Pittsburgh Pirates: 8 Strong Innings From Tyler Anderson Leads to Victory

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 09: Wilmer Difo #15, Ka'ai Tom #60 and Troy Stoke Jr. #69 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate their 6-5 win against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 09, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 09: Wilmer Difo #15, Ka'ai Tom #60 and Troy Stoke Jr. #69 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate their 6-5 win against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 09, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

9. Final. 6. 4. 5

Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to salvage the final of their three-game series at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs

First of all, on behalf of the entire staff here at Rum Bunter, happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there! Second of all, judging by the lineup that was released prior to the game on Sunday afternoon, one would think that runs would be at a premium. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to push 6 runs across in a victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Following a 6-5 victory over the Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates improved to 14-19 on the season. With the win they were able to salvage a game in their weekend series at Wrigley Field they are now 4-5-2 in series played this season.

Scoring Breakdown

A lineup that excluded some of the more popular names on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster (Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds, Colin Moran, Phillip Evans, Gregory Polanco) was surprisingly able to produce some early runs on Sunday afternoon.

Adam Frazier singled, Kevin Newman singled and Ka’ai Tom walked to load the bases right away for Jacob Stallings. Stallings grounded out on a little tapper to the left side of the infield that scored a run and advanced the runners. Then, after a shallow pop up from Erik Gonzalez, Wilmer Difo delivered as he slapped a base hit into short left center field to score two and make it 3-0.

Todd Frazier followed that up with a slow-rolling ground ball that would make it to the outfield because there was simply no one their to field it, and it allowed Difo to advance to third. Then in his MLB debut, Troy Stokes Jr. hit a soft ground ball to short and reached safely after a throwing error by Ildemaro Vargas caused Anthony Rizzo to drop the ball at first base. This play brought in another run and it was 4-0 Pirates in the top half of the 1st inning.

With two outs and Kris Bryant on third in the second inning, Joc Pederson ripped a base hit up the middle to get the Cubs on the board and make it 4-1.

The Pittsburgh Pirates would get that run back and then some in their next at-bats.

After a one-out single from Gonzalez, Difo came through yet again as he roped a ball off of the right field wall for an RBI triple to make it 5-1. Todd Frazier would then hit a ball sharply to third that Matt Duffy could not come up with and another run was in to give the Bucs a 6-1 lead early on.

Difo was one of the offensive stars of the day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 3-for-5 with a triple a 3 RBI. On the season he has been a pleasant surprise this season, currently hitting for a .273/.304/.477 slash line to go with a 112 wRC+.

With runners at the corners and one out for the Cubs in the fourth, Jason Heyward chopped a ball back to Tyler Anderson and his only play was at first. Rizzo scored and the Pirate lead was trimmed to 6-2.

The 6-2 score would hold all the way up until the bottom of the ninth inning. A hectic ninth inning.

Kyle Crick came on to finish out the game for the Pirates, but he hit Rizzo on the first pitch and followed it up with a wild pitch that allowed Rizzo to advance to second. Then Crick walked Bryant to slightly open the door for the Cubs. Crick was able to get David Bote to fly out to deep right center field for the first out in the ninth, but was then pulled in favor of Richard Rodriguez.

Rich Rod entered the game and would earn a strikeout against the first batter he faced, but then Pederson grounded a single to left center field to score Rizzo and make it 6-3. The plot thickened when Vargas roped a double in to right field and make it a one-run game at 6-5.

Javier Baez, who was given the day off to handle his back tightness, was forced to enter the game as the last bench player available to face Rodriguez. After a great battle, Rich Rod would get Baez to ground out to second to end the game.

Entering the day neither Crick nor Rodriguez had allowed a run this season. So, each were likely due for a game like this. Thankfully, it came with the Pirates leading 6-2, giving a cushion when they ran into trouble.

Tyler Anderson Throws a Gem

After being spotted with an early lead, Tyler Anderson was able to pound the zone and it proved to be extremely efficient on Sunday afternoon. Anderson pitched 8 fantastic innings while striking out 6 and only allowing 2 runs. Of his 102 pitches, he was able to throw 70 for strikes, he also posted a terrific 79% first strike rate.

He continues to look like the best signing that general manager Ben Cherington has made in his stint with the Pirates so far, as his ERA has now dropped to 3.05 with a WHIP of 1.04. He owns a 3.13 FIP, 7.3% walk rate, 22.6% strikeout rate and he’s allowed just 3 home runs.

Anderson could be an extremely valuable trade piece for the Buccos in the coming months.

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What’s Next?

The Pittsburgh Pirates will head back home as they wait to start a 7-game home stand beginning on Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds. The pitching matchup will feature Mitch Keller (6.29 ERA, 4.58 FIP) for the Bucs and Tyler Mahle (3.23 ERA, 3.82 FIP) for the Reds. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET at PNC Park.

The Pirates will look to get a bit of revenge in this series after the Reds had their way with them in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh was swept in three games with scores of 5-3, 14-1 and 11-4.