Chad Kuhl Leads the Pittsburgh Pirates to Victory in Game 2 of Doubleheader
By Marty Leap
Hey, the Pittsburgh Pirates won a baseball game! Yay!
For the first time in a week you can raise the Jolly Roger. After losing to the Detroit Tigers 13-10 in the first game on Wednesday’s doubleheader, the Pittsburgh Pirates bounced back with an 8-3 victory in Wednesday’s nightcap.
This victory snapped a 5 game losing streak for the Pirates and improved their record on the season to 13-11. Hopefully, this game will be the start of the Pirates getting back on track after owning a 1-7 record in their previous 8 games.
Due to having to play a doubleheader on Wednesday the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to call up a 26th player for the second game of the twin bill. The player that they chose was INF/OF Jose Osuna and this proved to be a great choice.
With two men on base and no one out in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Osuna hit a laser of a 3-run home run to straight away centerfield in his first plate appearance of the season. Osuna’s blast gave the Bucs a 3-0 lead and showed why he should be on the 25-man roster instead of an extra reliever.
Following a pair of singles and a sacrifice bunt, the Pirates had runners on second and third with just 1-out. They would fail to take advantage, however, when Sean Rodriguez struck out and Jordy Mercer flew out to end the inning.
Chad Kuhl started the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader for the Pirates and cruised through the game’s first 3 innings. Kuhl retired 9 of the first 12 batters he faced, one of those who reached was caught stealing, and he struck out 5. However, in the top of the 4th inning he ran into trouble.
Jeimer Candelario tripled to start the inning and scored on a Nicholas Castellanos single. After Niko Goodrum doubled, Jacoby Jones lineout to Max Moroff who quickly threw to Mercer covering second base to double off Goodrum. Kuhl then got a pop out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Pirates would chase Detroit starting pitcher Matt Boyd from the game. With 2-outs, Kuhl singled, Rodriguez walked, and Mercer singled. This loaded the bases for the Bucs. Starling Marte would then draw a walk that forced in a run, making the score 4-1 Pirates.
Alex Wilson would take over for the Tigers and he cleaned up Boyd’s mess. Wilson retired Josh Bell to end the inning with a big assist going to Candelario who made a great backhanded snag of Bell’s pop out in foul ground to end the inning.
With 2-outs in the top of the 5th inning, Leonys Martin crushed his second home run of the day to right field. This blast cut the Pirate lead to 4-3 at the game’s halfway point.
In Wednesday’s nightcap, Kuhl gave the Pirates the strong start they were in desperate need of after the way the day’s first game shook out. In 6 innings pitched he allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, a walk, a home run, and 8 strikeouts. Kuhl is off to a strong start this season as he owns a 3.86 FIP through is first 5 starts.
After Kuhl’s departure, the Pirates added to their lead in the bottom of the 6th inning. With 2-outs and Rodriguez on first base, Marte hit a run-scoring double to left field. This gave the Bucs a 5-3 lead after 6 innings of play.
In the top of the 7th inning Clint Hurdle handed the ball to Michael Feliz. Despite Jose Iglesias and Victor Martinez both just barely missing game-tying home runs, and with help from a great catch by Rodriguez in left field, Feliz posted a zero to keep the score at 5-3 Pirates.
In game 1 on Wednesday it was the Pirates allowing unearned runs, in the bottom of the 7th inning of the nightcap the Tigers would return the favor. With 1-out and Osuna on first base, Detroit pitcher fielded a dribbler hit by Elias Diaz and wildly threw the ball into right field. This allowed Osuna to score, extending the Pirate lead to 6-3.
After George Kontos pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 8th inning, the Pirates added to their lead in the inning’s bottom half. David Freese hit a 2-out double off the Clemente Wall, and Joey Cora aggressively waved Mercer home. Mercer would score, extending the Pirate lead to 7-3. Pinch-hitter Colin Moran then drove in Freese to make the score 8-3 Pirates.
In an effort to get some work in, Felipe Vazquez pitched the top of the 9th inning. The Pirate lefty pitched a scoreless inning to finish off the 8-3 Bucco victory.
Wednesday night’s victory was the best game the Pirates have played since last Wednesday’s 10-2 victory over the Rockies. The Bucs got a strong start form Chad Kuhl, the bullpen was lights out, they played strong defense, and the offense produced plenty of runs. Hopefully, this game gets the Bucs back on track.
Also, kudos to the team to bounce back after a tough loss in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. That is something that is not easy to do.
Next: Pirate Mailbag: April 25, 2018
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers will play the third and final game of their series from PNC Park on Thursday afternoon at 12:35 p.m. Ivan Nova is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Tigers plan to give the ball to Michael Fulmer. The Pirates will look to improve to 5-2-1 in series this season.