James McDonald continued his post All-Star break woes in a 9-8 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday night. McDonald, now sporting an 8.71 ERA since the break, gave up seven runs on seven hits in just four innings of work. The Pirates’ offense gave ‘J-Mac’ a six run lead heading into the fifth, but McDonald just couldn’t get into a rhythm and left pitches up in the zone.
“I couldn’t tell you [what happened],” said McDonald. “Put this loss on me. It’s unacceptable.”
“That shouldn’t happen. I let those guys down today and nobody feels worse than me right now.”
Manager Clint Hurdle felt the same way about his decision to leave McDonald in the game after the Padres closed the gap to 7-4. Chase Headley then blasted a three-run homer to tie the game with just one out in the inning, and Hurdle was forced to remove McDonald from the mound.
“The move I made did not work,” said Hurdle. “And that’s on me.”
“Things happen from time to time,” added Hurdle. “Disappointment is just a part of the game.”
The Pirates offense exploded for a big inning early on, but they faltered late after leading briefly into the seventh inning.
The Padres opened up scoring on just the second pitch of the ballgame. Alexi Amarista belted a leadoff home run on a 1-0 count into the right field seats, putting the Padres ahead early on.
The Bucs answered right back in the bottom of the second. Clint Barmes smacked a two out single into right, and James McDonald drew a walk at the plate. Starling Marte hit a line-drive single to bring in Barmes, tying the game at 1-1.
The Pirates vaulted ahead in the bottom of the third when Garrett Jones hit his 17th homer on the year, a deep shot to right field which put the Pirates up 2-1.
The bottom of the fourth inning is where the Pirates offense took over and chased Padres’ starter Edinson Volquez from the game. Barmes singled to right, and McDonald drew another walk to put two runners on base. Travis Snider then blasted his first home-run as a Pittsburgh Pirate, a three-run shot to bring everyone home and put the Pirates up 5-1.
“It was nice, but I’m not out there for personal gain,” said Snider of the homer.
The Pirates continued to put runners on base when Andrew McCutchen drew a walk and Garrett Jones singled. Neil Walker grounded out to the pitcher but moved Jones over to second base. Pedro Alvarez ripped a single to center in the next at bat, putting the Buccos up 7-1.
But the Padres shortly closed the gap in the top of the fifth. Cameron Maybin drew a walk and John Baker singled to get on base. Jesus Guzman, pinch hitting for reliever Alex Hinshaw, blasted a double deep off the center field wall to bring in both runners, cutting the lead to 7-3.
Amarista singled to right on the next pitch, bringing in Guzman. Everth Cabrera drew another walk from McDonald, and then in the next at bat, Chase Headley crushed a deep, three-run home run into the right field seats, tying the game at 7-7.
The Pirates went back ahead in the bottom of the sixth. Garrett Jones drew a walk, and Alvarez singled again to center field. Rod Barajas singled to right-center, bringing in Pedro and putting the Bucs up 8-7.
The lead was short lived, however, when Chase Headley blasted his second home run of the game. Headley hit a two-run homer to short left field off of reliever Tony Watson, giving the Padres a 9-8 lead.
Padres’ reliever Huston Street closed out an easy ninth inning for the Padres, notching the save and handing the Bucs their second straight loss.
The Pirates look to bounce back tomorrow with another game against San Diego. A.J Burnett (14-3, 3.19 ERA) gets the starting nod against Jason Marquis (5-6, 4.10 ERA) with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.