Morton was erratic in allowing eight runs over four innings, on nine hits, four walks and a three-run home run by Chase Utley. He threw 40 balls among his 103 pitches, and he was even wild within the strike zone, usually missing catcher Mike McKenry's spots.
"He just couldn't get the ball down consistently," manager Clint Hurdle said. "When Charlie just lets it happen, it works for him. He tried tonight to make it happen. Different guys are wired differently."
Morton has failed to pitch as many as six innings in his last eight starts, the most recent one coming June 4. His ERA has gone from 2.52 to 4.04 in that span.
"The league punches back," Hurdle said. "Charlie had some early success, and now he's got to get back."
The Pirates could use the early season Morton back in a hurry. If not, look for Ross Ohlendorf or Brad Lincoln to come up from the minors to take his place in the rotation. Ohlendorf made a Class AAA rehab start Friday, going five innings for Indianapolis and allowing one run on three hits, with a strikeout and three walks. His fastball sat mostly at 91 mph, which is about his norm.
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