May 15, 1979: Walks, Lack of Offense Doom Pirates in 3-0 Loss to Mets

The Pirates could do nothing with Craig Swan and Don Robinson walked . . . well, everybody, leading to a 3-0 loss to New York.  The loss was the Pirates’ second straight, breaking a 14-game string of alternating wins and losses.  It also left them a season-low six games under .500, as well as nine games out of first.

Willie Stargell’s return to the starting lineup for the first time since April 29 didn’t inspire the Pirates’ hitters.  Swan allowed just six hits and a walk over eight and a third innings.  The Bucs had shots at him in the first two innings:  Tim Foli and Dave Parker hit one-out singles in the first, and Ed Ott and Phil Garner led off the second with singles.  It went for naught both times.

From the third through the eighth, the Pirates had just one baserunner.  They finally knocked Swan out in the ninth when John Milner followed a one-out walk to Stargell with a double.  Skip Lockwood, though, came on to strand the runners at second and third, ending the game.

Meanwhile, Robinson quickly served notice of how his game was going to go.  He walked the game’s first two batters, but pitched out of it.  He wasn’t hurt by single walks in the second and third.  It finally caught up to him in the fourth, when he walked John Stearns with two out.  Joel Youngblood followed that with a home run.

Robinson had an especially interesting inning in the fifth, allowing no runs despite walking four.  The first one was Swan, leading off the inning.  Frank Taveras hit into a force play, then got thrown out stealing.  Robinson walked the next three batters, but got Steve Henderson to ground out.

The Mets made it 3-0 in the seventh when Robinson gave up a two-out double to Lee Mazzilli and a single to Willie Montanez.  Despite nine walks, he somehow got through seven innings, partly because he allowed only four hits.  Kent Tekulve and Grant Jackson each threw a scoreless inning to finish out the game.  Robinson fell to 2-3.  No Pirate had more than one hit and Milner had the only extra-base hit, a double.  Pops went 0-3 with a walk in his return.