Pittsburgh Pirates Keep Streaking With Eighth Consecutive Win

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Streaking! We’re going streak! Come on everyone, the Pittsburgh Pirates are streaking!

6. 4. Final. 2. 61

As was the case on Friday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds had to battle the elements on Saturday night. For a second consecutive night the two teams sat through a rain delay. The Pirates were also victorious for a second consecutive night this time by a score of 6-2.

With Saturday’s victory the Pirates remain the hottest team in baseball. They have now run their Major League best winning streak to eight in a row while being 10-1 in their last 11 games. The Pirates are now back over .500 on the season at 50-49 and are continuing to fight their way back into the National League Wild Card race.

Nick Kingham had to battle in the bottom of the 1st inning, but he was able to hunker down and post a zero. After issuing consecutive walks to start the inning, Kingham got Joey Votto to hit into a double play. Eugenio Suarez then flew out to center field on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Kingham deserves a lot of credit for pitching a scoreless opening frame. The conditions were a mess due to the rain, footing was an issue, and he was struggling with control. Despite all of this working against Kingham he kept the Reds off the scoreboard.

Facing the struggling Anthony DeSclafani the Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning. This lead came via a solo home run from Corey Dickerson. Dickerson has now homered in three consecutive games and has nine on the season.

CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 21: Corey Dickerson #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds third base after a home run against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 21, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 21: Corey Dickerson #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds third base after a home run against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 21, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Gregory Polanco doubled to start the top of the 4th inning to start another Pirate rally. After a one-out walk from Colin Moran, Josh Bell ripped a double down the right field line. Bell’s double scored Polanco, put runners on second and third with one out, and made the score 2-0 Pirates.

Unfortunately, the Pirates could not capitalize further.

After Sean Rodriguez grounded out to third base preventing the runners from moving, Jordy Mercer was intentionally walked to load the bases for Kingham. DeSclafani then struck out Kingham to end the inning.

At the conclusion of the top of the 4th inning, the tarp was pulled onto the field and the Pirates and Reds found themselves in another rain delay.

Following a 47 minute delay, the game was back underway with Kingham remaining in the game for the Pirates. Kingham would pick up where he left off pitching a scoreless bottom of the 4th inning.

Leading off the top of the 5th inning Dickerson remained scorching hot at the plate by blasting his second home run of the game. Dickerson’s 10th home run of the season made the score 3-0 Pirates.

Facing new pitcher Michael Lorenzen Bell singled to start the top of the 6th inning and Mercer doubled with one out. The Reds appeared to have a chance to wiggle off the hook with Kingham stepping to the plate. However, Kingham was able to sneak a weakly hit ball through a drawn in infield that allowed Bell and Mercer to score.

Kingham’s two-run single made the score 5-0 Pirates.

Kingham continued to cruise along until the bottom of the 7th inning when the joke that is Great American Ballpark came into play. With one out and a runner on base, Curt Casali hit a two-run home run to left field to cut the Pirate lead to 5-2.

The home run that Casali hit would have been a routine fly ball out at any real Major League ballpark. Hell, at my 8-year-old’s little league field Casali’s home run may have been a few feet short of the left field wall (shoutout to Centennial Field in Altoona). The Reds, however, do not have a real MLB park but a joke of a bandbox instead.

Casali’s home run would also bring Kingham’s night to an end. In yet another strong start Kingham allowed two runs on just four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Despite throwing 14 pitches before recording an out, Kingham needed less than 80 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings.

Kingham’s fastball had great movement on Saturday night, his curveball was nasty, and he induced a lot of weak contact. With each start he makes Kingham continues to develop into a solid MLB starting pitcher.

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Edgar Santana was called upon to replace Kingham and he continued to do what he does – get people out. After allowing a base hit to Phillip Ervin, Santana got a strikeout and a lineout to end the 7th inning with the Pirates ahead 5-2.

In the top of the 8th inning the Pirates were able to get one of those two runs the Reds scored back.

Bell reached on an infield hit to start the inning and Rodriguez reached on a bunt single. Mercer then laid down a bunt of his own to put runners on second and third with just one out. After pinch hitter David Freese grounded out and Bell was thrown out at home, Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch by ex-Pirate and now Reds’ reliever Jared Hughes. The wild pitch made the score 6-2 Pirates heading to the bottom of the 8th.

Kyle Crick pitched the bottom of the 8th inning for the Pirates and continued his dominant season. After firing a 1-2-3 inning that included a pair of strikeouts, Crick now owns a 1.93 ERA, 2.70 FIP, and he has struck out 24.7% of batters faced this season.

In his first appearance after the All-Star Break Felipe Vazquez made things a little interesting the bottom of the 9th inning. Vazquez allowed a bloop single and hit a batter, but also recorded a pair of strikeouts before getting Billy Hamilton to fly out to end the game.

It has come out of seemingly nowhere, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are the hottest team in baseball right now. The team is pitching well, scoring plenty of runs, and playing strong defense. If this play continues, the Bucs may make the final two months of the season a fun time.

Next: Hot Bats At AAA & AA

At 1:10 p.m. on Sunday afternoon the Pirates and Reds will play the final game of their three-game weekend series. Ivan Nova will take the ball for the Pirates, while the Reds will send Matt Harvey to the mound. Nova and the Bucs will be looking for the series sweep and their ninth consecutive victory.