Tuesday night at PNC Park the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied following a bullpen meltdown to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6
Monday night the Pittsburgh Pirates suffered their first heartbreaking loss of the 2020 season following a meltdown by the bullpen. Tuesday night, another bullpen meltdown appeared to have the Pirates doomed once again. However, to their credit, the Pirate offense never gave up and rallied to the team to an 8-6 victory over their divisional rival Milwaukee Brewers.
Following the come from behind win, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 2-3 on the season. This win also helps to wash away the sour taste of Monday night’s bad loss. It was great to see the Pirates rally from behind to win this game. There has been a lot of talk about the atmosphere and culture that Derek Shelton is looking to create in Pittsburgh, this was on display in Tuesday night’s rally.
Derek Holland Impresses in Pirate Debut
Veteran lefty Derek Holland made his Pittsburgh Pirates debut on Tuesday night. Throughout the night, he kept the Brewer bats in check and pitched a dandy of a game.
After allowing a lead off single to Lorenzo Cain to start the game, Holland would not allow a hit again until the 6th inning. Holland allowed 2 runs, via a Keston Hiura home run, walked three and struck out five in 5.2 innings of work.
All in all it was a terrific outing for Holland. If this is anywhere near the version of Holland the Pirates will get this season, he will be a huge boost in the arm for the starting rotation. He could also pitch his way into being nice trade bait at the August 31 trade deadline.
Let’s Ride the Bullpen Roller Coaster!
Chris Stratton relieved Holland and got the final out of the 6th inning. After walking the first two batters in the 7th inning, Stratton was pulled for lefty Miguel Del Pozo. Del Pozo just joined the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday after Kyle Crick and Clay Holmes were placed on the injured list, and had just 9.1 innings of MLB work on his resume entering the game.
In a very predictable move, Del Pozo struggled. After walking three batters and allowing a double, he was removed from the game without retiring a batter. There’s a reason he had just 9.1 innings of MLB experience entering Tuesday night.
With the Brewers now leading 5-2 and having the bases loaded with no one out, Geoff Hartlieb, the other pitcher the Pirates recalled on Tuesday, took the mound. Hartlieb did a nice job of putting out the fire inducing a sacrifice fly, that saw Guillermo Heredia throw a runner out at third base for a 8-5 double play, before striking out Christian Yelich to end the inning with the Bucs trialing 6-2.
In the 8th inning things looked bleak for Hartlieb. Following an error he committed and a base hit, the Brewers had runners on the corners with no one out. However, his defense would pick him. On a fly out to left field, Bryan Reynolds nailed Ryan Braun at the plate, with the assistance of a great pick by John Ryan Murphy, before Hartlieb got a ground out to end the inning.
Nick Burdi took the mound looking to protect an 8-6 lead in the top of the 9th, and finally put together a good inning for the bullpen. Despite issuing a lead off walk, he got a strikeout and a double play ball to end the game. This gave Burdi his first MLB save and Hartlieb his first MLB win. Congrats, fellas!
A Wild 7th Inning
After the Brewers scored their 4 runs in the top of the 7th inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates would go on to have a big 7th inning of their own.
Cole Tucker and Murphy collected singles to start the inning and Adam Frazier was hit by pitch. Milwaukee pitcher Brent Suter then walked Kevin Newman to bring in a run before getting Josh Bell to pop out on the infield.
The red hot Colin Moran then hit what looked like an inning ending double play ball, but Brewer first baseman Justin Smoak sent the ball sailing into left field. This cut the Brewer lead to 6-5, and put runners on the corners with just one out.
After Reynolds struck out, Phillip Evans (all aboard the hype train!) remained red hot and ripped a hit to center field. This hit scored Newman, and tied the game at 6.
Bryan Reynolds Starting to Pull out of His Funk
Despite striking out with men on base in the 7th inning, it was still a good night for the Pirate left fielder. Reynolds singled in his first at bat and doubled in his second, giving him his first two hits of the season. This came after walking twice on Monday night. It appears that Reynolds is starting to pull out of his early season funk.
Obviously, if the Pirates will have any shot at competing in 2020, they need the Reynolds they got in 2019 when he had a historically good rookie season. The last two games he has looked more like the Reynolds we saw in 2019, a great sign indeed for the Bucs.
A Big Night From Cole Tucker
Starting in right field, it was a big night for the former 1st round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After striking out in his first two at bats of the night, Tucker’s bat would start to wake up.
He singled to start the team’s 4-run rally in the 7th inning. Then in the 8th inning, he sliced a ball into the left-center field gap to start the inning. The only reason it went as a double and not a triple was a remarkable play by Cain to cut the ball off. Tucker would then score on Adam Frazier’s 2-run home run, which proved to be the game-winning hit.
It was great to see Tucker hit a few balls hard and get rewarded for it. All off-season we have beat the drum for Tucker here at Rum Bunter. He is a plus defender wherever you put him on the field, and had above league average hard contact rates in 2019. Tucker has the tools to be a good MLB player, he just needs to put it all together.
The third and final game of this series is scheduled for 7:05 on Wednesday night. Joe Musgrove (4.76 ERA, 6.74 FIP) will make his second start of the season for the Pirates, and he will be opposed by Brewer ace Brandon Woodruff (3.60 ERA, 4.83 FIP). The Pirates will be looking for their first series win of the season.