Pittsburgh Pirates Win Final Game of 2017 Season
On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates finished their 2017 season with a victory over the Washington Nationals
The season has ended for the 2017 Pittsburgh Baseball Club, however, it has ended with a victory. The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Washington Nationals by a score of 11-6 on Sunday afternoon, to finish the season with back-to-back wins and a 75-87 record.
Also with the win, the Pirates finish the season by going 6-2 in their final eight games. While the 2017 season was a disappointing one, the Bucs were at least able to end the season on a high note.
The Pittsburgh Pirates used a big top of the first inning to jump out to an early lead and never look back on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Bostick singled off of Washington starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez to start the game. Then with two outs, Gonzalez issued back-to-back walks to Josh Bell and David Freese to load the bases. Jordan Luplow was then hit by a pitch to bring home Bostick and give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Saturday night’s hero Max Moroff then ripped a bases clearing three-run double to left field, making the score 4-0 Pirates. Seldom used fourth string catcher Jacob Stallings then hit a ground ball single to center field, Moroff scored and the Pirates led 5-0. Gonzalez then retired his mound opponent Steven Brault to end the inning.
The Washington Nationals would quickly respond in the bottom of the first inning.
Trea Turner doubled to start the inning, and then Brault walked Bryce Harper. This led to a three-run home run from Anthony Rendon to cut the Pirate lead to 5-3. Brault then retired the next three batters to end the inning.
After a scoreless second inning, the wheels fell off the cart for Brault in the bottom of the third inning.
After Daniel Murphy singled to start the inning, Ryan Zimmerman drew a walk. Jayson Werth then hit a RBI double to cut the Pirate lead to 5-4. After Brault walked Matt Wieters, he was lifted for Angel Sanchez.
Angel Sanchez would then pull off the Houdini act. He Michael Taylor to pop out, struck out Gio Gonzalez, and got Trea Turner to ground out. This kept the score at 5-4.
Steven Brault’s strong 2017 season did not end the way he had hoped for. In two innings pitched he allowed four runs on six hits, four walks, and he struck out four.
After Sanchez pitched a scoreless bottom of the fourth inning, Andrew McCutchen hit a one out double in the top of the fifth inning. Due to his sore foot, he was then replaced by pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez.
After a Josh Bell single put runners on the corners, David Freese singled home Rodriguez. This extended the Pirate lead to 6-4. Freese’s hit also chased Gio Gonzalez from the game as he replaced by ex-Pirate Joe Blanton.
Blanton got Jordan Luplow to hit into an inning ending 5-4-3 double play, closing the book on Gonzalez. In 4 1/3 innings pitched on Sunday Gonzalez allowed six runs on seven hits, three walks, and he struck out two.
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Johnny Barbato took over for the Pirates in the bottom of the fifth inning. He issued back-to-back one out walks to Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor, leading to him being pulled for Jack Leathersich.
After Jose Lobaton singled off Leathersich to load the bases, the Pirate lefty cracked down. Leathersich struck out Trea Turner and got Bryce Harper to ground out to end the inning.
Tanner Roark was the new Nationals’ pitcher in the top of the sixth inning. After Max Moroff walked to start the inning, Jacob Stallings doubled him home to make the score 7-4 Pirates. After Gregory Polanco singles to put runners on the corners, a one out fielder’s choice from Starling Marte extended the Pirate lead to 8-4.
After Edgar Santana pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning, Dovydas Neverauskas ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. Michael Taylor hit a home run off of Neverauskas to start the inning. Then with two outs, Bryce Harper singled and Adrian Sanchez doubled to cut the Pirate lead to 8-6.
Ex-Pirate Oliver Perez entered the game for the Nationals in top of the eighth inning. Chris Bostick and Starling Marte recorded back-to-back hits to start the inning. Then with one out, Josh Bell singled home Bostick to make the score 9-6 Pirates. After Jordan Luplow was hit in the foot with a pitch for the second time in the game, the bases were loaded with two outs. Max Moroff then walked with the bases loaded and Jacob Stallings recorded an infield hit, making the score 11-6 Pirates after eight innings of play.
In the bottom of the eighth inning the Pirates turned to Daniel Hudson. Alejandro De Aza singled to start the inning, Howie Kendrick doubled with one out, and then Michael Taylor was hit by a pitch to load the bases with just one out. However, Hudson then got an inning ending double play off the bat of Jose Lobaton.
After the Pirates were retired in order by Matt Albers in the top of the ninth inning, the Pirates turned to Dan Runzler to pitch the team’s final half inning of the season. With two outs and man on first base, Jose Osuna misplayed and then dropped a fly ball to right field. This allowed the Nats to score an unearned run, cutting the Pirate lead to 11-7. The Nats then got another run via an infield hit by Alejandro De Aza, cutting the lead to 11-8 and ending Runzler’s evening.
With a runner on first and two outs, George Kontos replaced Runzler on the mound. Kontos would record a strikeout to close out the 2017 Pirates’ season in an 11-8 victory.
Next: Recap of the 2017 West Virginia Power
Sunday’s season finale for the Pirates was one of the craziest they played in all season long. The 4 hour and 26 minute game was the longest nine inning game in franchise history for both the Nationals and the Pirates. This was a result of the two teams combining for 46 hits to go along with their combined 19 runs.
There is no denying that the 2017 season was a disappointing one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Off the field issues for Jung Ho Kang and Starling Marte, injury issues for Francisco Cervelli and Gregory Polanco, and an inconsistent bullpen all played a large role in the Pirates winning just 75 games this season. By getting healthy, adding a starting pitcher, and reinforcing the bullpen the Pirates should be better in 2018.