Pittsburgh Pirates Stay Hot, Win Home Finale
In their past six games the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 5-1
The home scheduled is now finished for the 2017 Pittsburgh Baseball Club. On Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates played their 81st and final home game of the 2017 campaign. The Pirates were able to defeat the Baltimore Orioles in this game by a score of 5-3, finishing the 2017 season with a 44-37 record at PNC Park.
With their victory on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 73-85 overall on the season. By defeating the Orioles they will finish the season 2-2 against the O’s, and 10-10 overall in Interleague Play.
Just as they did the previous night, the Pittsburgh Pirates scored first on Wednesday night. This was made possible thanks in part to great defense from Andrew McCutchen. In the top of the first
In the top of the first inning Austin Hays attempted to advance from first base to second base on a Jonathan Schoop fly out. However, McCutchen threw out Hays at second base for the second out of the inning. Pirate starting pitcher Chad Kuhl then struck out Manny Machado to end the top of the first inning.
In the inning’s bottom half, singles from Adam Frazier and Andrew McCutchen put runners on the corners with just one out. This led to a RBI single from Josh Bell that made the score 1-0 Pirates after an inning of play.
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This lead would be short lived though as the Orioles would, for a lack of a better term, nickel and dime their way to a lead in the top of the second inning. After the O’s recorded back-to-back infield hits to start the inning, Chance Sisco doubled to tie the game. Then a JJ Hardy fielder’s choice and an Anthony Santander double gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
Leading off the bottom of the second inning Gregory Polanco crushed his 11th home run of the season. This cut the Baltimore lead to 3-2. Polanco’s home run was a bullet that left his bat at over 100 miles per hour.
Then in the bottom of the third inning, the Pirates would regain the lead. Following a walk by Andrew McCutchen, Josh Bell launched the 25th home run of his rookie campaign. Bell’s two-run blast gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
The fourth inning would be the last for Baltimore starter Gabriel Ynoa. In just his seventh career start Ynoa allowed four runs on five hits, two home runs, a walk, and three strikeouts in his four innings of work.
Chad Kuhl danced around the raindrops for the Pirates on Wednesday night and was victimized by some bad luck and well placed balls. After back-to-back singles from Pedro Alvarez and Trey Mancini to start the top of the sixth inning, Kuhl was lifted for left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich.
After Leathersich got the left-handed hitting Chance Sisco, he was lifted for Edgar Santana. Santana then got a fly out and a pop out to end the top of the sixth inning keeping the score at 4-3 Pirates.
Chad Kuhl’s final start of 2017 was much like his season as a whole. The young right-handed starter pitched better than his five innings, eight hits, and three runs final line indicated on Wednesday night. For the 2017 season, he pitched better than his season ending 4.35 ERA will indicate as well.
After Dovydas Neverauskas pitched a scoreless top of the seventh inning for the Pirates, Sean Rodriguez hit a double to start the bottom half of the seventh inning. After moving to third base on a groundout out, Rodriguez would come around to score on an infield hit from Starling Marte with two outs. This extended the Pirate lead to 5-3.
George Kontos took over on the mound for the Pirates in the top of the eighth inning. Kontos would retire the O’s in order while recording a pair of strikeouts. He continues to be a great pickup for the Pirates while the Giants’ decision to place him on irrevocable waivers continues to be a mind boggling one.
In the top of the ninth inning with the Pirates leading 5-3 it was Felipe Rivero time. Rivero would retire three of the four batters he faced, record a strikeout, and seal a 5-3 Pirate victory.
It is possible that Wednesday night’s 2017 home finale was Andrew McCutchen’s last home game as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Personally, I expect McCutchen to be a Pirate on Opening Day in 2018. However, a McCutchen trade this offseason should not surprise anyone.
If he is not, at least the Bucs sent Cutch out with three consecutive home wins. One of which was arguably the best game of his Major League career.
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After sweeping their brief two game series against the Orioles, the Pirates will now travel to the nation’s capital for their final series of the season. At 7:05 on Thursday night the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals will start a four-game series at Nationals Park. Ivan Nova will make his final start of the season for the Pirates on Thursday night, while the Nationals will hand the ball to Edwin Jackson.