Pittsburgh Pirates Swept in Two Game Series Against White Sox

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 01: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox scores a run past Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 01, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 01: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox scores a run past Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 01, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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6. 128. 3. 4. Final

The Pittsburgh Pirates have kicked off their six-day stay in the Windy City by being swept in a two-game series against the Chicago White Sox

With the calendar flipping from August to September the Pittsburgh Pirates woes continued. Since starting the season 12-11 the Pirates have gone 36-74 which is the worst record in baseball during that stretch.

Following a 6-3 loss against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 48-85 overall on the season. Despite 100+ losses appearing to be unavoidable there are still three teams (Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers) who have a worse record than the Pirates.

Max Kranick returns to the mound

In Tuesday night’s loss Pirate starting pitcher Bryse Wilson pitched better than his final line of 4 runs allowed in 5+ innings pitched indicated. This was also the case for Wednesday night starting pitcher Max Kranick who was recalled from Triple-A on Wednesday afternoon.

The hard-throwing righty made his 6th career start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night and started his night off with 3 scoreless innings pitched. This included escaping a runners on second and third with just one out jam in the 3rd inning without allowing a run.

In the 4th inning the White Sox put two men on base against Kranick. With two outs in the inning Kranick was on the brink of wiggling off the hook yet again. However, Gavin Sheets launched a 3-run home run that did not clear the right-center field fence by much, giving the White Sox a 3-0 lead.

Kranick took the mound again in the 5th inning as Derek Shelton gave him an opportunity to rebound from the Sheets home run. With one out and two White Sox runners on base Kranick induced a ground ball that appeared to be a 3-6-3 double play. However, a poor relay throw by Kevin Newman cost Kranick the double play, leaving the door open for the White Sox who scored 2 more runs that inning.

All told Kranick allowed 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 huts, a home run, 2 walks and a strikeout in 4.2 innings pitched. As was mentioned above Kranick pitched better than this line indicated. He nearly escaped his 4th inning jam unscathed and with better defense would have gotten out of the 5th inning without allowing another run.

Late inning rallies fall short

Entering the 7th inning the Pittsburgh Pirates were trailing 5-1. In the 7th inning the Pirates cut the White Sox lead to 5-2 when Anthony Alford hit a solo home run. This was Alford’s 2nd home run of the season.

Cole Tucker, who singled in a run in the 5th inning, then doubled to lead off the 8th. Following strikeouts by Newman and Colin Moran were sandwiched around Bryan Reynolds being hit by a pitch. Following the Moran strikeout Jacob Stallings blooped a single into left field that scored Tucker and cut the White Sox lead to 5-3.

This would be it for the Pirates and their late inning rally attempts. In the 9th inning they went down in order against Liam Hendriks. Wasted opportunities in the 8th inning came back to bite the Pirates in the loss.

Bullpen nearly goes unblemished

Anthony Banda relieved Kranick in the 5th inning with a runner on base. Banda got the final out of the inning and then pitched a scoreless 6th inning. Making his Pirate debut, veteran righty Shelby Miller allowed a hit and picked up a strikeout while pitching a scoreless 7th inning.

Then in the 8th inning Duane Underwood Jr. took the mound. While Underwood Jr. allowed a solo home run to Sheets he retired the other three batters he faced. Additionally, Underwood Jr. should have gotten out of the inning without allowing a run but Tucker failed to secure a ball in foul territory off the bat of Sheets that hit Tucker in the glove. Had Tucker secured the ball instead of Sheets hitting his 2nd home run of the night, Underwood Jr. likely would have pitched a scoreless 8th inning.

Next. Three Goals for September. dark

What’s next?

The Pittsburgh Pirates will remain in Chicago as they kick off a four-game series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Thursday night. Mitch Keller (6.75 ERA, 4.87 FIP) will toe the rubber for the Pirates while Keegna Thompson (3.09 ERA, 4.92 FIP) is set to start for the Cubs. First pitch from Wrigley is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET.

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