PITTSBURGH -- Erik Kratz did what no other Pirates pitcher -- you read that right -- did all night Tuesday. He was the only one to record more than one out and not allow a run. None of the runs in the Pirates' 15-4 loss to the Giants rest on the recently acquired catcher's shoulders.
Starter Wilfredo Boscan surrendered seven runs in the fourth inning and was pulled early, and the Pirates lost two outfielders over the course of the game. Manager Clint Hurdle didn't just let Kratz pitch the ninth inning for fun. But when Kratz took the mound, he saw a pretty simple task in front of him.
"You just try to enjoy it," Kratz said. "I think I can probably throw the ball over the plate, and that's what I tried to do. There's nothing really scientific about it. I'm just trying to throw strikes and not blow my arm out."
It certainly wasn't how the Pirates planned to handle the ninth, but they were down by 12 runs and needed someone to take the mound. Kratz won't be competing for a Cy Young anytime soon, yet it was enough to close out the top of the ninth.
"It happens in games that are unfortunate," Kratz said. "You don't want to have to come in and pitch, because it's probably not real good for your team. But hopefully it saved somebody's arm in the bullpen, and that's going to help us down the road."
Both David Freese and Sean Rodriguez offered to pitch, but Hurdle said he thought Kratz would handle it well. Kratz had pitched an inning in the Astros' 11-1 loss to the Mariners in April.
To Hurdle, Kratz's calm demeanor meant more than his inning of experience, though.
"I thought he would have the mentality and the wherewithal and the makeup to go enjoy it but be serious about it at the same time," Hurdle said. "And he was. He was very professional with the outing."
Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.