Pirates are supposed to make you walk the plank, not nearly half of their lineup. And yet, no matter what he tried, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Chris Perez kept walking Pittsburgh hitters in the bottom of the eighth Tuesday night — with disastrous consequences.
Trying to keep the Dodgers within a run after the Los Angeles offense had rallied, Perez instead walked four straight batters, helping Pittsburgh extend its lead to five runs. Perez threw only eight of 25 pitches for strikes and allowed four runs in a 12-7 loss at PNC Park.
Chris Perez five batters away from having the Pirates lineup "walk around."— DodgerzGM (@DodgerzGM) July 23, 2014
Here's how it looked on the play-by-play transcript. It started OK with Michael Martinez, but then:
Brandon League followed and the Pirates got two more hits and three more runs — all of which were charged to Perez, whose ERA inflated to 5.35. He has allowed 19 walks in 35 1/3 innings after walking 21 batters in 54 innings with the Indians in 2013.
Reporter Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times was at the scene, and says Perez is coming close to pitching himself off the roster:
The inning forced Manager Don Mattingly to defend his decision to not use dependable left-hander J.P. Howell instead of Perez.
"Our other guys have to be able to hold the score there," Mattingly said.
A former All-Star closer who was let go by the Cleveland Indians over the off-season, Perez showed signs of improvement in recent weeks, giving up only one run in his previous eight appearances.
"Definitely, tonight was a step backwards," Mattingly said.
Perez, Paul Maholm and Jamey Wright gave up a combined eight runs.
So it wasn't just Perez — though only one other walk was issued by a Dodgers pitcher all night. Starter Josh Beckett also had a rough go, allowing four runs and six hits (including three home runs) in 3 2/3 innings. He refused to blame a sore hip for having any part in his ineffectiveness.
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