Pittsburgh Pirates Walk Off Arizona Diamondbacks To Start 3 Game Series
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates were walk-off winners on Memorial Day
On Monday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates improved to 24-28 on the season. This came via a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. With the win, the Pirates continue their hot play of late as they are now 10-6 in their last 16 games.
This was a very gratifying win, as the Pirates had to overcome not finishing the Diamondbacks off in the top of the 9th inning when they were down to their last strike. This win, however, may prove to be a costly one as both Gregory Polanco and Chris Stewart had to exit the game early due to injuries.
The Arizona Diamondbacks quickly took a 1-0 lead. With 2 outs in the top of the 1st inning, Yasmany Tomas would collect a RBI single on a softly hit ground ball that rolled into left field. This scored David Peralta and made it 1-0 Arizona.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates would tie the game. Jordy Mercer collected his first triple of the season with just 1 out, and this was followed by a Josh Bell sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1.
The top of the 6th inning may have been a costly one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Right fielder Gregory Polanco was chasing after a ball hit by Tomas. In foul territory, Polanco crashed into the short fence in right field. Afterward, he would be carted off the field.
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Polanco just returned from the disabled list this past Thursday and had been swinging a hot bat. After going 1-for-2 with a stolen base on Monday, he was 5-for-13 with a pair of home runs since returning from the disabled list. If Polanco has to go back on the DL, that will be a huge loss for the Pirates.
Jose Osuna would take over for Polanco in right field.
Trevor Williams started for the Pirates and turned in his fourth consecutive strong start. Williams pitched a career high 6 innings on Monday and held the high-powered Diamondback offense to just 1 run on 4 hits. He did not walk a batter, hit a pair, and struck out 3. This was the fourth consecutive start in which Williams went at least 5 innings, and allowed 3 earned runs or less.
In the top fo the 7th inning, Juan Nicasio took over on the mound for the Pirates. Nicasio would fire a 1-2-3 inning that included a pair of strikeouts. He now has 21 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings pitched this season.
To start the bottom of the 7th inning, Jose Osuna hit a ball off the glove of Arizona third baseman Jake Lamb. The ball then rolled into foul territory giving Osuna a leadoff double. After John Jaso popped out, Andrew McCutchen would walk to put men on first and second with just one out.
Alen Hanson then popped out to Jake Lamb in foul territory for the second out of the inning. Chris Stewart then hit a 2-out, 2-run triple into the left-center field gap. This was Stewart’s second triple of the season, and of his career, and made it 3-1 Pirates.
On the triple, however, Stewart pulled his hamstring. Due to this, he had to exit the game with Francisco Cervelli taking over behind the plate. Odds are, Stewart will end up on the disabled list with Elias Diaz returning to the Major Leagues as a result.
The top of the 8th inning belonged to Felipe Rivero. To start the inning, he issued a rare walk to Chris Owings. David Peralta then reached on an infield hit. This gave the Diamondbacks men on first and second with no one out and Paul Goldschmidt at the plate.
Rivero would get Goldschmidt to ground out to shortstop on what appeared to be a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play. However, new second baseman Gift Ngoepe would throw the ball over the head of first baseman John Jaso. Jaso then had an opportunity to throw out Owings when he rounded third too far but failed to do so due to a poor throw.
The Diamondbacks should have had a runner on third with 2 outs, but, instead, had runners on the corners with just 1 out. Rivero then got Jake Lamb to pop out to Josh Harrison, who made a fine sliding grab, in foul territory for the second out of the inning. He then got Nick Ahmed to ground out to third base to end the inning.
It was a great job of pitching by Rivero to get out of a mess that was not totally his making. He continues to prove to be the Pirates best relief pitcher, and one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball.
Pirate closer Tony Watson took over on the mound in the top of the 9th inning. Watson struck out the first 2 hitters of the inning. He then gave up a single to the weak hitting Daniel Descalso. Then, he allowed a game-tying 2-run home run to the also weak hitting Chris Iannetta.
This outing continued Watson miserable season. In 22 1/3 innings pitched this season Watson has allowed 4 home runs (1.61 HR/9), 29 hits, and is averaging 3.22 BB/9. He now owns a 5.30 FIP and a 4.81 xFIP.
Archie Bradley then came in for the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the 9th inning. On the third pitch of the inning, Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off home run to right field. This gives McCutchen 8 home runs this season. Hopefully, this will get McCutchen going after a slow start to the season.
Next: A Rotation Change The Pirates Should Make
Game 2 of this 3 game series is scheduled for 7:05 on Tuesday night. Ivan Nova is scheduled to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates, while Robbie Ray is scheduled to start for Arizona.