than 3 runs of support. Although he has gone 2-2 in that span, he could be 5-0 had the Bucs bats given him more to work with.
The Pirates again came out with a woeful showing at the plate, being shut down by Brandon Morrow (4-4, 4.56) for the first three innings before Chase D’Arnaud reached on an infield single in the top of the fourth.
The Bucs did strike first, however, with Ronny Cedeno singling to center, scoring Lyle Overbay. There could have been more damage in the inning, though.
Neil Walker led off the inning with a walk, and after Overbay singled to move Walker to third, the second basemen was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice grounder by Matt Diaz. Diaz was then thrown out at third on Cedeno’s RBI single, giving the Pirates two outs in the inning instead of two potential runs.
Morrow had his third straight quality start for the Blue Jays, limiting the Bucs to just 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks. The righty struck out 10 batters, tying a season-high. Morrow struck out every Pirate batter, save for Cedeno, who went 2-3 with the RBI.
The Blue Jays tied the game up in the sixth inning, when rookie Eric Thames hit his first career homerun. Yunel Escobar put the Jays ahead for good the following inning when he doubled home Rajai Davis, who had hit a ground-rule double in the previous at bat.
Frank Francisco finished the Pirates off in the ninth inning for his 9th save in 12 chances.
GOTTA’ SCORE TO WIN
The Pirates have scored only 7 runs for Paul Maholm in his 9 losses. The team has averaged just 3.74 runs of support per start for Maholm, second lowest in the Majors.
NO LOVE IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE
With tonight’s loss, Maholm fell to 0-7 lifetime in A.L. ballparks.
NO JUNE SWOON
The Pirates fell to 15-11 with tonight’s loss, but are still guaranteed a winning month of June for only the third time in the past 19 seasons.
Jeff Karstens (5-4, 2.66) will face Toronto lefty Brett Cecil (1-2, 6.86) in Thursday’s rubber match. This will be Cecil’s first start since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas. First pitch is set for 7:07 PM.