Pittsburgh Pirates Drop a Close Game to the Marlins
The Pirates were defeated by the Marlins Saturday night, losing a close game to the score of 3-4. A strong outing from Dario Agrazal was squandered by Hurdle’s fast trigger finger and a quieted offense.
Coming off a strong win against the Marlins on Friday, the Pirates looked to stay hot against the Marlins, who are perhaps the weakest team in the League. The pregame match-up for the Pirates looked strong for two reasons. First, the Pirates lineup looked intimidating and far better than the Marlins lineup. With the addition of rehabbed Corey Dickerson, Kevin Newman performing strongly in the lead off spot, and a hot Colin Moran – the Pirates looked strong 1-9 on the lineup card.
Second, the team correctly called up starting pitcher Dario Agrazal from AAA Indy to replace Jordan Lyles who was recently placed on the DL. An international signing from Panama, Agrazal has had a strong season for Indy, pitching to a 3.10 ERA. On paper, he looked to match up well against the Marlin’s Pablo Lopez who had a 4.26 ERA over 13 games.
The first inning showed potential for the Pirates as rookie-extraordinaire Bryan Reynolds extended his new hitting streak with a single. However the inning ended quickly with a failed hit and run that turned into a strike out and a caught stealing. Agrazal gave up one hit in the first, but erased the batter with a double play. The rookie only needed nine pitches to retire the first three batters. Agrazal would keep his efficiency throughout the rest of his start, throwing a large amount of his pitches for strikes.
While Agrazal went about his business, the Pirates would go to work with the bats. In the third, the Bucs struck first with a lead off double from Elias Diaz and an RBI 2-out infield hit from Kevin Newman. The Pirates would continue to add runs in the fourth as Starling Marte stayed hot with a lead off double. Josh Bell would walk to the plate with a runner in scoring position, which is never a good sign for the opposing team. A few minutes later, Bell collected his 64th RBI and the Pirates lead was was extended to two. Two batters later, Dickerson would double in another run.
In the Marlin’s half of the fourth, Agrazal would get into his first jam, giving up a lead off single and then hitting a batter. A pop-up led to the innings first out, but then trouble would strike. An RBI single was followed up with what appeared to be an inning ending double play ball hit at Adam Frazier. Frazier’s solid 2019 defense faltered as he threw the ball past Newman and into center field. Jorge Alfaro would then single and the Pirates lead would evaporate with the score tied at three. The Pirates were not out of the inning yet as Colin Moran would collect an error on another botched double play. After this Agrazal would decide that he was better off keeping the ball out of the Pirates defenders’ hands and would strike out the remaining two batters.
Hurdle would make a poor decision by pulling an extremely effective Agrazal from the game when the 5th inning started. Agrazal would end the game with only 59 pitches over 4 innings, giving up 3 runs with only two of them being earned (however really only one of these runs should be included as earned). Hurdle replaced Agrazal with the ineffective Geoff Hartlieb. Hartlieb would immediately give up two hits and a run. Hartlieb should have earned a second run, but was bailed out by an absolute bullet of a throw from Starling Marte that would nag a Marlin runner trying to cross home plate.
The Pirates would threaten in the 6th with a Josh Bell lead off double, but a Colin Moran infield line drive would lead to a double play and a quick inning. The 7th would be a similarly quick inning for Lopez who would finish seven full while giving up 3 earned runs. It is disappointing that the Pirates could not chase Lopez earlier in the game. The Bucs had Lopez throw 60 pitches and on the ropes multiple in the first four innings.
Francisco Liriano pitched shut out innings in the 7th and 8th for the Pirates. The Marlins countered with Nick Anderson in the 8th and closer Sergio Romo in the 9th. Both threw shut out innings and locked down the game for the Marlins.
This was a disappointing loss for the Pirates as poor defense, a quieted offense and poor management led to yet another loss that should have been a win. Hopefully the Pirates can at least take the series off of the Marlins on Sunday. Sunday’s start time is at 1:10 EST.