Pittsburgh Pirates Defeat Reds, Win Consecutive Game For First Time Since May


The Pittsburgh Pirates have won consecutive games, woohoo!

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On Friday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a 10-game homestand by starting a three-game weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds. In Friday night’s game something happened that had not occurred in nearly a month – the Pirates won their second consecutive baseball game.

With a 3-2 victory over the Reds the Pirates have now won consecutive games for the first time since May 16th and 17th. The victory also pulled the Pirates back to within one game of .500 on the season at 34-35.

The Pirates got a strong start from Chad Kuhl, overcame some defensive miscues, and did just enough on offense to get the victory on Friday. Most encouragingly, the much maligned Pirate bullpen pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Kuhl and faced just one over the minimum in those three innings.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the 2nd inning the Pirates looked ready to bust the game open.

Back-to-back walks by Colin Moran and Francisco Cervelli were followed by a Josh Bell single to load the bases with no one out. Gregory Polanco then lined a ball right at shortstop Jose Peraza.

Luckily for the Bucs, Peraza dropped the ball. However, it still turned into a 6-4-3 double play that was aided by Polanco’s lack of effort getting down the line. Jordy Mercer then flew out to end the inning. While the Pirates had a 1-0 lead, it felt like a disappointment, and, luckily, not scoring more when they had the opportunity to do so would not come back to bite them.

Polanco not hustling down the first base line on the play is nothing new. It also happened in Arizona against the Diamondbacks earlier in the week. Sadly, just like earlier in the week, Polanco was not benched for this play.

The Reds would quickly tie the game in the top half of the 3rd inning.

With one out and a runner on first, Joey Votto doubled off the top of the bullpen wall in center field. Scooter Gennett would then hit a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 1.

One of the trademarks of the recent Pirate slide would rear it’s ugly head in the top half of the 4th and 5th inning – poor defense.

With two men on and no one out in the top of the 4th inning Reds’ starting pitcher Matt Harvey was looking to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Harvey had a poor bunt that went right back to Kuhl and Kuhl had the lead runner – Adam Duvall – dead to rights at third base. Kuhl would make a poor throw that sailed into left field.

Kuhl’s throwing error allowed Duvall to score giving the Reds a 2-1 lead, while also put runners on second and third with no one out. But, to his credit, Kuhl then got back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to prevent the Cincinnati lead from growing.

PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 15: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on June 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 15: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on June 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Then in the top of the 5th inning, Gennett would reach second base when he attempted to bunt to start the inning due to a poor throw by Cervelli that Bell missed. Kuhl would get a pair of groundouts and a pop out to once again work out of trouble.

Kuhl would turn in another strong start on Friday night as he held the Reds to just two runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits, three walks, and six strikeouts in 6 innings of work. Most impressively, he worked around defensive miscues by both himself and others to thwart multiple Cincinnati threats that could have busted the game open.

Leading off the bottom of the 6th inning Elias Diaz recorded a pinch hit single. Josh Harrison then lined a single to center. On top of putting two men on with no one out, Harrison’s single chased Harvey from the game.

Reds’ manager Jim Riggleman would turn to Wandy Peralta. Peralta would face just one batter – Corey Dickerson – and walk him. With the bases loaded and no one out, Riggleman went to the bullpen again calling upon Michael Lorenzen.

Lorenzen would allow back-to-back sacrifice flies to Starling Marte and Moran. These sac flies gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

Harvey pitched 5+ innings on Friday night, struggled with control, had a high pitch count, and allowed three runs on six hits, walking two, and recording just two strikeouts. While the Pirates were able to get three runs off of Harvey, they easily could have, and probably should have, had more.

With the Pirates now leading 3-2, Clint Hurdle turned to Tyler Glasnow in the top of the 7th inning. After Glasnow committed a one-out error, he quickly cleaned his mistake up by inducing an inning ending 5-4-3 double play.

Glasnow needed just nine pitches to retire the Reds in the bottom of the 7th inning. Due to this, as well as the Pirate bullpen being an utter dumpster fire of late, the right move seemed to be leaving Glasnow in the game. Instead, Hurdle pinch hit for him in the bottom of the 7th inning and went to Kyle Crick in the top of the 8th inning.

While the move was a debatable one, it worked out for Hurdle and Pirates. Crick retired the Reds in order while recording a pair of strikeouts. This was great to see as Crick was in dire need of a bounce-back outing after his disastrous outing against the Diamondbacks on Monday night that included two walks, two wild pitches, and a balk.

The once dominant now wildly inconsistent Felipe Vazquez took the mound in the top of the 9th inning. On this night the Pirates got the dominant Vazquez they came to know and love in 2016, 2017, and early 2018. Vazquez worked around a weakly hit bloop single by Tucker Barnhart to retire the other three batters he faced, while striking out a pair, to end the game.

As Lou Brown once famously said: “we won a game yesterday. We win one today that’s two in a row, we win one tomorrow that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.” Due to tonight’s victory, tomorrow, the Pirates will be looking for their first winning streak since mid-May.

Next: Pirate Week in Review: 6/8 - 6/14

Game two of the series is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Ivan Nova will make his second start since returning from the disabled list for the Pirates, while the Reds plan to hand the ball to young righty Luis Castillo.