Pittsburgh Pirates Battle Back Late in Walk-Off Victory

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after hitting a walk off home run in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after hitting a walk off home run in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have won in walk-off fashion two nights in a row against the San Francisco Giants, winning Saturday night’s game by a score of 8-6

Tyler Anderson took the hill for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night. The veteran lefty entered the game with a very impressive 3.05 ERA through 41.1 innings. Anderson worked 8 strong innings in his last start in Chicago but unfortunately Saturday night’s outing did not go as well.

Despite this, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 8-6 victors over the San Francisco Giants. With the win, the Pirates have won back-to-back games for the first time this month to improve to 17-22 on the season. It also pouts them in position to secure a series victory on Sunday afternoon.

A look at Anderson’s night

Anderson got off to a rough start in tonight’s game as he was able to retire lead off man Austin Slater in the first before giving up a solo home run to Giant’s right fielder Darin Ruf. Anderson then induced an Evan Longoria groundout before Wilmer Flores stepped to the plate. Flores hit a sky-high pop-up between Anderson and catcher Jacob Stallings that dropped between the two.

An error was originally charged to Stallings but was later changed to a hit. Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford then came to the plate blasted a pitch into the seats in right to give San Francisco a 3-run lead in the first.

Anderson ran into a bit of trouble again in the third inning, surrendering a double to Ruf to lead off the inning. After striking out Longoria, Flores softly hit a ball to the right side that was just out of the reach of second baseman Adam Frazier who was shaded up the middle. With runners at first and third Mauricio Dubón singled to right to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.

Anderson struck out seven on Saturday night and will take a solid 3.50 ERA into his next start. Only 2 o the 4 runs he allowed were earned, meaning he still has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in a start this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates begin comeback

Offensively the Pittsburgh Pirates started slow, collecting only 4 hits through the first 4innings but got things going in the bottom half of the 5th inning as Will Craig lead off the inning with a single to center. Ben Gamel got the start in left field tonight and he followed Craig with a double off the Clemente Wall to put runners at second and third. Erik González brought a run in with an RBI fielder’s choice to first before Ka’ai Tom was called upon to pinch hit for Anderson with Gamel still on third base. Tom ripped a single to right and the Giants’ lead was cut to two runs heading into the 6th.

Reliever Kyle Keller was recalled by the team prior to the start of the game and made his Pirate debut in the sixth inning. After retiring Dubón to start the inning, Keller walked Curt Casali and then Giants’ left fielder Mike Tauchman homered to right to give the San Francisco a 6-2 lead.

The right-hander was originally acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for cash considerations in early April. Despite his strong performance in Friday night’s win, Miguel Yajure was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis in a corresponding move.

Keller stayed in the game to begin the top of the seventh but after walking two batters manager Derek Shelton called upon left-hander Chasen Shreve out of the bullpen. Shreve was recently called up in a corresponding move following Kyle Crick’s transfer to the 10-day IL.

Following the two walks issued by Keller, Shreve walked Crawford to load the bases with one out but then induced a double play ball to third to end the threat.

In the bottom of the 7th inning González walked and pinch hitter Troy Stokes Jr. was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Kevin Newman picked up his second hit of the night with a single to right field that scored González to make the game 6-3.

Following Newman’s RBI single, Bryan Reynolds was hit by a pitch to load the bases and then Giant reliever Camilo Doval threw a wild pitch that scored Stokes Jr. and the Pirate deficit sat at just two runs. Stallings stepped to the plate and erased that two run deficit with a double to left that scored both Newman and Reynolds and tied the game at 6.

Chris Stratton was called upon in the top half of the 8th inning and struck out two before allowing a single and a walk. Manager Derek Shelton was thrown out of the game arguing about the strike zone as home plate umpire Mark Ripperger’s strike zone seemed awfully tight for Pirate pitchers throughout the game. Maybe even more frustrating for the staff was the fact that his strike zone was simply inconsistent all night.

Following Shelton’s ejection Stratton struck out Ruf and the game remained tied at six heading to the 9th. As Stratton walked off the mound he struck a look that could kill to Ripperger behind the plate.

Despite the game being tied Richard Rodríguez was called upon he did his job, keeping the Giants off the board to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a shot at walking it off in the bottom half of the inning.

They did just that

Frazier singled to left to lead off the 9th inning but was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a Reynolds double to left. Reynolds moved to third on the throw and Jacob Stallings stepped to the plate with two outs. Towards the end of the game Stallings really began to express his frustration with the strike zone behind the plate and he took all of his frustration out on an 0-1 fastball, crushing a 400-foot home run to give the Pirates a 8-6 victory.

Saturday night’s game may give Stallings a bit of momentum and confidence moving forward as he was responsible for tying the game in the seventh and eventually walking it off in the 9th. Stallings, who typically does not show much emotion on the field, dropped his bat with some emphasis following the walk-off and may have had a bit of a chip on his shoulder during that at-bat due to the inconsistent umpiring throughout the game.

The Pirates collected 15 hits in the win with 10 of them coming from the top four in the lineup in Frazier, Newman, Reynolds and Stallings. The production at the top of the lineup is impressive as the team is without two of their regular top-of-the-lineup bats in Ke’Bryan Hayes and Colin Moran.

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What’s next?

The Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants will play the fourth and final game of the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 PM ET. Mitch Keller (2-4 7.81 ERA) will take the mound tomorrow afternoon looking to rebound from his previous start against LHP Alex Wood (4-0 1.80 ERA).