Pittsburgh Pirates Get Walked Off By Baltimore Orioles
On Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were outslugged by the Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Oriole offense is built around the home run ball. This was on full display in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ loss against the O’s on Tuesday night. The Orioles hit 4 home runs, en route to a 6-5 victory on Tuesday night.
With the loss, the Pirates are now 26-32 on the season. Also, they fall to 2-2 on their current 5 game road trip and 0-4 on the year in interleague play.
It did not take the Baltimore Orioles long to draw first blood on Tuesday night. On just Ivan Nova‘s third pitch of the game Oriole leadoff man Seth Smith hit a solo home run making 1-0 O’s.
After an Adam Jones bunt single, Nova would put out the flames by getting Manny Machado to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. He then retired Baltimore designated hitter Mark Trumbo to end the bottom half of the 1st inning.
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In the top of the 2nd inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates would take their first lead of the game. David Freese singled to start the inning, and then Josh Bell collected a base hit of his own. On Bell’s single, an error by Machado allowed Freese to go to third base.
Andrew McCutchen then collected a RBI single to tie the game at 1. After this, John Jaso hit his 10th double of the season. This double scored Bell put runners on second and third with no one out and made it 2-1 Pirates.
Then with 1-out, Jordy Mercer grounded out to shortstop. However, the Baltimore infield was back and it allowed McCutchen to score. This ran the Pirate lead to 3-1.
The Orioles would threaten in the bottom of the 3rd inning. With 2-outs, Seth Smith reached on a two-base error by Adam Frazier. However, Nova would then get Adam Jones to line out to Frazier to end the inning.
With 1-out in the top of the 6th inning, David Freese extended the Pirate lead. Freese drove a 3-1 pitch from Kevin Gausman into the right field seats for his 6th home run of the season. This extended the Pirate lead to 4-1.
With 2-outs in the inning, Andrew McCutchen stepped to the plate. Cutch gave a Gausman fastball a ride to center field and it appeared to be a home run. However, Oriole center fielder Adam Jones leaped up against the wall and took a home run away from McCutchen with a stellar grab.
The top of the 7th inning proved to be Ivan Nova’s undoing. Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop hit back-to-back home runs to start the inning, cutting the Pirate lead to 4-3. Afterward, Nova would be lifted due to left knee inflammation.
Juan Nicasio then came on for the Pirates. He retired the first 2 batters he faced before allowing a single. Felipe Rivero then entered the game and did what he does, he blew hitters away. Rivero retired all 4 hitters he faced, which included a pair of strikeouts.
In 6+ innings of work on Tuesday night, Ivan Nova allowed 3 runs on a trio of solo home runs. He also allowed a pair of singles, walked 1, and struck out 4.
With 2-outs in the top of the 9th inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates would add to their lead. Adam Frazier had a stellar at-bat against Darren O’Day, which ended in his second walk of the game. This was followed by a RBI triple from Josh Harrison to make it 5-3 Pirates.
Tony Watson took over for the Pirates in the bottom of the 9th inning. As per the usual with Watson, things would not go well.
Chris Davis singled to start the inning, and then Jonathan Schoop crushed his second home run of the game. This tied the game at 5. Watson would then retire the next 3 batters to put the game in extra innings.
Adding to the Pirates’ misery in the 9th inning is that catcher Francisco Cervelli had to exit the game after taking a foul ball off the mask. Adding to the concern here is that Cervelli has a past history of concussions. Elias Diaz took over behind the plate after this.
After having the worst season of his career in 2016, Tony Watson is following it up with an even worse 2017. He now owns a 3.91 ERA, 5.42 FIP, and is allowing home runs at a rate of 1.78 HR/9. All of which are career worsts for Watson.
The role of a closer should not exist. Your best reliever should be used in the highest leverage situation, even if that comes before the 9th inning. But if the Pirates are insistent on having a set closer, it can not be Tony Watson any longer.
After the Pirates were retired in order in the top of the 10th, Wade LeBlanc pitched the bottom of the 10th inning. With 1-out, he allowed a single to Adam Jones. Manny Machado then flew out to the wall in left field, and on some heads up base running Jones advanced to third base.
The heads up base running by Jones proved to be huge because Machado’s fly out would be followed by a Mark Trumbo single to score Jones and end the game in a 6-5 Orioles’ win. Had Jones not moved up on Machado’s fly out, he would not have scored on the play.
Tuesday night’s loss is a tough one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was a game they led for nearly the entirety of, but yet another blown save by Tony Watson proved to be too much to overcome.
Pittsburgh will look to bounce back in game 2 tomorrow night at 7:05 to try and earn a series split. Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates, ugh, while Wade Miley will get the ball for the Orioles.