Pittsburgh Pirates: Jacob Stallings Walks it Off Again
By Marty Leap
In front of the largest crowd at PNC Park in nearly two calendar years Jacob Stallings recorded yet another walk off hit in a 3-2 victory for the Pittsburgh Pirates
When a baseball team is out of contention one of the best things they can do down the stretch is play spoiler. That is exactly what the Pittsburgh Pirates have done this weekend. Following a 3-2 walk off victory on Saturday night the Pirates have taken the first two games against their cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend.
Entering the weekend series the Phillies were in second place in the National League East Division. After suffering back-to-back losses against the Pittsburgh Pirates the Phillies are now tied with the Atlanta Braves for third place in the NL East, sitting 4.0 games behind the New York Mets.
Following the 3-2 walk off victory on Saturday nigh the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 40-64 on the season. Sunday afternoon they will go for an elusive sweep when they play the Phillies looking for their first sweep of the season.
JT Brubaker goes 6 strong
After struggling his last 5 starts JT Brubaker was in need of a strong start on Saturday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates got just this from Brubaker as he allowed just 1 run in 6 strong innings of work against the Phillies.
Brubaker retired the first 11 batters he faced. The first Philly base runner of the night reached on a Rodolfo Castro error. Brubaker then got the final out of the 4th inning to keep the no-hitter in tact through 4 innings of work.
In he 5th inning Brubaker would allow a run. However, he pitched out of a jam in the inning in the process by allowing just a 1 run despite loading the bases. Brubaker then fired a scoreless 6th inning to end his night.
Brubaker allowed 1 run on 3 hits in his 6 innings of work. He walked 2 batters, did not allow a home run and struck out 4. He there 54 of 82 pitches (65.9%) for strikes. With this outing, Brubaker continued what has been a strong 2021 season. To be honest, if the Pirates weren’t watching Brubaker’s work load he likely would have pitched another inning.
Pittsburgh Pirates draw an early lead
Entering the bottom of the 3rd inning neither team had a hit. This would quickly change.
Leading off the inning Rodolfo Castro singled and he came around to score on a Kevin Newman triple. Then with one out in the inning Ben Gamel singled to score Newman, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
This lead almost proved to hold up through the remainder of the game, but the Phillies managed to scratch out a run in the 8th inning to tie the game. Thankfully, this run proved to be nothing more than a road bock for the Pirates on their way to victory.
Jacob Stallings remains clutch
Bryan Reynolds doubled to start the bottom of the 9th inning and moved to third on a Gregory Polanco ground out. After John Nogowski walked, Jacob Stallings stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and one out.
In recent seasons Stallings has been as a clutch as any Pirate hitter. This, with an assist to Reynolds, continued on Saturday night. Stallings hit a ground ball to third base but Reynolds slide in under the tag of catcher JT Realmuto. With this Reynolds was safe and the Pittsburgh Pirates were 3-2 victors.
This walk off was the 7th of his career for Stallings. This includes it being the 3rd of the season for the Pirate catcher. One thing the Pittsburgh Pirates have been able to count on the past two seasons has been clutch hits from Stallings.
While the Pirate starter for Sunday remains TBD it is believed it will be the recently acquired Bryse Wilson (5.88 ERA, 5.65 FIP). Trade deadline addition Kyle Gibson (2.87 ERA, 3.75 FIP) will start for the Phillies. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.