Pittsburgh Pirates: Joe Musgrove Dominates, But Bullpen Falters In Loss

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Derek Holland #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts as Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the seventh inning during the game at PNC Park on September 20, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Derek Holland #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts as Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the seventh inning during the game at PNC Park on September 20, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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4. Final. 2. 33. 1

A dominant performance from starting pitcher Joe Musgrove was not enough for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon

This weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates played a five-game series at PNC Park against the St. Louis Cardinals. The series got off to a raoring start as Steven Brault pitched his first ocmpelte game in a Pirate victory on Thursday night. After this game, however, things went south in a hurry.

Friday the Pittsburgh Pirates were swept by the Red Birds in a doubleheader. Then on Saturday night, the team lost despite 6 no-hit innings from starting pitcher on Mitch Keller. Sunday afternoon, the Bucs wasted anohter dominant starting pitching performance, this one by Joe Msugrove, in a 2-1 loss. With the loss, the Pirates are now a lowly 15-38 on the season.

A Pitcher’s Duel in the Burgh

Joe Musgrove came into Sunday afternoon’s game with a record of 0-5 and an ERA of 5.74 after giving up 4 runs over 5 innings in his last outing against the Reds. The Pirates Opening Day starter found his groove this afternoon, striking out 11 Cardinals and walking only one through his 6 innings of work.

Musgrove allowed only three hits and really built off of his last outing against Cincinnati. The righty got off to a shaky start against the Reds but settled in after the second inning and went on to record eight strikeouts over his 5 innings. Things were different today, however, as Musgrove was dominant right out of the gate.

The only problem? Cardinal starter Jack Flaherty was too.

Flaherty went 6 innings as well, surrendering 1  run on two hits while also striking out 11. The Cardinal starter was very strong this afternoon, only allowing the one run via the Colin Moran sacrifice fly in the 4th inning after Bryan Reynolds‘ double.

Despite still not collecting his first win of the season, Musgrove’s ERA dropped from 5.74 to 4.68 and he will still have one more shot at picking up his first win before the end of the 2020 season. Musgrove’s slider was wicked on Sunday.

Yadier Molina Plays Spoiler

After Musgrove’s 6 shutout innings, Derek Holland was called upon in the 7th. Cardinal third baseman Matt Carpenter led off the inning with a single to left and then nine-time NL All-Star catcher Yadier Molina homered to left field to give St. Louis the 2-1 lead. Molina was seen wearing an EvoShield wrist guard on his left hand after being hit and forced out of last night’s game but the veteran showed no signs of ailment in this one.

Holland settled down after the home run and the bullpen was solid throughout the rest of the game but the offense could not muster anything up the rest of the way. In fact, a José Osuna single in the 3rd inning was the Pirates only other hit as the team struck out 13 times this afternoon.

The Bucs brought the top of the lineup to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning but went down in order as Reynolds fouled out to third, Adam Frazier grounded out to second and Moran struck out for the third time. Gregory Polanco also tallied three strikeouts as the team simply struggled to make contact today.

Next. Keller Flashes Talent In Loss. dark

What’s Next

The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Chicago Cubs (31-21) in the first of a four-game series on Monday night. This will be the final home series of the season for the Pirates, and righty JT Brubaker (4.79 ERA, 4.65 DRA) will take the hill against veteran lefty Jon Lester (4.91 ERA, 6.15 DRA). First pitch is set for 7:05 PM EST.

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