Happ shuts down Arizona offense in 4-1 Pittsburgh Pirates’ win
By Todd Boyer
On Wednesday night, coming off an extra inning win on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates (70-47) hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks (58-60) in the rubber match of a three-game set. Pirates’ starter J.A. Happ (5-7, 4.42 ERA) allowed no runs on two hits, while adding three strikeouts and just two walks across six innings in the 4-1 win.
In the bottom of the first inning, with Jung Ho Kang on third base, Michael Morse struck out swinging, but on the play, Kang scored on a Robbie Ray wild pitch, giving Pittsburgh the early 1-0 lead and moving Francisco Cervelli in scoring position.
On the next at-bat, with Cervelli on second base, Sean Rodriguez singled to right field, scoring Cervelli, and extending the Pirates’ lead to 2-0.
Later in the inning, with Happ on first base, Gregory Polanco doubled to deep center field, scoring Happ, advancing the Pittsburgh lead to 3-0 at the end of the second inning.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the bases loaded, Diamondbacks’ bullpen arm Zack Godley walked Pedro Alvarez, scoring Starling Marte, giving the Pirates the late 4-0 lead.
In the top of the ninth inning, things got interesting. With Ender Inciarte on second base, Paul Goldschmidt singled to left center field off of closer Mark Melancon, scoring Inciarte, but it was too little too late, as Pittsburgh won by the final score of 4-1.
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What Stood Out
Pirates’ starter J.A. Happ went six scoreless innings, making a second consecutive good start for the Bucs.
The Pirates’ bullpen continues to be strong, as they held the Arizona offense to just one late run, while allowing only two hits and a free pass, and the only score coming off a Goldschmidt RBI off closer Melancon.
With the win tonight, Pittsburgh currently sits five games back of the National League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals, and the Pirates are currently 3 1/2 games up on the NL Central rival Chicago Cubs for the first National League wild card spot.
On Thursday, Pittsburgh hosts the World Series champion San Francisco Giants (65-55) in game one of a four-game set. In early June, in San Francisco, the Pirates swept the Giants in a three-game series, outscoring San Francisco 16-9.
On Thursday, Pittsburgh sends out right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton (7-4, 4.36 ERA) to start the series against Giants’ right-hander Jake Peavy (3-5, 4.18 ERA). Last time out against Mets, Morton went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs off four hits, one walk, and a season-high nine strikeouts.
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