Locke taking his tough luck with leads in stride

Locke taking his tough luck with leads in stride

WASHINGTON -- Jeff Locke won rotation tenure Saturday night, with 5 2/3 innings of shutout pitching taking him out of consideration for giving up his spot for Gerrit Cole's return.

What Locke did not win, however, was the game. The 3-0 lead over the Nationals he had bequeathed to the Pirates' bullpen became a 4-3 walk-off loss.

It was the latest tough pill fed to the lefty, who does have a winning record (4-3) that would be far better if his pitching days did not match up with some of the Buccos bullpen's poorer days.

Saturday's game represented the 10th time Locke departed with a lead. He has won four of those.

"I'm OK with that," said Locke, who was surprised to learn how often his leads have not held up. "Those [relievers] have done great all year and when they stumble, it just happens to be me this year.

"But they've won me a ton of games. [Blown leads are] a collective effect, because we're all trying to get to the same place. It'll get scary when we get rolling, the way we should."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.