Pittsburgh Pirates drop series’ opener to Diamondbacks in 4-1 loss
By Todd Boyer
Coming off a weekend sweep of the New York Mets, the Pittsburgh Pirates (69-46) hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks (57-59) in the early week series. The Diamondbacks scored early and only permitted the Pirates to one run all night, as Pittsburgh lost by a final score of 4-1.
In the top of the first inning, with A.J. Pollock on third base, Arizona’s David Peralta doubled to deep right field off of Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole, scoring Pollock and giving the Diamondbacks the early 1-0 lead. Later in the first, with Peralta on third, Welington Castillo singled to center field, scoring Pollock and extending the Arizona lead to 2-0.
In the top of the second, with Chris Owings on third base, Arizona starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson singled to shallow right field, scoring Owings and advancing the Arizona lead to 3-0.
In the fourth inning, Diamondbacks’ Jake Lamb homered off of Cole, extending the Arizona lead to 4-0.
On the night, Cole allowed four runs on nine hits, but allowed only one walk on five strikeouts in the 6 2/3 inning outing for the Pirates.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Pirates got their only run of the night when Pedro Álvarez homered to right field off of Hellickson. With the home run, Álvarez is now the team leader in homers with 19 on the season. Álverez’s homer was the only bright spot for the Pirates on the evening, as Pittsburgh lost by a final score of 4-1.
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What Stood Out
On the negative, after starting the season 14-5, starter Cole has dropped his last two starts, allowing seven earned runs off of 16 hits in total, but he;s still managed 11 strikeouts and given up only three walks in 12 innings pitched.
The only bright side for Pittsburgh tonight was Álvarez’s home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the Diamondbacks silenced the Pirate bats all night.
With the loss, Pittsburgh now trails the Nation League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals by six games, and only lead the NL Central rival Chicago Cubs by two games for the top spot in the National League wild card race.
Monday’s player of the game had to be Diamondbacks’ starter Jeremy Hellickson, who allowed only one run on three hits, with four strikeouts and only one walk in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Looking to bounce back from a Monday night loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates send out left-hander Francisco Liriano (8-6, 3.19 ERA) on the mound against Diamondbacks’ starter Chase Anderson (5-5, 4.31 ERA) on Tuesday night. Last time out, Liriano allowed three runs across six innings of work against the Cardinals, and is looking to get back to form after a few rough starts.