Pittsburgh Pirates: Pitching Shuts Down Brewers in Win
By Noah Wright
After a heartbreaking loss last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their pitching helped them carry their way to victory on Sunday afternoon.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had lost in a heartbreaking manner against the Milwaukee Brewers after coming back against closer Josh Hader to blow the save in the bottom of the 9th inning. However, this time around, pitching held up, and carried the team to victory.
Following a 5-1 victory over the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 10-21 on the season. While their overall record is poor, they’re now 5-4 against the Brewers.
Let’s breakdown the game.
The Pirates opened up the scoring yet again. Gregory Polanco hit a solo home run in the second inning, his fifth of the season to put the Pirates out ahead. Polanco has been absolutley obliterating the baseball when he’s been making contact. Entering the day, he had a 95.9 MPH exit velocity, and when he did make contact, it was hard contact 52.6% of the time.
Kevin Newman led off the 4th inning with a leadoff single off of Brandon Woodruff, setting up for first baseman Josh Bell. He hit a 2-run home run of his own putting the team up 3-1. Bell, like Polanco has been making quality contact with a 91.3 MPH exit velo and a hard hit rate of 42.7%.
This was Bell’s second straight game with a long ball, and makes him 6-20 in his last seven games. This is hopefully the start of a turnaround for the slugger.
The Pittsburgh Pirates almost cost themselves a run with poor base running in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Erik Gonzalez and Adam Frazier both drew walks. Newman then singled, which brought home Gonzalez. However, Frazier tried to advance to third base, and was tagged out. After reivew, there was not enough evidence to prove that Frazier was tagged out before Gonzalez crossed home plate.
Pittsburgh tacked on an insurance run in the 7th inning. Though JT Riddle led off the inning with a strikeout, JR Murphy hit a single, and was essentially replaced on first by outfielder Jason Martin on a force play. Gonzalez hit an infield single, advancing Murphy to second. With two outs, Frazier drove in Martin on a close play at home, but Martin was able to slide under the tag of Jacob Nottingham, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-1 lead.
Steven Brault started on the mound today. So far this year, he’s been real hit or miss. In four of his six appearances, he’s not allowed an earned run. But in the other two, he’s given up more earned runs than innings pitched.
Today, Brault was on. Though he only pitched 3 innings, the southpaw struck out five Brewers, including Keston Hiura and Jedd Gyorko. While he did allow one run, it was an unearned run because of an error by Josh Bell that let Christian Yelich reach base who scored on a Hiura single.
Right-hander Kyle Crick who was just activated off the injured list, made his first appearance since the first series of the year against the Cardinals. Crick only allowed one base runner and struck out one batter. However, Crick was able to get his fastball to 91+ MPH just once, that being the very first pitch he threw.
Due to his drop in velocity, there is still concern about Crick. He may still not be 100%, or there may be a bigger problem at play. Either way, Crick does not look right.
Wavier claim Nick Tropeano, who went 4 innings and struck out four against the White Sox in Lucas Giolitio’s no-hitter, continued to show to be an impressive wavier claim. Tropeano went 2.2 innings, striking out two and allowing two walks and hits.
But Tropean started to get into a bit of hot water in the 7th inning.
With two outs, Tropeano walked Gyorko, and hit Ryan Braun with a pitch. He was then pulled for Geoff Hartlieb. Although Hartlieb loaded the bases with a HBP to Hiura, he was able to get Justin Smoak down on strike three, ending their threat. Hartlieb then pitched a scoreless 8th inning, striking out two more batters.
After blowing the save yesterday, Richard Rodriguez came in and shut it down today. Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one run to reach via a free pass. However, things almost went awry. The walk led to what should have been a double play groundball, but Newman was unable to get a good throw off to Bell to finish off the game. Luckily, Rich Rod got Hiura to flyout to the warning track to Martin to end the game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will face off against the Brew Crew on Monday at 7:10 PM. Trevor Williams, who struggled last time he was out, will start the game for the Bucs. However, the Brewers have yet to announce who they will send to the mound to start tomorrow’s game.