First homer not enough for Bucs
The Pittsburgh Pirates finally hit their first home run of the season — the last team in the majors to do so. Andrew McCutchen’s two-run shot wasn’t enough, however, as Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen shut them down the rest of the way.
Jeff Locke lost in his season debut, giving up four runs and eight hits over six innings in a 6-2 loss on Sunday as the Pirates were swept at Dodger Stadium for the second straight year.
“He bent, but he didn’t really break,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “If we break it down, we’d like him to get in front of hitters a little bit better than we did today. He was about 50 percent on first-pitch strikes and got into some deep counts. His fastball command wasn’t as sharp as we saw in his last two outings this spring. So that provided a little bit more of a challenge against a pretty good lineup.”
Locke, Pittsburgh’s minor league pitcher of the year last season, was 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts and one relief outing during spring training. The 25-year-old left-hander, beginning what he hopes will be his first full season in the majors, is 1-7 with a 6.32 ERA and nine home runs allowed in 11 big league starts over a three-year span.
“I feel like I threw the ball really well in the spring. So when you break with this team up here, you’ve got to feel confident,” Locke said. “I felt very confident coming in today, and the results of the game doesn’t change the kind of confidence I have in myself.”
Adrian Gonzalez drove in four runs with three hits and Justin Sellers homered for the Dodgers, supporting Ryu’s first major league victory. Pittsburgh has lost nine straight at Dodger Stadium and 19 of 23 since its last series victory here in September 2006.
Ryu (1-1) allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking two. The 26-year-old lefty from South Korea signed a $36 million, six-year contract with the Dodgers in December after they bid $25.7 million to win exclusive rights to negotiate with him.
“The feeling came to me when we were up 4-2. That’s when I actually thought, ‘It could be today,’ Ryu said through a translator. “It absolutely felt great to get the first win at Dodger Stadium in front of the home crowd, but most importantly it felt good to help my team get the win today.”