PITTSBURGH -- In a span of four batters, Vance Worley went from no-hitting the Arizona Diamondbacks to finding himself in line for the loss.
Worley allowed three runs in the fifth inning and the bullpen faltered late in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 10-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park Thursday night. The loss broke the Pirates' three-game win streak. Worley left the game with the Pirates down, 3-2, but seven runs in the ninth inning widened the gap.
Worley (2-1) used 89 pitches through seven innings of three-run baseball, allowing four hits -- all in the sixth and seventh -- and striking out six. He took a no-hitter into the sixth, but David Peralta's two-run home run erased the Pirates' lead.
Worley pitched four perfect innings before walking leadoff batter Miguel Montero in the top of the fifth. A force-out, pop-out and grounder right back to Worley ensured that no runner advanced into scoring position.
He needed only 39 pitches, 30 of them strikes, to complete those four perfect innings. He recorded three strikeouts, all of them looking at fastballs. He got help in the form of four line drives right at -- or in the case of Gregory Polanco, near -- his defenders.
Worley again walked the leadoff batter in the sixth, putting Didi Gregorius on base. Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy bunted him to second. Ender Inciarte's RBI single, the Diamondbacks' first hit of the game, scored Gregorius and cut the Pirates' lead to 2-1.
Peralta began his pro career as a pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. After a stop in independent ball, he joined the Diamondbacks organization last year and debuted this June. He hit a 2-0 slider over the Clemente Wall in right field for his third home run of the season, giving the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead.
The game stayed close until the ninth inning, when Ernesto Frieri and Jeanmar Gomez allowed the Diamondbacks to send 11 batters to the plate and score seven runs. Frieri, the Pirates' new acquisition from the Los Angeles Angels, allowed five runs on five hits in one-third of an inning.
In four starts since the Pirates called Worley up, he has allowed seven runs in 27 2/3 innings, walking only five and striking out 18.
The Pirates scratched out two runs off McCarthy, who had allowed the most hits in the National League entering Thursday's game. He finished 5 2/3 innings, giving way to former Pirates starter Oliver Perez, a lefty, when Pedro Alvarez came to the plate with a man on and two outs in the sixth. Josh Harrison pinch-hit for Alvarez and grounded out on the first pitch.
Jordy Mercer stretched a hit into a double to lead off the third inning. Worley's soft grounder sent Mercer to third. Mercer broke for home with the infield drawn in on Polanco's high bouncer, but it took a leap by Gregorius to snag the ball. Polanco was out, but the run scored.
Neil Walker also legged out a double, this time to start the bottom of the fourth. Russell Martin and Ike Davis singled, with Davis driving in Walker and giving the Pirates runners on first and second with no outs. That was the only run the Pirates scored that inning. Alvarez grounded into a double play, and after an intentional walk to Mercer, Worley struck out.
Polanco singled in the fifth inning. With two outs, he stole second but Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson challenged the safe call and umpires in the replay command center overturned it, ending the inning.
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