The Pittsburgh Pirates have won the first two games of their four game series in Denver
Since the All-Star Break, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been the worst team in baseball. In fact, they have been historically bad since the break. Despite these struggles, the team has been playing better baseball the last week.
Following an 8-4 victory over the Rockies on Friday night, the Pirates are now 6-2 in their last eight games played. Even with the 6-2 stretch, the team is 14-32 since the break and 58-77 overall this season.
After 7 run outburst in the 1st inning of Thursday night’s victory, the Pirates would strike first once again on Friday. This time, however, they would score just a single run.
Unfortunately, this lead would be short lived. Dario Agrazal made the start for the Pirates and. from the get go, his recent struggles would continue. On the third pitch he threw Trevor Story hit a home run off of Agrazal. Story’s lead off blast tied the game at 1.
The game would not remain tied for long.
After collecting four hits on Thursday night Adam Frazier doubled. After Frazier scored on a sacrifice fly by Agrazal, the Pirates had retaken the lead 2-1. The Pirates had a chance to add to their lead further when Kevin Newman singled, Bryan Reynolds, and the Pirates had runners on second and third with two outs. Marte then hit a hard hit ground ball that looked ticketed for the outfield but he was robbed of a hit by Colorado second baseman Ryan McMahon.
After Agrazal pitched a zero in the bottom of the 2nd inning, the game went into a lightning delay. Following a short delay, the teams returned to the field with the Pirates still leading 2-1. Each team posted a zero in the 3rd inning, before the Pirates increased their lead to 3-1 in the 4th inning when Reynolds doubled home Newman with two outs. However, Reynolds was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple to end the inning.
Marte singled to start the 5th inning and Bell walked. Melky Cabrera then launched a 3-run home run into the second deck in right field. As the Pirate offense continued to hum along, they had extended their lead to 6-1.
The Rockies scored a run off Agrazal in the 5th, and then got a double and a run-scoring single to start the 6th. This cut the Pirate lead to 6-3 and brought Agrazal’s night to an end.
Richard Rodriguez was summoned from the bullpen to replace Agrazal and finished off the inning. Rodriguez came in, retired the next three Rockie batters, recorded a pair of strikeouts, and closed the book on Agrazal.
Agrazal pitched 5+ innings on Friday night and allowed 3 runs on nine hits, a home run allowed, zero walks, and two strikeouts. While Agrazal pitched better than he has in recent starts, he continued to struggle with generating swings and misses.
Pittsburgh would quickly get those runs back.
Marte doubled to start the 7th inning and scored on a hit by Bell. A hit by Moran and an infield hit by Cabrera loaded the bases for the Pirates. After Frazier hit into a double play, Elias Diaz singled in a run to make the score 8-3 Pirates.
After Bell drove in another run in the top of the 9th, Geoff Hartlieb took the ball in the bottom half of the inning. Hartlieb struck out all three batters he faced to finish off a 9-4 Pirate victory.
The third game of this series is scheduled for 8:10 on Saturday night. Joe Musgrove (4.67 ERA, 4.05 FIP) will take the ball for the Pirates in his 28th start of the season. The Rockies will send Tim Melville (0.75 ERA, 3.88 FIP) to the mound for his third career start.