Pittsburgh Pirates Rally for Fourth Consecutive Victory
By Marty Leap
On Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs for their fourth consecutive victory
The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 67-72 this season. This comes as a result of an exciting come-from-behind 4-3 loss victory over the Chicago Cubs in game two of their four-game series on Tuesday night. With the victory, the Pirates have now won four games in a row.
The Pirates are now 4-1 on their current home stand and 9-8 against the Cubs this season. This victory was one of the best of the season for the Pirates. The Bucs trailed from the bottom of the 3rd inning until the bottom of hte 8th inning and were not doing much on offense. However, they were able to explode in the bottom of the 8th inning to get the victory.
With the struggling Ivan Nova‘s start being skipped, lefty Steven Brault got the ball for the Pirates on Tuesday night. This was Brault’s first Major League start this season after he was named the International League Pitcher of the Year for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians this season.
After the first two Chicago hitters of the game singled, Kris Bryant reached on a fielder’s choice. Despite reaching base, Max Moroff made a spectacular play at second base to retire the middle man. Ben Zobrist then hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0 Cubs.
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In the bottom of the 2nd inning the Pittsburgh Pirates would grab the lead courtesy of the long ball. David Freese singled with one out and this was followed by the second career home run from Jordan Luplow. Luplow’s bomb traveled 413 feet to the deepest part of the park in left field and it made the score 2-1 Pirates.
This lead, unfortunately, would not last long.
Albert Almora Jr. and Kris Bryant recorded back-to-back singles to start the top of the 3rd inning. After they moved up on a ground out, Ian Happ lined a two-run single to right field. This gave the Cubs the lead back at 3-2.
Steven Brault wound up pitching 5 innings for the Pirates. He allowed three runs on eight hits, two walks, and he failed to record a strikeout. While Brault did not pitch all that well on Tuesday night he did a nice job of limiting damage to keep the Pirates in the game.
In the top of the 6th inning Wade LeBlanc entered the game for the Pirates. LeBlanc pitched both the 6th, 7th, and 8th inning for the Pirates and turned in three stellar innings. He retired all nine batters he faced and recorded a strikeout.
Wade LeBlanc’s work on Tuesday night played a huge role in the Pirate victory.
For the Cubs, Kyle Hendricks started on Tuesday night and he was phenomenal. In 6 2/3 innings pitched he allowed just the Luplow home run, four singles, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out a pair.
After Hendricks allowed a two-out single to Elias Diaz in the bottom of the 7th inning, he was lifted for Carl Edwards Jr. who struck out Jordy Mercer to end the inning. Leading off the bottom of the 8th inning Edwards Jr. issued a walk to pinch-hitter John Jaso. Starling Marte then flared a single to right field that Jaso read beautiful allowing him to go all the way to third base with no one out.
Leading off the bottom of the 8th inning Edwards Jr. issued a walk to pinch-hitter John Jaso. Starling Marte then flared a single to right field that Jaso read beautiful allowing him to go all the way to third base with no one out. Max Moroff then blooped a single into left field that scored Jaso to tie the game at 3. However, on the play, Marte attempted to advance to third base and was thrown out on the play.
Carl Edwards Jr. would then uncork a wild pitch to allow Moroff to advance to second base with just one out. After Josh Bell was intentionally walked with two outs, David Freese lined a single up the middle to score Moroff giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, the second Pirate out of the inning on the bases occurred when Josh Bell was thrown out at third base to end the inning.
After all the hoopla and commotion of the bottom of the 8th inning, it was Felipe Rivero time in the top of the 9th inning. To start the inning Rivero struck out Jason Heyward. He then whiffed notorious Pirate killer Jon Jay. Rivero then got Kris Bryant to ground out to end the game.
A big tip of the cap goes to Pirate pitching for this victory. Steven Brault, Wade LeBlanc, and Felipe Rivero combined to retire the final 15 Chicago batters on Tuesday night. This allowed the team to hang around before the offense was able to mount a rally in the bottom of the 8th.
The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to play strong baseball in the month of September. After Tuesday night’s come-from-behind victory the Pirates are now 4-1 this month. The Bucs quest to finish the 2017 season strong is off to a great start.
Next: Pirates Extend Neal Huntington
The third game of this series is scheduled for 7:05 on Wednesday night. Gerrit Cole will get the ball for the Pirates, while the Cubs will hand the ball to lefty Jose Quintana. Cole will be looking for a bounce back start after struggling against the Reds this past Friday, while also pitching the Pirates to a series victory.