The Pittsburgh Pirates were victorious on Wednesday night
Interleague play has not been kind to the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, however, that was not the case on Wednesday night. At PNC Park on Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 6-2 to improve to 3-7 in interleague play season.
With the victory, the team’s overall record improves to 36-42. Additionally, thanks to a Cincinnati Reds victory the Bucs are now just 4 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central. They will now look for a series victory over the Rays on Thursday night.
The 1st inning was a rocky one for Ivan Nova and the Pirates.
With 1 out, Corey Dickerson singled for the Rays. This was followed by an Evan Longoria RBI double to make it 1-0 Rays. On Longoria’s double, Andrew McCutchen got a very poor break on the ball which may have prevented him from making the catch.
In his return from the minor leagues, highly touted prospect Blake Snell started for the Rays on Wednesday night. Snell averaged 5.36 BB/9 in his first 8 Major League starts this season and his control issues continued early on Wednesday night.
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With 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, Snell issued back-to-back walks to McCutchen and David Freese. After this, Jose Osuna ripped a RBI double to left field to tie the game at 1. The ball, however, bounced into the stands forcing Freese to stop at third base.
After Osuna’s double, Josh Bell would draw the third Pirate walk of the inning. Snell the threw a wild pitch allowing Freese to score and the runners to advance. An Elias Diaz single would then plate a pair, making it 4-1 Pirates.
Ivan Nova’s struggles would continue in the top of the 3rd inning. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Wilson Ramos hit a sacrifice fly to cut the Pirate lead to 4-2. Tim Beckham then reached on an infield hit to load the bases with 2 outs. However, Nova was able to get Adeiny Hechavarria to ground out to end the inning.
4-2 would remain the score until the bottom of the 4th inning. Leading off the bottom of the 4th inning Josh Bell cranked his team leading 15th home run of the season. This extended the Pirate lead to 5-2.
Ivan Nova deserves a lot of credit for his work on Wednesday night. He had far from his best stuff, pitched around trouble all night long, and did a fine job of limited damage throughout his outing. Nova pitched 5 innings of Wednesday night and allowed just 2 runs despite surrendering 7 hits, hitting a batter, and walking a pair. This was the first time in 16 starts this season that Nova did not pitch at least 6 innings.
The bottom of the 5th inning saw the Pirate lead grow to 6-2. After an Andrew McCutchen walk, Jose Osuna hit his second RBI double of the night to make it 6-2 Pirates.
Daniel Hudson pitched the top of the 6th inning for the Pirates. Hudson was able to work around a leadoff double to post a zero. Tony Watson pitched the top of the 7th inning, and with runners on the corners and 1 out induced an inning ending 1-6-3 double play to keep the score at 6-2 Pirates.
In the top of the 8th inning, Juan Nicasio pitched for the Pirates. Despite issuing a 1 out walk, Nicasio was able to toss a scoreless inning of work. This included recording a strikeout, to give him 35 in 33 1/3 innings pitched this season.
In a move I was not a huge fan of, Clint Hurdle went to Felipe Rivero in the 9th inning. The reason I did not like it is because the Pirates had a 4 run lead and this seemed to be an opportunity to give the Pirates’ best reliever a night off.
Anyway, as for the inning, a night after looking human Felipe Rivero would look like a pitching god like usual once again. He retired the Rays in order and recorded a pair of strikeouts to slam the door on the Rays.
The third and final game of this series features what should be a doozy of a pitching matchup. Jameson Taillon is slated to start for the Pirates, while Chris Archer is scheduled to go for Tampa Bay. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 PM.