Pittsburgh Pirates Capture Series Opener In San Diego

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 29: Jordy Mercer #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Starling Marte #6 after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 29, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 29: Jordy Mercer #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Starling Marte #6 after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 29, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a 3-1 start on their current nine-game road trip

127. 6. 4. Final. 3

On Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates continued their nine-game three-city road trip by beginning a three-game series at Petco Park in San Diego against the Padres. Following a 6-3 victory, the Pirates are now 3-1 on the road trip and 39-42 overall this season.

Friday night was a strong game from the Pirates. The team got great pitching, plenty of offense, and played strong defense. Everything went well for the Bucs on Friday night.

It did not take the Pirates long to take a lead on Friday night.

With one out in the top of the 1st inning Josh Harrison singled with Josh Bell on first base. A poor throw by San Diego center fielder Manuel Margot allowed each runner to move up a base. Bell would then score on a passed ball giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

This was a lead the Pirates would never relinquish.

Starling Marte singled to start the top of the 3rd inning, stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error by San Diego catcher Austin Hedges. This would prove to be the start of the Pirates busting the game open.

Bell would then hit a double to plate Marte and he advanced to third base on Harrison’s second hit of the night. Two batters later Elias Diaz hit a ground ball that Freddy Galvis bobbled. Galvis’ bobble allowed Harrison and Diaz to be safe, while Bell raced home to make it 3-0 Pirates.

With two outs in the inning Gregory Polanco ripped a double into the right field corner. Polanco’s single grew the Pirate lead to 5-0, however, Polanco was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple to end the inning.

Jordy Mercer would launch a solo home run to straight center field in the top of the 4th inning. Mercer’s 5th home run of the season made the score 6-0 Pirates.

Joe Musgrove started for the Pirates and returning to his native San Diego Musgrove was excellent. Musgrove had control of all of his pitches throughout the night, was efficient, and tossed a gem.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 29: Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 29, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 29: Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 29, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Through his first 6 innings of work Musgrove shut the Padres out. He allowed just five hits, two walks, he struck out five, and worked around a Freese error to get through 6 shutout innings in less than 80 pitches.

He also made a great play in the bottom of the 6th inning when Freese failed to catch a line drive hit right at him, but Musgrove raced over to cover third base putting himself in position to catch a throw from Freese to still record an out.

In the bottom of the 7th inning the Padres recorded back-to-back singles off of Musgrove to start the inning. At this point the Padres appeared primed to score a run, but Big Joe had other ideas.

After getting Travis Jankowski to pop out on the infield, Musgrove induced an inning ending 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Margot.

Margot’s double play brought both the 7th inning and Musgrove’s night to an end. In 7 shutout innings pitched Musgrove allowed seven hits, he walked two, and struck out five. He also had a base hit and a sacrifice bunt at the plate.

Musgrove was replaced by his fellow San Diegan – and former high school teammate – Steven Brault in the top of the 8th inning. However, a pair of singles, a wild pitch, and a groundout cut the Pirate lead to 6-1 and led to Brault’s night being short lived.

Brualt was replaced by Kyle Crick whose night began by allowing a run-scoring single to Christian Villanueva to cut the Pirate lead to 6-2. Crick then got a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning.

Edgar Santana followed Crick in the top of the 9th inning. Santana allowed a double, induced a gorundout, and surrendered a run-scoring single to Margot before being lifted for Felipe Vazquez. Felipe would strikeout both guys he faced to close out the 6-3 Pirate victory.

Friday night was one of those games where the Pirates did everything well. They got a great start from Musgrove, the offense scored plenty of runs, and minus Freese’s poor game at third base the defense was stellar.

Next: An Intriguing Bullpen Arm To Watch At AA

Game two of the series is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. on Saturday night. Trevor Williams will get the ball for the Pirates while the Padres counter with lefty Joey Lucchesi.

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