The Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t overcome a six-run second inning by the Minnesota Twins as the team fell 8-5 at PNC Park on Tuesday night. Francisco Liriano looked to get the Pirates off to a good start as they start an eight-game home stand, but was roughed up in his outing. Liriano gave up seven runs (all earned) on five hits and two walks as he lasted just two innings. His season ERA spiked to 4.15 after the game.
Opposite Liriano on the mound was Ricky Nolasco of the Twins, who didn’t fare too well but managed to walk away with the win. Nolasco gave up four runs (three earned) over 5.2 innings on ten hits and a walk, but the Pirates batted 4-17 with runners in scoring position and couldn’t plate more than one run in any inning. The Twins used four relievers to close out the game as closer Glen Perkins picked up his 14th save of the season.
Minnesota went up 1-0 early in the first inning on a Brian Dozier solo home run. The Twins then tacked on six runs in an explosive second inning which included a two-run home run off the bat of third baseman Trevor Plouffe. The Pirates tried to climb back into the game as they scored one run in each of the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
What Stood Out
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Liriano had his worst outing of the season, which is bound to happen to any pitcher in baseball. The Pirate offense did manage to outhit the Twins 13-8, but their batting with runners in scoring position problems continued yet again. Often times, this statistic averages off as the season progresses. But this has been a consistent problem for the Pirates for the last few seasons. It may be a mentality, but whatever it is, it needs to be addressed and corrected soon.
Josh Harrison had a three-hit game as he continues his hot streak as of late. Jung Ho Kang also had a three-hit game as his average on the season rose to .320 as Jordy Mercer continues to sit in favor of the hot bat. Jose Tabata, who was recalled from Triple-A, had an RBI in his first at-bat on an infield single. What Tabata lacks in power he makes up for in average.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (18-21) finish out their two-game set with the Minnesota Twins (22-17) Wednesday night at 7:05 PM at PNC Park. Jeff Locke (2-2, 5.40 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates as he hopes to secure a rotation spot before the return of Charlie Morton. Mike Pelfrey (3-1, 3.23 ERA) will be sent out for the Twins as the team tries to complete the short sweep.