Tuesday night at PNC Park the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres played what will be one of the wildest games of the 2021 MLB season
One of the greatest things about baseball is that you never know what you’re going to see in a ball game. Tuesday night at PNC Park the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres played one of these games.
When Trent Grisham led the game off with a home run for the Padres maybe we should have known it was going to be one of those nights. When the dust settled from a wild night of baseball at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 8-4 victors over the San Diego Padres in a 4 hour 7 minute marathon. With the win, the Pirates even this four-game series against the Padres and improve to 4-7 on the season.
A Wild Night at the Ballpark
Tuesday night was not a night that either pitching staff will want to remember. Padre pitchers allowed 8 runs on 12 hits, 4 walks, they hit 4 Pirate batters and threw a wild pitch. Meanwhile, the Pirate staff, allowed 4 runs on 6 hits, a whopping 13 walks, 3 hit batters, a pair of wild pitches and a home run allowed.
This marked just the second time in franchise history the Pittsburgh Pirates walked at least 13 batters and won the game. The other time this happened was also against the Padres, in August of 1979.
The teams combined to commit a trio of errors and hit into a quartet of double plays. Despite scoring a combined 12 runs, there were also wasted opportunities for the teams offensively. San Diego left 28 runners on base while the Pirates stranded 22 base runners.
Wilmer Difo, who got the start in center field, became the first Pirate in over 40 years to strike out in each of the first 3 innings of a game. In the 5th inning he struck out for a fourth time giving him a golden sombrero in just 5 innings, something that you may never see again.
Through it all what was the craziest thing that happened on Tuesday night? Well, the normally stoic Colin Moran cracked a smile following his RBI pinch hit single in the 5th inning.
Struggles Continue for Chad Kuhl
Prior to the start of the season Chad Kuhl was tabbed with the honor of being the Opening Day starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately for Kuhl, things have not gone well this season. His early season woes continued on Tuesday night.
In Kuhl’s first two starts of the season he struggled in the 1st inning before settling in. Tuesday night, Kuhl struggled from start to finish. The Pirate righty pitched just 3.2 innings, allowing 4 runs with 3 of them being earned.
Kuhl walked 7 Padre batters, which is a new career-high in walks, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter. It goes without saying he struggled with his control. Kuhl also allowed a home run, which was a lead off home run to start the game, and struck out just one Padre.
So far this season Kuhl owns a 6.75 ERA and an 8.87 FIP in 10.2 innings of work. Control has been a major issue for Kuhl who has 27.2% of batters faced through his first three starts. Kuhl has struggled to throw any of his pitches for strikes with any sort of consistency this season and he continues to have a fastball problem. Moving forward, this will need to improve or else his home could become the bullpen.
Pirates Knock Blake Snell Around
While Kuhl struggled on Tuesday night, his struggles were outdone by those of former American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. Making his third start with the Padres since being traded to them this offseason, Snell failed to get out of the 1st inning.
The lefty allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, he walked a pair, threw a pair of wild pitches and hit a batter in 2/3 of an inning pitched. This was the worst start of Snell’s career with the 1st inning being a sign of things to come from the Pirate offense on Tuesday night.
The wildest part of Snell’s start is that he easily retired the first two batters of the game. Then with two outs and no one on base Bryan Reynolds smoked a single off of Snell’s glove into center field, and the Pirate offense was off and running.
It Wasn’t Pretty… but the Bullpen Posted All Zeroes
In the 8-4 victory the Pirate bullpen pitched 5.1 scoreless innings. However, these 5.1 scoreless innings did not come easy for the Pirate bullpen.
Clay Holmes got the final out of the 4th inning and pitched a scoreless 5th inning, but he hit a batter and issued a walk in the process. Sam Howard got the first two outs of the 6th inning before being lifted after putting two men on base. David Bednar faced four batters and walked three of them.
The only Pirate relievers to retire each batter they faced were Chris Stratton and Richard Rodriguez. Kyle Crick issued a pair of walks and hit a batter to load the bases with one out in the 8th inning but cleaned the mess up with a 4-6-3 double play ball off the bat of Jurickson Profar.
While the Pirate bullpen allowed just a pair of hits, they walked 6 batters hit a pair and threw a wild pitch. Ultimately, all that matters, is that the bullpen fired 5.1 scoreless innings in relief of Kuhl to help guide the Pirates to victory.
Tyler Anderson (5.23 ERA, 5.18 FIP) will make his third start with the Pittsburgh Pirates and he will be opposed by ex-Pirate Joe Musgrove (0.00 ERA, 0.95 FIP). This will be Musgrove’s first start since throwing the first no-hitter in Padre history in his last start.