Pirates lose to Orioles, 7-1
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BALTIMORE -- Strong pitching helped the Pirates survive two months of meager offense. The offense couldn't return the favor Wednesday night.
The Pirates went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position, and the pitching staff posted another bad outing in a 7-1 loss against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
It was the pitching staff's second ugly performance in as many nights, putting the brakes on the team's recent surge.
After winning four games in a row and 13 of their previous 15, the Pirates (32-29) have lost two consecutive games, sealing their first series loss in their past six tries.
The Pirates surrendered 13 hits Wednesday after the Orioles (36-26) pounded 15 in an 8-6 Pirates loss Tuesday night.
"We need to execute better off the mound," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Starter Kevin Correia took the brunt of the punishment, allowing five runs, four earned, and 10 hits in six innings. After allowing a couple early hits, Correia said he tried to overthrow the ball, which added velocity to his offspeed pitches and made him less effective.
"I think I tried to make my stuff better than it was," Correia said.
A hitter can take advantage of a pitcher who does not do a good job of mixing speeds, Hurdle said.
"If you throw four pitches and the speed is 83-to-91 mph, there's not a whole lot you're asking a hitter to cover," he said. "Everything's kind of in the same package.
"He started putting that breaking ball in. He used two different changeups later in the game that became more effective."
Hurdle said Correia eventually settled in for the middle innings, and Correia said he was pleased with the way he threw the ball. He was much more effective beginning late in the third inning.
In fact, he retired 13 of the next 15 batters he faced as the Orioles clung to a 3-0 lead.
The offense, however, could not attack Orioles starter Jake Arrieta.
"We had four different innings where we had chances to score and weren't able to put anything together," Hurdle said. "Then, it could have been a different story."
A late substitution after scheduled starter Brian Matusz bruised his nose after bunting a foul ball in his face a day earlier, Arrieta tied a career high by striking out nine batters in seven innings. He allowed one earned run and seven hits.
"We had been hitting the ball well, and to not get the job done, it's frustrating," said Garrett Jones, who went 1 for 3.
It was a sharp departure from Arrieta's recent performances -- he had lost seven of his past eight starts and had surrendered 24 earned runs in his past four outings.
Arrieta had late movement on his fastball, Jones said, and his curveball was a swing-and-miss pitch because of the way it moved in and out of the strike zone.
Hurdle said when a pitcher has his curveball working as well as Arrieta did Wednesday, it makes the fastball appear even faster.
The Pirates stranded 10 baserunners and had the bases loaded twice with the game still in reach.
The Orioles blasted two home runs off Pirates pitchers, including Chris Davis' broken-bat homer against reliever Tony Watson that padded the Orioles' lead in the seventh.
"I've never seen a guy walk out of the batter's box with four inches of wood in his hand and hit a home run," Hurdle said.
"That was a new one for me."
It was a new one for Watson, too.
"He snapped the handle," Watson said. "I didn't really expect it to go that far."
Four of the 10 hits Correia allowed went for extra bases, including a sixth-inning home run he served to Wilson Betemit.
Unable to locate his pitches in the zone, he struck out only one.
Correia surrendered three consecutive hits to start the second. Mark Reynolds singled to center and scored when Betemit doubled into the gap in right-center. He scored when former Pirate Steve Pearce singled through the middle of the infield, allowing the Orioles to take a 3-0 lead.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first when Davis hit a double off the wall in left that Alex Presley misplayed and chased back toward the infield.
That allowed J.J. Hardy to score from first. Correia walked Adam Jones to put runners on first and second with one out before getting Matt Wieters to hit into a double play.
First Published June 14, 2012 12:00 am