For almost two months, Jeff Locke struggled for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He looked like James McDonald from 2012. McDonald, like Locke, was an All-Star. McDonald struggled mightily in the second half of 2012.
That changed Thursday night.
The Pirates got another strong pitching performance on their way to their fourth straight win.
Locke improved to 10-5 by tossing seven innings and giving up just one run in the Pirates’ 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
It looked a lot like the Locke from the first half. He gave up just three hits and walked just one batter.
And that’s what the Pirates will need if they are to overtake the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The teams are tied at 85-61 after St. Louis lost to Milwaukee 5-2 Thursday.
Strong pitching and just enough hitting worked so far. It’ll have to continue.
And they might just squeak out a division title in the process.
– Rick Green