The Pittsburgh Pirates’ got their 7 game road trip off to a great start on Monday night in Milwaukee
On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates started a crucial 7 game road trip. This road trip starts with a 4 game series at the first place Milwaukee Brewers, and Monday night saw the Pirates start this road trip on a high note.
Miller Park has long been a house of horrors for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This was not the case on Monday night, however. Powered by an excellent start by Gerrit Cole and lots of offense, the Pirates improved to 32-38 on the season and pulled to 5 games back of the first place Brewers.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were 8-1 victors on Monday night. With the win, they are now 3-1 against the Brewers this season. Hopefully, a sign of things to come in the rest of this series.
The long ball has plagued Gerrit Cole all season long. Travis Shaw continued these woes when he led off the bottom of the 2nd inning with his 13th home run of the season. This gave the Brewers an early 1-0 lead.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would then rally in the top of the 3rd inning, and cruise the rest of the way.
Frazier snuck a base hit through the left side of the Brewer infield that would score Cervelli easily. In a poor decision, third base coach Joey Cora sent Mercer. Luckily, Mercer just barely snuck in under the tag of catcher Manny Pina. This gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
After Josh Harrison replaced Frazier on a fielder’s choice, Gregory Polanco singled and David Freese walked. This brought Josh Bell to the plate with 2 outs and the bases loaded. Bell got over anxious at the plate, swung at what would have been ball 4, and grounded out to end the inning.
The Pirates were able to make Milwaukee starting pitcher Matt Garza work in the top of the 3rd inning and throw a ton of pitches. However, they easily could have, and maybe should have, scored more than just 2 runs.
Gerrit Cole would settle in and begin to mow through the Brewers. After the Shaw home run, he retired 12 of the next 15 batters he faced. He was also able to make a nice play to start a 1-6-3 double play after a leadoff walk in the 5th inning.
David Freese singled to start the top fo the 6th inning. Then with 1 out, Andrew McCutchen remained red hot hitting his team leading 13th home run. This extended the Pirate lead to 4-1 and chased Matt Garza from the game.
Wily Peralta then entered the game for the Brewers. He would get a pop out and a strikeout to clean up the top of the 6th inning.
In 5 1/3 innings pitched on Monday night, Garza allowed 4 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts. Honestly, the Brewers’ right-handed pitcher is lucky his final line was not worse.
Eric Sogard singled to start the bottom of the 6th inning and moved to second base on a passed ball by Francisco Cervelli. However, Gerrit Cole would then buckle down. He struck out Eric Thames swinging, got Domingo Santana to ground out to shortstop, and then struck out Travis Shaw looking to end the inning.
Cole continued his strong night at the plate by singling to start the top of the 7th inning, this was followed by Wily Peralta walking Adam Frazier. Josh Harrison then hit a ball into the right-center field gap that turned into a RBI double to make it 5-1 Pirates.
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Gregory Polanco then bulleted a base hit into left field. Adam Frazier scored, as would Josh Harrison. Harrison slipped rounding third base and would not have scored, however, Milwaukee left fielder Hernan Perez fell down when fielding the ball allowing Harrison to score. This made it 7-1 Pirates.
Polanco was able to advance to second base on this play, and, for some unknown reason, the official scorer gave him a double. Not that the struggling Polanco will complain about that one bit at all.
After an infield single by David Freese and a Josh Bell strikeout, Andrew McCutchen delivered a RBI single to make the score 8-1 Pirates. This led to Peralta being lifted for Paolo Espino. Espino would get Francisco Cervelli to hit into an inning ending double play.
All season long the Milwaukee Brewers have had one of the worst bullpens in all of Major League Baseball, and this continued on Monday night. Getting into the Brewer bullpen as often as possible will continue to be a key for the Pirates each of the next 3 days.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Gerrit Cole did exactly what you want to see a pitcher do after his offense has a big inning. Cole retired the Brewers in order to cap off his strong night on the hill. In 7 innings pitched Cole allowed just the Travis Shaw home run, a pair of singles, he walked 2 batters, and he struck out 5.
After four consecutive poor starts, Cole has now thrown back-to-back gems in which he has allowed just 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings of work. Most impressively, these outings have come against two of the best offenses in the National League in the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers.
Ex-Brewer Jhan Marinez took over for the Pirates in the bottom of the 8th inning. Despite a leadoff double, hitting a batter, and uncorking a wild pitch, Marinez was able to put up a zero. He was able to generate a pair of groundball outs, as well as recording a strikeout.
Marinez would remain in the game to pitch the bottom of the 9th inning for the Pirates. He would pick up another strikeout while posting a zero to close out the game.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, this 7 game road trip could not have gotten off to a better start. They went into their house of horrors, picked up a dominant victory, and made up a game on first place Milwaukee.