Pittsburgh Pirates Rally To Win Series Opener In Milwaukee
The Pittsburgh Pirates remained hot with a come from behind victory on Friday night
Entering play on Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates had won 7 of their last 10 games. Their opponent, the Milwaukee Brewers, had lost 9 of 13. These trends would continue in the first game of their three-game weekend series.
Despite not doing much offensively, the Pirates rallied late to defeat the Brewers 3-2 on Friday night. With the win, the Pirates are now 8-3 in their last 11 games and 3-1 on their current road trip. This victory improved the team to 39-41 overall on the season, and was their first win of 2019 at Miller Park.
Chris Archer started for the Pirates on Friday night and was looking to build upon a strong outing against the San Diego Padres last Saturday.
In the bottom of the 1st inning Archer got into trouble. A walk and a double had Brewer runners on second and third with two outs. Archer then uncorked a wild pitch before allowing a run-scoring double to Eric Thames. Quickly, the Brewers led 2-0.
After the rough start, Archer settled in. He allowed just one more hit and issued just one more walk the rest of the night. He also picked up five more punch outs. The issue was Archer’s night got cut short.
After grimacing following a swing in his 5th inning at bat, Archer’s night was over. In 4 innings of work he allowed the 2 runs on just three hits and two walks. He also struck out six batters. It was another strong outing for Archer. Unfortunately, it was cut short due to left hip discomfort.
Yet another reason to #FreeTheDH.
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After Archer’s night ended, the Pirate bullpen went to work. Richard Rodriguez picked up a strikeout while pitching a scoreless 5th inning. Francisco Liriano followed with a scoreless 6th and Kyle Crick a scoreless 7th. However, the Pirate offense would find itself struggling for much of the night.
Kevin Newman led off the 3rd inning with his 5th home run of the season. His blast cut the Milwaukee lead to 2-1, and extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Unfortunately, this would be it for the Pirate offense on Friday night.
The lack of offense by the Pirates on Friday was a disappointment. Not only had the Pirate offense been red hot of late, but they were also facing a struggling starter. Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin entered the night with a 5.88 ERA and a 5.87 FIP in 14 starts. In 5 innings of work, he allowed just the Newman home run, six hits, he walked two, and he struck out four.
Thankfully, the offense would find a way to do just enough. Doing just enough started with facing Junior Guerra in the 8th inning.
Bryan Reynolds, who entered the at bat 3-for-3 with a double, walked to start the inning and Starling Marte singled. After Josh Bell hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners with one out, Colin Moran grounded out to second base.
On the ground out, Milwaukee second baseman Keston Hiura went to second base to retire Bell. However, a good slide by Bell prevented a double play. This allowed Reynolds to score, tying the game at 2-2.
Felipe Vazquez, who had not pitched since Sunday, took the mound for the Pirates in the bottom of the 8th inning. He would strikeout the side in order to send the game to the 9th inning still tied at 2.
Facing Jeremy Jeffress, Elias Diaz drew a one out walk in his first at bat of the night. Also in his first at bat of the night, the red hot Jose Osuna singled to put Diaz on third. Newman then hit a broken bat dribbler back to Jeffress. Jeffress could have nailed Diaz at the plate and stopped the go ahead run from scoring. Instead, he made the poor decision to try and start a 1-6-3 double play. A poor throw by Jeffress retired Osuna, but allowed Newman to reach and the Pirates to take a 3-2 lead.
Even if Jeffress throw to shortstop Tyler Saladino had been perfect, it would not have resulted in a double play. The ball was hit too softly and this combined with Newman’s speed would have allowed him to reach first base safely. The decision by Jeffress to not cut down Diaz at the plate was a terrible one. But, hey, we aren’t complaining!
In the bottom of the 9th inning, Vazquez returned to the mound for the Pirates. As he did in the 8th, Vazquez retired the Brewers in order. This time, it closed out a 3-2 Pirate victory.
Friday night’s win was a great win for the Pirates. They came from behind at a ballpark that has given them fits over the years, and picked up a big 3-2 win over Milwaukee. With the win, the Pirates are now 4 games behind the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central and 3 games in back of the second NL Wild Card spot.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 8:15 on Saturday night and will be broadcast nationally on FOX. Jordan Lyles (3.64 ERA, 3.67 FIP) is scheduled to return from the injured list for the Pirates. Craig Counsell and the Brewers will counter with Brandon Woodruff (4.01, 3.07 FIP). This will be Woodruff’s third start against the Pirates this season. In the first two, the Bucs tagged him for 9 runs on 10 hits, three walks, and a home run in 10 innings of work.