Pittsburgh Pirates Sweep The Cincinnati Reds
For the first time since early August the Pittsburgh Pirates have won three games in a row
The 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates will not be playing in the postseason, but that does not mean the team can not finish the season strong. It would be great to see the team finish September strong to build momentum heading into 2019, and, thus far, that is happening in the season’s final month.
Following a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night, the Pirates are now 3-2 in September and 69-71 overall. After finishing off the three-game sweep of the Reds, the Bucs are now 12-4 against their division rivals this season.
While the Pirates were victors on Wednesday night, it was the Reds that drew first blood.
With one out in the top of the first inning Jose Peraza hit a solo home run to left field off of Pirate starter Jameson Taillon. Peraza’s 10th home run of the season gave the Reds a quick 1-0 lead over the Bucs.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning the Pirate offense would tie the game. Corey Dickerson singled with one out, and scored on a two-out double by Colin Moran. Moran’s double tied the game.
Then in the bottom of the 3rd, the Pirates would take the lead.
With one out in the inning Starling Marte, Adam Frazier, and Gregory Polanco hit three consecutive singles. After Polanco’s hit gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead, Francisco Cervelli collected the Bucs’ fourth consecutive hit to make it 3-1.
However, Dickerson then hit into a double play to end the inning.
Taillon dealt with baserunners throughout the night but he did what ace starting pitchers do and pitched out of trouble. In his 5 innings of work, the lone run Taillon allowed was Peraza’s solo blast. He did not walk a batter, he allowed eight hits, he hit a batter, and he struck out six. This was Taillon’s 18th consecutive start in which he has allowed three earned runs or less.
Lefty Steven Brault followed Taillon and pitched a pair of scoreless innings. Brault retired six of the seven batters he faced and recorded two strikeouts. Since returning to the Major Leagues on August 1st, Brault has allowed just one run in 13 2/3 innings pitched to go with 14 strikeouts and just four walks.
After Edgar Santana threw a scoreless top of the 8th inning, with help from an outfield assist by Marte and a great tag by Kevin Newman, it was Felipe Vazquez time in the 9th inning. After allowing a single and a double to start the inning, Vazquez found himself protecting a one-run lead with the tying runner in scoring position and no one out.
With his back against the wall, Vazquez recorded back-to-back strikeouts to get the first two outs of the inning. But after Peraza drew a walk, future Hall of Famer Joey Votto stepped to the plate with the tying and go ahead runs on base. Vazquez would issue another walk, before getting Scooter Gennett to groundout on the first pitch of his at bat to end the game.
By defeating the Reds on Wednesday night the Bucs have now won three games in a row for the first time since early August. It is also the team’s first sweep since they swept the Reds on 20th – 22nd. As was said above, hopefully, this is the start of the team finishing 2018 strong in an effort to build momentum for 2019.
Following a day off on Thursday, the Pirates will welcome the lowly Miami Marlins to PNC Park this weekend. Game one of the three-game series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Friday night. Chris Archer (4.56 ERA, 3.72 FIP) will take the hill for the Bucs while Don Mattingly and the Fish will send Dan Straily (4.13 ERA, 5.14 FIP) to the mound.