Pittsburgh Pirates Defeat St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of Thursday’s Double Header
Led by an outstanding start from Chad Kuhl and a late offensive surge, the Pittsburgh Pirates won game one of Thursday’s double header against the Cardinals
2020 has been an unprecedented year to say the least and the league and MLBPA decided it was in the best interest of the players and coaches to play 7 innings in doubleheaders as opposed to the standard 9. MLB’s goal is to assure all of the games will be played in this shortened season while also prioritizing players health as well.
Prior to this afternoon’s doubleheader the Pittsburgh Pirates made a roster move, placing RHP Keone Kela on the 10-day injured list (retro to 8/24) and 1B/3B/DH Colin Moran on the 7-day concussion IL.
Despite what you may think, Ke’Bryan Hayes remains at the alternate site in Altoona.
Instead, the Pittsburgh Pirates recalled RHP Nick Mears and infielder Will Craig who started at first base and batted ninth in his 2020 debut.
With Moran set to miss some time, calling up Craig to make his Major League debut is justifiable as he is an up-and-coming prospect and this will allow the staff and front office to assess his abilities. During his pregame interview manager Derek Shelton said that he felt it was a good time to give Craig the opportunity as the team will be facing a few LHPs in the next few days.
Despite that, keeping José Osuna on the active roster while Hayes remains in Altoona simply does not make much sense. Through his brief time over four seasons in the MLB, Osuna is a career .240 hitter with a total of 21 home runs. At this point, we know what to expect from Osuna and an 8-19 record through 27 games is simply asking for Hayes to get his shot.
The Pittsburgh Pirates got the scoring going in the 4th inning when Cole Tucker led off the inning and reached base after third baseman Brad Miller’s throwing error. Tucker advanced to second and Josh Bell followed with a walk. After a Bryan Reynolds‘ strikeout, the Pirates most consistent hitter Jacob Stallings singled to left and brought home Tucker to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 5th, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina led off the inning with a solo home run to left to tie the game at 1. Dexter Fowler singled to right and tried stealing second to continue St. Louis’ threat but was thrown out by Stallings who continues to impress this year behind the dish as well.
Chad Kuhl continued his early-season success, throwing 6 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 4 hits and striking out 1. Kuhl entered the game with a record of 1-1 and an ERA of 2.52 after picking up his first win since June 15th, 2018 last week vs. Milwaukee.
The game was sent to extra-innings tied at 1 and Jarrod Dyson pinch-ran for Craig who made the final out of the 7th inning by flying out to the warning track in left. Erik Gonzalez led off the inning with a strike out but was followed by a Tucker RBI single to center to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead in the top of the 8th.
Following Kevin Newman‘s ground out and Bell’s walk, Reynolds singled to center to bring home Tucker. With the 2-run lead, Stallings reached via another error by Cardinal’s third baseman Miller that scored Bell and gave the Bucs a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th.
Richard Rodríguez was handed the ball in the extra-inning save situation with Kela on the shelf and allowed Dylan Carlson to single to center, sending Dexter Fowler who began the inning at second base to third.
With first and third base occupied Kolten Wong hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Fowler. Shortstop Tommy Edman came to the plate and followed with a single to center, sending Carlson to second and bringing first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to the dish. The six-time All-Star lined a pitch right back at Rodríguez that hit the reliever in the leg and rolled into right field, scoring Carlson and sending Edman to third with only one out.
Third baseman Brad Miller struck out to bring pinch-hitter Max Schrock to the plate and Rodríguez sat him down on strikes as well to end the game and record the save.
The Pittsburgh Pirates made sure to make it interesting, but the team picked up the win in Game 1 of today’s doubleheader in St. Louis. Kuhl continued his early success and Chris Stratton picked up the win to bring his record to 2-0. The Pirates will look to keep the momentum rolling tonight in game two of today’s doubleheader. The team will be playing 15 games in the coming 13 days, including another doubleheader against the Reds on September 4th at PNC Park.