Pittsburgh Pirates Walk Off Brewers, Pull to 4 Out of First Place
Wednesday night was a thrilling walk off victory for the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 47-48 this season. This comes as a result of a 3-2 walk off victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. Additionally, this win pulls them to just 4 games out of first place in the National League Central.
With the victory, the Pirates are now 5-1 through the first 6 games of this critical 7 game homestand. This was the team’s third walk off victory on the homestand. Wednesday night’s victory also moved the Pittsburgh Pirates past the St. Louis Cardinals into third place in the National League Central divison.
Gerrit Cole started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
In the top of the first inning, Domingo Santana snuck a double inside the third base line to start the inning. With 1 out, Francisco Cervelli attempted an ill-advised pick off throw down to second base. The throw was wide of the bag and Josh Harrison failed to come off the bag to keep the ball in the infield. This allowed Santana to get to third base.
Then, Jesus Aguilar hit a ball that would not stick in Harrison’s glove. This allowed Aguilar to reach and Santana to score. This made it 1-0 Brewers. After this, Gerrit Cole would dominate.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates would tie the game in the bottom of the 1st inning.
To start the inning, Starling Marte singled. Josh Harrison then reached on an infield single, and Marte went to third base and Harrison to second on an Orlando Arcia throwing error. Andrew McCutchen then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1.
The Pirates had another great scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Francisco Cervelli walked with 1 out and then went to third base on a Jordy Mercer single. With runners on the corner and just 1 out, Gerrit Cole laid down a squeeze bunt attempt. However, Cervelli was thrown out at home to thwart the threat.
David Freese singled to start the bottom of the 4th inning and Cervelli collected a 1 out hit. With Mercer batting, Freese and Cervelli were on the move on a 3-2 pitch. However, Mercer struck out and Freese was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Cervelli would collect his second hit of the game leading off the bottom of the 7th inning. Unfortunately, Mercer would hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Pinch-hitter Josh Bell then struck out to end the inning.
In 7 innings of work on Wednesday night, Gerrit Cole dominated. He allowed just the 1 run on 6 hits, zero walks, and 10 strikeouts. This was the first double digit strikeout game of the season for Cole and 10th of his career.
Milwaukee starting pitcher Zach Davies also pitched 7 innings on Wednesday night. He held the Pirates to just 1 run on 8 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts. Davies has been horrible this season (5.08 ERA, 5.04 FIP) which made his strong start so frustrating.
The Milwaukee Brewers had the top of their lineup due up in the top of the 8th inning. Due to this, Clint Hurdle should have gone with Felipe Rivero. However, he made the wrong move and went with Juan Nicasio instead. Before the game, Hurdle said Rivero would only be available for a, ugh, save situation on Wednesday night. Managing to the save nearly cost the Pirates the game on Wednesday night.
Juan Nicasio allowed a home run to Domingo Santana to start the 8th inning. This was just the second home run Nicasio has allowed this season, but it was a costly one. Nicasio would retire the next 3 batters he faced, but not before the Brewers led 2-1.
A.J. Schugel pitched the top of the 9th inning for the Pirates. He posted a zero for the Bucs and recorded a strikeout. He also got some help from his defense as the Pirates perfectly executed a rundown play with runners on the corners and 2 outs.
John Jaso pinch-hit for the Pirates to start the bottom of the 9th inning. He drove Corey Knebel‘s first pitch of the inning to the wall in center field, where Milwaukee center field Keon Broxton made a tremendous leaping grab. Off the bat, it appeared Jaso had hit a game tying home run.
After Jaso’s close call, Knebel issued a 1-out walk to David Freese who would give way for pinch-runner Max Moroff. Gregory Polanco then collected a ground ball base hit to right field, which put runners on the corners with still just 1 out.
Francisco Cervelli then collected his third hit of the night when he blooped a ball into right field. This scored Moroff and tied the game at 2. After Jordy Mercer popped out to second base, Adam Frazier would pinch-hit for the Pirates.
Tony Watson pitched the top of the 10th inning for the Pirates. In the top of the 10th inning, Watson continued his recent strong work. He retired the Brewers in order, which included recording a pair of strikeouts.
Josh Harrison would blast a 1-out double to center field in the bottom of the 10th inning. The Brewers and ex-Bucco Jared Hughes then intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen to get to John Jaso.
Jaso would fly out to center field. On the fly out, Harrison tagged and moved up to third base. Max Moroff then stepped to the plate for his first at bat of the game. Moroff would bloop a hit into shallow center field for his first career walk off hit to give the Pirates a 3-2 victory.
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Wednesday night was a great victory for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They looked dead in the water in the 9th inning against one of the best relievers in the National League, but the Battlin’ Buccos rallied to tie the game and then walked it off in the bottom of the 10th inning. The Pirates now have 5 victories this season when they entered the 9th inning trailing.
The series finale is scheduled for 12:35 tomorrow afternoon. On paper, it looks like a great pitching duel between Jameson Taillon and Jimmy Nelson. With a win, the Pirates will finish off a sweep of the Brewers and pull to just 3 games out of first place in the division.