After winning 8 of their previous 9 games, the Pittsburgh Pirates were due for a loss and that loss came on Friday night
Friday night at PNC Park fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates saw the long awaited Major League debut of Austin Meadows. In his debut, the team’s top hitting prospect recorded a pair of hits. However, the team was not as successful as they lost to the San Diego Padres by a score of 3-2.
With the loss, the Pirates are now 26-18 this season. Friday night’s game was one the Pirates could have won. The team wasted too many offensive opportunities and left a small village worth of runners on base in the 3-2 loss.
Tyson Ross started for the Padres on Friday and battled with control issues. He issued back-to-back walks to Adam Frazier and Gregory Polanco to start the bottom of the 1st inning. Then with 2-outs, Josh Bell doubled home Frazier to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
With 1-out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Ross would once again walk Frazier. This led to a run-scoring single from Corey Dickerson that made the score 2-0 Pirates.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Meadows would record his first career hit and record his first career stolen base. His second career hit came in the bottom of the 6th inning. The latter of two put two men on base, but the Pirates would strand them.
Despite issuing 4 walks and allowing 5 hits, Ross was able to keep the Pirates in check on Friday night. The Pirate offense would fail to capitalize further against Ross, who would allow just a pair of runs in 6 innings pitched.
Ivan Nova started for the Pirates and breezed through the first 3 innings of the game. Then in the top of the 4th inning, poor defense, some of which was by Nova, would lead to the Padres tying the game.
Travis Jankowski singled to start the inning and scored on a 1-out double by Eric Hosmer. Nova then got Franchy Cordero to groundnut, but Nova failed to catch the relay throw from Bell while covering first base. This error allowed Cordero to reach and Hosmer to move up a base.
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Searching for a double play, Nova got the ground ball he was looking for. Raffy Lopez grounded out to second baseman Adam Frazier, however, Frazier failed to field the ball cleanly. Due to this, he only got one out on the play and Hosmer scored to tie the game at 2.
Then in the top of the 6th inning, bad luck would bite Nova. With two outs, Hsomer doubled on an excuse me check swing double to left field. Cordero then blooped a base hit to left field scoring Hosmer, giving the Padres a 3-2 lead.
In 6 innings pitched on Friday night Nova allowed 3 runs – 2 earned – on 6 hits, no walks, and 4 strikeouts. In all honesty, Nova pitched better than his final line indicated.
In the bottom of the 7th inning the Pirates had a great opportunity to at least tie the game. With 1-out, Polanco was plunked by a Kirby Yates pitch. He then stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, Yates would strikeout Dickerson and Colin Moran, with a walk to Bell sandwiched in between, to strand Polanco.
In the bottom of the 8th inning the Pirates would threaten again. Facing Craig Stammen, Jordy Mercer would single off of Stammen’s foot with 2-outs. This was following by an infield pinch hit single by Jose Osuna.
Stammen would then walk Frazier to load the bases. This led to San Diego manager Andy Greene making a double switch that included bringing his best reliever – Brad Hand – into the game to pitch. Home plate umpire Ted Barrett then stole the at bat away from Polanco.
Hand’s first two pitches were both balls, but Barrett called them strikes. Hand then fired three consecutive balls to Polanco. At this point, Polanco should have already walked to bring in the tying run. Instead, he was facing a 3-2 count. Polanco hit the ball well, but right at shortstop Freddy Galvis who threw Polanco out to end the inning.
This ran the team’s left on base number up to 11.
After Nova exited, Kyle Crick took over on the hill for the Pirates. The young righty would continue his strong start to the season as he pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th inning. Crick did not allow a hit, walked a pair – one of which was intentional, and struck out a pair. This was followed by a 1-2-3 inning from Richard Rodriguez.
Leading off the bottom of the 9th inning, Dickerson would double. This was the first hit that Hand allowed to a left-handed hitter this season. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Hand would retire the next three batters to end the game running the Pirates’ final left on base total for the night to 12.
Despite the loss on Friday night, the story was Meadows. Starting in center field and batting seventh he went 2-for-4 in the loss. Both of his outs came on balls he drove deep to center field but were both batted down by the wind and caught on the warning track for an out.
The third game of this four-game series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night. Nick Kingham is slated to be recalled from the minor leagues to make his third Major League start for the Pirates, while the Padres plan to send veteran lefty Clayton Richard to the mound.