Bucs can't capitalize on one chance vs. Lester

Bucs can't capitalize on one chance vs. Lester

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates had one solid crack at the left-hander who had gone to Chicago to make Cubs dreams a reality and was putting in a fantastic night's work toward that goal. The chance to take down Jon Lester found the right guy in the ring.

Michael Morse gave it a good battle, but ultimately was pinned, essentially sealing a 2-1 loss to the Cubs in the night portion of the teams' split doubleheader on Tuesday at PNC Park.

"He finds a way to move [the ball] just enough to get it off the barrel and get ground balls," Morse said of the altercation that went Lester's way.

With the Cubs leading, 2-0, the seventh inning had begun with singles by Aramis Ramirez and Francisco Cervelli -- the Bucs' only two-hit inning -- to put runners at the corners with none out for Morse.

On a night Lester would complete the game on 111 pitches, Morse saw 15 of them in his three at-bats, in the first of which he had worked a second-inning walk from an 0-2 hole.

"I saw him pretty well. He had some good stuff going, kept us off balance," Morse said. "He had a good two-seamer, a good sinker, change and curve."

In that seventh, the count reached 3-1. Morse squared up the next pitch, hit it hard up the middle -- but there was shortstop Addison Russell to gobble it up and start a double play. A run scored, but the threat fizzled.

"[Morse] hit the ball hard, but in a place where they could turn a double play," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He had a good look at him throughout the night and worked a good count -- but that's a very tough man to hit."

"He's an ace for a reason," Morse said. "We hung in there, but this was a tough game. A lot of guys felt they were seeing him good and that they were squaring him up -- then next thing you know, it's just a ground ball."

Touching all the bases

• First: In on-field ceremonies prior to the night game, right-hander Yeudy Garcia (12-5 with 2.10 ERA at Class A West Virginia) and switch-hitting infielder Max Moroff (.293 at Double-A Altoona) were honored as the Pirates' Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively. Garcia is ranked as the Pirates' No. 20 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

Pirates award Minor Leaguers

• Second: Josh Harrison was hitless in four at-bats to end an impressive streak in which he had reached base in 11 of 22 plate appearances (with nine hits and two walks).

• Third: The day's two games drew a total of 57,402 to PNC Park.

• Home: Tony Watson's victory in the 5-4 day game improved the Bucco bullpen's record to 21-2 since the relievers began the season by dropping 12 of their first 18 decisions.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.