Pittsburgh Pirates Overcome Early Bad Luck To Avoid Being Swept By The Diamondbacks
The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to salvage a game in the desert on Wednesday afternoon
It was not easy, but the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 5-4 on Wednesday. With the win, the Pirates avoided being swept by the D-Backs and improved to 33-36 on the season.
The old saying goes ‘when it rains it pours,’ and the monsoon appeared ready to continued on Wednesday for the Pirates.
In the bottom of the 1st inning with the game scoreless, two outs, and a runner on first base, Jameson Taillon got David Peralta to hit a line drive to left fielder Austin Meadows. A few steps in front of the wall Meadows gloved the ball and appeared to make an inning ending catch. Instead, the ball bounced out of Meadows glove and went over the wall for a two-run home run.
As Joe Block said on the Pirates’ broadcast this was nothing short of a freak play that will never happen to Meadows again in his career.
To the Pirates’ credit, the offense would bounce back immediately in the top half of the 2nd inning against former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.
Colin Moran singled, Francisco Cervelli walked, and Josh Bell doubled. Bell’s double drove home Moran, and was the 11th time he had reached base safely in his previous 14 trips to the plate.
After Gregory Polanco walked to load the bases, Jordy Mercer ripped a double down the left field line. Mercer’s double scored Cervelli and Bell and gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
The Pirate lead would grow to 4-2 when Polanco scored on a groundout by Josh Harrison.
Mercer’s big day at the plate continued in the top of the 4th inning when he hit a solo home run. His 4th home run of the season grew the Pirate lead to 5-2.
All in all, the Pirate offense did a fine job against Greinke on Wednesday afternoon. After Starling Marte doubled and Moran and Cervelli walked to load the bases in the top of the 5th inning, Greinke was lifted from the game. In 4 2/3 innings pitched, Greinke allowed five runs on five hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts.
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Outside of being victimized by the unluckiest home run he will ever allow, Taillon shut the Diamondbacks down on Wednesday afternoon. In 7 innings of work Taillon allowed just the two runs on Peralta’s fluke home run, six hits, two walks, and he struck out four.
It was a workhorse like effort from Taillon he threw 108 pitches in his outing and gave the Pirates the length they desperately needed out of him. A big tip of the cap to Taillon who continues to pitch well since adding a slider to his repertoire four starts ago.
After Taillon’s day came to an end, Clint Hurdle turned to his much maligned bullpen in the bottom of the 8th inning. Edgar Santana got the nod instead of Kyle Crick who had been pitching the 8th inning of late. Santana would reward Hurdle for his show of faith by retiring the Diamondbacks in order.
Hopefully, this will be the start of Santana hammering down the 8th inning role. While I am very anti set bullpen roles, Hurdle, like most managers, is not. So if they’re going to exist, the Bucs should use Santana as the primary setup man for Felipe Vazquez.
Speaking of Vazquez, he struggled yet again on Wednesday. However, he was still able to close out the game for the Pirates.
A pair of walks and a base hit had the bases loaded with two outs for the Diamondbacks. Worst of all for the Pirates was that lifelong Pirate killer Jon Jay was stepping to the plate. Jay fisted a two-strike pitch from Vazquez into left field to score a pair of runs.
Jay was also able to advance to second base on the play. As a result, the Pirate lead was cut to 5-4 with the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run in scoring position. After intentionally walking Paul Goldschmidt, the bases were loaded once again. This time Vazquez was able to punch out Jake Lamb to end the game.
Despite hitting 100+ miles per hour multiple times in his outing, Vazquez continued to struggle with control. Many of his pitches that missed the strike zone were not even close. Luckily, the Pirate offense gave him enough of a cushion to make it a moot point.
Next: Pirates Sign Six More Draft Picks
After a day off on Thursday, the Pirates will return home for a 10 game homestand. This homestand will begin with a three-game series against the Reds. Game one of their series against the Reds is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Friday. Chad Kuhl will look to continue his recent success (3.10 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 24.3% strikeout rate his last seven starts) as he battles Matt Harvey and the Red Legs.