Pittsburgh Pirates Start Road Trip With Victory Over The New York Mets
The Pittsburgh Pirates started off their nine-game road trip with a victory on Monday night
Entering Monday night the Pittsburgh Pirates were 10-24 in their last 34 games while the New York Mets were 6-23 in their last 29 games. Well, these two teams started a three-game series from Citi Field in New York on Monday so something had to give.
In the battle of two struggling teams the Pirates emerged as 6-4 victors in the first game of their series. With the win, the Bucs snapped a five-game losing streak and improved to 37-41 on the season.
Prior to the game Pirate manager Clint Hurdle changed his lineup around in an effort to get his offense going, and these moves would pay off in the top of the 1st inning.
New leadoff man Starling Marte reached on an error that his speed created to start the inning. After Marte stole second base and advanced to third on a groundout, usually leadoff man Josh Harrison – who batted third on Monday night – hit a sacrifice fly to score Marte giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
With one out in the top of the 2nd inning Gregory Polanco drove a Seth Lugo pitch 425 feet to center field. When the ball landed, Polanco had his 10th home run of the season and the Bucs had a 2-0 lead. Polanco’s solo home run also made him the first Pirate player to reach double digit home runs this season.
New York third baseman Luis Guillomre committed his second error of the game in the top of the 3rd inning. This error allowed Harrison to reach base. After the Mets intentionally walked Colin Moran, Elias Diaz singled home Harrison to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Lugo battled for the Mets, but he did not have his best stuff and was hurt by poor defense. In 5 innings pitched he allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.
Following Lugo, righty Tyler Bashlor made his Major League debut for the Mets. He was welcomed to the Bigs by a two-run home run from Josh Bell. Bell’s 5th of the season, and first since May 31st, made the score 5-0 Pirates.
Jameson Taillon started for the Pirates on Monday night and was brilliant. Turning in his seventh consecutive strong start, Taillon shut the Mets out through the first six innings of the game allowing just five base runners.
Taillon came back out to start the bottom of the 7th inning and allowed back-to-back doubles to Jose Reyes and Kevin Plawecki. Plawecki’s, however, was a ball that went off of Moran’s glove and easily could have been an out.
With the Pirate lead cut to 5-1 and Plawecki on second base, Taillon was lifted for Tyler Glasnow.
Glasnow would face just two batters. He issued a walk and then allowed a three-run home run to pinch hitter Wilmer Flores. Flores’ home run close the book on Taillon and cut the Pirate lead to 5-4.
In 6+ innings pitched Taillon was charged for two runs on four hits, three walks, and he struck out five.
After removing Glasnow, Hurdle made a puzzling decision. Instead of going to Edgar Santana or Kyle Crick who have both been reliable high leverage situation pitchers this season, Hurdle went with lefty Steven Brault.
Brault started out his night by walking Michael Conforto. However, he then got a struck out and a double play to end the 7th inning.
After watching his bullpen tightrope through the bottom of the 7th inning, Hurdle finally went to Crick in the bottom of the 8th. Crick would continue the bullpen drama by issuing a walk and allowing a base hit, however, he was able to record a pair of strikeouts before getting a groundout to end the inning.
Marte singled to start the top of the 9th inning, Bell walked, and Harrison reached on an infield hit. After Moran popped out, Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to score Marte. This extended the Pirate lead to 6-4.
With the Pirates holding onto a 6-4 lead it was Felipe Vazquez time in the top of the 9th inning. In what has been a Jekyll or Hyde type season for Vazquez, the Pirates got the dominant version on Monday night. Vazquez faced three batters, blew each of them away, and struck out all three to end the game.
Monday night’s victory starts this three-city nine-game road trip off on the right foot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It would be great to see the Pirates take advantage of this series against the Mets, and then this weekend’s series against the lowly San Diego Padres to start chipping away at getting back to .500.
Next: Oddy Nunez Throws A No Hitter For Bradenton
The second game of this three-game series is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday night. Chad Kuhl will be looking to bounce back for the Pirates after being tagged for eight runs in his last outing, while the Mets will send lefty Steven Matz to the mound.