Pittsburgh Pirates 8, Arizona Diamondbacks 3: Stars And Stiffs

May 24, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) and left fielder Starling Marte (6) react after both players scored runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) and left fielder Starling Marte (6) react after both players scored runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates finished off a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with an 8-3 victory on Thursday afternoon.

The Pittsburgh Pirates finished off an 8-2 homestand on Thursday afternoon by defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3. The Pirates overcame an early deficit, as well as some early defensive struggles, to rally to beat the Diamondbacks going away. With the victory, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 27-19 on the season.

This was the second come from behind victory in as many days for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ace Gerrit Cole struggled early on, with no help from his first inning defense, and only lasted five innings due to his pitch count. Here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs from Thursday afternoon’s victory.

STARS

Third baseman Jung Ho Kang – The Korean slugger went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI on Thursday afternoon. After Thursday afternoon’s game Kang owns a .298/.364/.702/1.066 slash line, to go along with a .436 wOBA and a wRC+ of 181.

Kang also made a big defensive play in this game. With one out in the top of the first inning, and the Diamondbacks having runners on second and third, Jung Ho Kang fielded a ground ball hit by Arizona’s Brandon Drury. Kang proceeded to throw home to cut down the run, and it kept the Diamondbacks lead at 1-0. 

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Getting Jung Ho Kang back from offseason surgery earlier in the month has been a huge shot in the arm for the Pirates. It is also remarkable to see how quickly Kang has bounced back from such a catastrophic injury last September.

Pinch hitter Josh Harrison – Josh Harrison was not in the lineup for a second consecutive day due to an illness. The Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman did get an at bat as a pinch hitter, though, and this would prove to be the biggest at bat of the game.

Harrison stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, two runners on base, and the game tied at three. Harrison proceeded to smack a double off of the Clemente Wall that scored Francisco Cervelli and Sean Rodriguez to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-3 lead. This was a lead the Pirates would not relinquish, and Harrison’s pinch hit double proved to be the game winning hit.

Relief pitcher Rob Scahill – After Kyle Lobstein allowed the first two batters of the top of the seventh to reach base, Pirate manager Clint Hurdle turned to right-handed reliever Rob Scahill. Undoubtedly many Pirate fans were feeling tense at this point, but Scahill bailed the Buccos out.

The first batter Scahill faced hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Then, Scahill got a fly ball to right field, with an assist going to Gregory Polanco who made a great sliding catch, to end the inning. This was Scahill’s first outing since rejoining the Pirates yesterday, and it was one of the biggest he has ever had in his two seasons as a Pirate.

STIFFS

Relief pitcher A.J. Schugel – After Gerrit Cole was only able to last five innings due to his pitch count, A.J. Schugel took over in the top of the sixth inning. Prior to what many on Pirates Twitter believe, Schugel had been a very reliable reliever for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. Entering today’s outing Schugel had a 3.32 FIP, 3.53 xFIP, he was averaging just 2.04 BB/9, and was averaging 8.66 K/9.

However, today did not go well for Mr. Schugel. In one inning of work Schugel allowed two runs on three hits, a walk, and a he struck a batter out. Despite struggling today Schugel still has a 3.36 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, and a strike out rate of 8.68 K/9 this season.

Relief pitcher Kyle Lobstein – After the Pirates took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, they turned to left-handed reliever Kyle Lobstein in the top of the seventh inning. However, the outing for Lobstein would be short lived. Lobstein faced two batters, allowed one hit, one walk, and then was pulled for Rob Scahill.

There is a reason that Kyle Lobstein, who now has a 4.79 ERA and a 4.73 FIP on the season, was optioned to AAA a few weeks ago. As soon as Tony Watson returns from paternity leave, which will be either tomorrow or Saturday, Lobstein will find himself back at Indianapolis.

Next: Gregory Polanco And Sean Rodriguez Are Murdering Baseballs

That will do it for today. The Pittsburgh Pirates finished off an extremely successful homestand by sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Bucs will head to Arlington this weekend to play the Texas Rangers a season high eight games over .500 at 27-19.

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