The Pittsburgh Pirates came up against veteran southpaw David Price at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Wednesday afternoon, dropped a 5-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays (32-48), failed to sweep their three-game series against the Rays and fell back to .500 for the season (39-39).
Andrew McCutchen slammed a solo home run in the ninth inning for the only run Pittsburgh could manage. The Pirates were held to five hits.
The homer chased Price after eight-and-a-third innings and 120 pitches. Price (6-7; 3.63 ERA) threw 85 strikes, fanned 11 Pittsburgh batters and walked only one.
Pirates starter and loser Charlie Morton (4-9; 3.41 ERA) was charged with only two earned runs. Overall, through seven innings, Morton allowed three total runs and four hits. He also whiffed eleven hitters – a career high – and walked just one, in addition to hitting a batter.
Three of the Tampa Bay runs were scored in the first inning. They came on an RBI triple by Ben Zobrist, an error on Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer and a bases-loaded sacrifice by Kevin Kiermaier. The Rays added two runs in the eighth frame off Pittsburgh reliever Jason Grilli, coming on singles by James Loney and by Kiermaier. Zobrist and Loney both recorded two of Tampa Bay’s eight hits.
On Thursday night, the Pirates will begin a four-game home series against the New York Mets.