With a 10-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night the Pittsburgh Pirates secured a weekend series victory
Baseball can be a weird, weird sport. Entering play this past Monday the Pittsburgh Pirates were 7-4 in their last 11 games played. These 11 games were against two first place teams – the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets – as well as another postseason contender in the Atlanta Braves.
This 7-4 stretch appeared prime to continue when the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a three-game series on Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks who are the worst team in baseball. Instead, the Pirates were swept by the Snakes. But as baseball continues to be a weird sport, the Pirates have now won back-to-back games against the San Francisco Giants who own the best record in the National League.
Following a 10-2 victory over the Giants on Saturday night the Pirates have now clinched a weekend series victory and have a chance to sweep the Giants on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Pirates improved to 38-60 on the season.
Wasted earlier opportunities
Facing Kevin Gausman, who has been arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates had an opportunity to get to him early. Unfortunately, the Bucco bats could not capitalize.
Leading off the game Adam Frazier hit a bloop single which was followed by back-to-back walks by Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds. Gregory Polanco then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.
After John Nogowski reached on an error the bases were once again loaded. With a chance to break things open early for the Pirates, Ben Gamel hit into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play to thwart the Pirate scoring opportunity.
In the top of the 2nd inning the Pirates would once again threaten.
Kevin Newman and Michael Perez hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. With runners on the corners and no one out starting pitcher Wil Crowe was looking to bunt Perez to second base. Crowe would pop out for the first out of the inning, failing to move Perez to second base. Adam Frazier then hit into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
After the first 2 innings the Pirates easily could have had 2 or 3 runs. To be honest, they should have had 2 or 3 runs. Instead, it proved to be multiple wasted opportunities as the Bucs were only able to muster 1 run across the first 2 innings of the game despite having 6 base runners.
Thankfully, these wasted opportunities would not come back to bite the Bucs.
A big night for Polanco
In addition to his 1st inning sacrifice fly, Polanco also had a RBI single in the 3rd inning. Tattooing the ball 112.0 MPH, Polanco scorched a run-scoring single to right field to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning.
Later in the inning, Polanco came around to score on a Ben Gamel single. This gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3-1 lead at the time.
Polanco’s big night at the plate would continue in the 5th inning. With the Pirates leading 3-1 he hit a solo home run 426-feet to left-center field. Polanco’s 11th home run of the season made the score 4-1 Pirates.
All in all, Polanco was 2-for-4 with his solo shot and 3 RBI in the victory. Since returning from the IL the lefty hitter is 7-for-23 with 2 home runs, 2 walks, a double and a triple. Since returning from the IL Polanco has looked the best he has all season.
Pittsburgh Pirates chase Kevin Gausman early
As was stated above, Gausman has been arguably the best starting pitcher in the NL this season. Saturday night, the Pirates were Abel to get Gausman who lasted just 4.1 innings while turning in arguably his worst start of the season.
Gausman walked 4 batters, allowed 8 hits, the Polanco home run and he struck out just a pair of batters in 4.1 innings pitched. The 6 runs Gausman allowed were a season high and it led to his ERA on the season growing from 1.84 to 2.21.
Gausman’s outing included Gamel collected a pair of hits, including a double. As well as Kevin Newman going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. When Gausman’s book was officially close, the Pittsburgh Pirates held a 6-1 lead entering the bottom of the 5th inning.
Surprisingly Gausman turned in his wort start of the season on Saturday night. It continued a recent hot stretch from the Pirate offense that is batting over .300 in their last 16 games played.
Wil Crowe has a strong start
While he lasted just 5.1 innings of work, Crowe turned in a strong start for the Pirates on Saturday night. The righty held the Giants to just 2 runs on 4 hits, a walk and a solo home run allowed. Crowe also struck out a career-high 9 batters on Saturday night.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would have liked to see Crowe go at least 6 full but he still turned in a strong start. On the season Crowe still owns a 5.89 ERA, 5.80 FIP and a 2.06 HR/9 in 65.2 innings pitched, but Saturday night was the first step toward finding the consistency he has lacked.
JT Brubaker (4.68 ERA, 4.80 FIP) will start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Veteran lefty Alex Wood (3.77 ERA, 3.83 FIP) is slated to start for the Giants. First pitch from Oracle Park in San Francisco is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.