Pittsburgh Pirates Outslug White Sox to Win Series Opener
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Whtie Sox played a long, long game on Tuesday night
In the type of game that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has nightmares about, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox played a 3 hour and 53 minute marathon on Tuesday night. When the 2018 Chicago marathon came to an end, the Pirates stood as 10-6 winners to improve to 20-16 on the season.
As one may imagine in such a game, Tuesday night’s contest was highlighted by poor starting pitching efforts from both Ivan Nova and Lucas Giolito. However, the Pirate bullpen was much better than the White Sox pen and this was the difference in Tuesday night’s game.
It did not take long for things to start to go south in the bottom of the 1st inning.
Leury Garcia reached on an infield single off of Ivan Nova’s foot to start the inning and then scored when Yolmer Sanchez tripled on a ball left fielder Corey Dickerson lost in the lights. After a RBI groundout by Jose Abreau, Nicky Delmonico drew a walk on a ball four that should have been strike three.
This walk that should have been a strikeout was followed by a 2-run home run from Wellington Castillo, making the score 4-0 White Sox. Nova would issue another walk in the inning on a ball four that once again should have been strike three, before finally retiring the side.
While Nova was the victim of some awful luck in the 1st inning, he also did not have good enough control. He found himself with a full count against four hitters, failed to put guys away cleanly once he got to two strikes, and threw 51 pitches in the game’s first frame.
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Making up for his defensive miscue the previous half inning, Dickerson doubled to start the top of the 2nd inning. Then with 1-out, Jose Osuna continued to show why he should have been on the roster all season driving in Dickerson with a single that also advanced Francisco Cervelli, who reached via HBP, to third base.
After a Jordy Mercer fielder’s choice would cut the White Sox lead to 4-2, Chicago starter Lucas Giolito walked Adam Frazier. Gregory Polanco then hammered a hanging changeup from Giolito for a ground rule double. Had Polanco’s double stayed in the field of play it would have tied the game. Instead, Frazier was forced to hold at third.
Luckily, this would not hurt the Pirates. Starling Marte came through with a 2-out base knock to score Frazier to tie the game. On the play, however, Polanco was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The tie would be short lived, though.
With 1-out in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Abreau smoked a double to left field off of Nova. This gave the White Sox a 5-4 lead.
While Nova was victimized by some poor luck on Tuesday night, he also had poor control in what would end up being one of the worst outings of his Major League career. In just 2 innings of work, Nova allowed 5 runs on 6 hits, a home run, and a pair of walks. This was Nova’s second consecutive poor start and, hopefully, is not a sign of things to come.
Chicago starting pitcher Lucas Giolito was not much better than Nova on Tuesday night. The Pirates, however, failed to capitalize.
The Bucs got the first two men on in the top of the 3rd inning but failed to score a run. They also wasted a Polanco base hit in the top of the 4th inning, and there was also Polanco being thrown out at the plate in the top of the 2nd.
Against new White Sox pitcher Chris Volstad the Pirates would take their first lead of the evening in the top of the 5th inning.
With 1-out and Josh Bell and Cervelli on base, Colin Moran blasted a double to straightaway centerfield. Moran’s double plated both Bell and Cervelli to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead. Mercer then drove in his second run of the night by capping off an eight-pitch at bat with a run-scoring single, extending the Pirate lead to 7-5.
After Nova was chased from the game, Tyler Glasnow took over on the mound and helped to settle things down. In 2 1/3 innings pitched Glasnow allowed just a pair of singles and struck out 3 before being lifted for Edgar Santana with 1-out in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Glasnow continues to look like a completely different pitcher this season. He appears confident on the mound than ever before in the Major Leagues while continuing to throw more quality strikes than in the past.
While pulling Glasnow was a bit of an odd move – he had thrown just 41 pitches and the Pirates only got 2 innings out of their starter on Tuesday night – the move worked as Santana would induce an inning ending double play.
Lefty Luis Avilan took over for the White Sox in the top of the 6th inning, and, like Giolito and Volstad before him, things did not go well.
After Polanco drew a leadoff walk, Josh Bell smoked a triple into right field. Then, yet another Dickerson base hit would drive in Bell making the score 9-5 Pirates.
After Santana pitched a scoreless bottom of the 6th inning, Michael Feliz was handed the ball for the bottom of the 7th inning. With the help of a double play and a strikeout, Feliz would toss a scoreless inning.
Facing ex-Pirate Joakim Soria, the Bucs added to their lead in the top of the 8th inning. With Marte on second base, the fourth hit of the night for Dickerson drove in the Pirate centerfielder making the score 10-5 Bucs.
George Kontos pitched the bottom of the 8th inning for the Pirates and his woes would continue. He allowed a home run to Castillo to start the inning, before retiring the next three batters. He also got help from an incredible sliding catch by Marte for the second out of the inning.
Simply looking to get some work in, Felipe Vazquez pitched the bottom of the 9th inning. Felipe would do his thing retiring the White Sox in order to end the game.
Next: Pirate Mailbag: May 8, 2018
Tuesday night’s game was long, wild, and, most importantly, a Pirate victory. Kudos to the Pirates for not folded up shop after getting in a big hole in the bottom of the 1st inning. Instead, the team remained resilient, fought back, and picked up the win.
The second and final game of this abbreviated series is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Trevor Williams is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the White Sox plan to send young righty Reynaldo Lopez to the mound.