Pittsburgh Pirates Win Pitchers Duel Against Padres To Start Weekend Series
The Pittsburgh Pirates have now won two games in a row!
On Friday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates welcomed the San Diego Padres to town for the first of a three-game weekend series. Entering the series the Pirates and Padres had two of the hottest lineups in the National League. So, as everyone predicted, the first game of the series was a low scoring pitching affair.
Both teams pitched well on Friday, but the Pirates were just a tad bit better. This led to a 2-1 victory for the Bucs over the Friars. With the win, the Pirates are now 34-40 on the season.
Joe Musgrove started for the Pirates and was looking for a bounce back outing after allowing 6 runs in 4+ innings against the Braves in his last start. The Padres countered with lefty Eric Lauer. Both starting pitchers were on their game on Friday.
Early on, it looked like the Pirates might find success against Lauer.
Bryan Reynolds singled with one out in the 1st inning and scored on a double by Starling Marte to give the Pirates a quick 1-0 lead. On the play, Marte tried to tag third base but was retired on an excellent play by sensational rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis caught the relay throw, sprinted toward the bag, dove, and applied the tag to Marte as he was sliding on his belly. It was a worthwhile gamble by Marte to take as it took an exceptional play from Tatis Jr. to retire him.
Musgrove was locked in from the start on Friday. He struck out the first four batters he faced, and started the game with 3 scoreless innings.
In the 4th inning, he allowed a solo home run to Manny Machado. Following the home run, Musgrove would quickly settle back in. He retired 9 of the next 10 batters he faced, and found himself at 93 pitches after 6 innings of 1 run ball.
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This season, neither the 7th inning nor facing a lineup a third time has been kind to Musgrove. Clint Hurdle made the gamble of rolling with Musgrove in the 7th inning, and the righty would reward his manager’s confidence.
Leading off the 7th inning Franmil Reyes singled off of Musgrove. Big Joe would the put a foot down. He retired the next three batters, including a pair of strikeouts, to end the 7th inning.
In 7 spectacular innings Musgrove allowed just the lone run on five hits and no walks. He also struck out eight Padre batters. Friday night’s outing was a great bounce back start from Musgrove after struggling last time out against the Braves. Hopefully, this start was Musgrove getting back on track after an up and down past month of starts.
Entering the 7th inning, Lauer was also cruising along. However, his defense would let him down and help the Pirates take back the lead.
With one out in the inning Jung Ho Kang hit a ground ball to third base. First, Machado bobbled the ball. Then, his throw got past first base allowing Kang to not only be safe, but also advance to second base.
After Machado’s two error play, Sunday’s starting pitcher, Steven Brualt, was summoned to pinch run for Kang. This moved paid off as Jose Osuna rolled a base hit into center field that scored Brault and made the score 2-1 Pirates.
With the Pirates now in the lead, righty Kyle Crick took over on the mound in the top of the 8th inning. While Crick has earned Hurdle’s trust, he has struggled of late and has had control issues all season. With the Pirates leading by just a single run and the top of the Padre lineup due up going to any reliever than Felipe Vazquez was the wrong move.
Crick got burnt on a perfectly place bunt single to start the inning. After retiring the next two batters, he walked back-to-back hitters to load the bases with two outs. At this point, Crick should have been pulled for Vazquez. Hurdle would stick with Crick, and it worked out as he got Reyes to foul out to first baseman Josh Bell to end the inning.
In the 9th inning, it was Felipe Vazquez time. The Nigthmare did his thing retiring three of the four Padre batters he faced on his way to slamming the door shut on a 2-1 Pirate victory.
After losing 7 games in a row on their recent road trip, the Pirates have started to right the ship. They are now 4-2 in their last 6 games played. Hopefully, this is the start of the team getting back on track and working their way back toward .500.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 4:05 on Saturday afternoon. Chris Archer (5.85 ERA, 6.03 FIP) will start for the Pirates. The Padres will counter with NL Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Paddack (3.15 ERA, 3.73 FIP).