The Pittsburg Pirates took a heartbreaking loss on Thursday afternoon after heroics from former longtime outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
The Pittsburgh Pirates took an extremely tough loss on Thursday after a 3-for-4 day from 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates blew the lead in the ninth inning, making it the first blown lead in the ninth this year. But aside from the 9th inning, the pitching staff was dominant today, despite facing some horrible umpiring.
Jose Quintana Turns In Dominant Performance
Pittsburgh Pirates starters have had a rough go of things early in this season, but José Quintana has been one of the few bright spots. He turned in a dominanting performance this afternoon, tossing 5 innings witn nine strikeouts. The one run he gave up was on the first pitch of the game when Andrew McCutchen, who came into the day with a 75 wRC+ vs southpaws, turned on a 90.1 MPH four-seamer. Quintana gave up a total of 4 hits, including that home run, but allowed zero walks. For Quintana, it was the first time he went 5+ innings, allowed three or fewer earned runs, and had 9+ K’s since August 13th, 2019. After Quintana’s great outing, Miguel Yajure, Heath Hembree, and David Bednar would combine for three scoreless innings.
Diego Castillo’s Tough-Luck fly ball
Diego Castillo nearly tied the game in the third inning when he hit a deep fly ball to left field. The ball had a projected distance of 386 feet and would have been a home run in 23 of 30 MLB parks. In comparrison, McCutchen’s leadoff home run had a projected distance of 355 feet and was a home run in 26 of 30 MLB parks.
7th Inning Rally Not enough To Take Win
The Pirates bats came alive in the seventh when they scored two runs off of Brad Boxberger. Ben Gamel led off the inning with a single, and then Michael Chavis broke out of his 0-for18 slump with a ground rule double. Rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski then came up and hit a grounder to Willy Adames that was bobbled. The hit was originally ruled an error, but was changed to a hit later in the game. Diego Castillo then drove in the second run with a deep fly to center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Andrew McCutchen Takes His Revenge
Long-time Pirate Andrew McCutchen was the hero for today’s game for the Brewers, ironically. His leadoff home run wasn’t the only run he drive in today. In fact, all the runs the Brewers drove in were because of McCutchen. His line single just over the glove of Josh VanMeter drove in the two other runs the Crew scored today.
9th Inning Troubles Arise For Chris Stratton
Chris Stratton, controversially, came in to close the game out, but ran into trouble that ended up losing the game. After getting Lorenzo Cain to lineout to left field, Christian Yelich, who averaged 40 home runs per 162 games between 2018 and 2020, laid down a bunt that he beat out by a step. Longtime Pirates killer Kolten Wong then came up and delivered a single into right field. Omar Narvaez then pinch-hit for Alex Jackson, and delivered a soft-line drive single that fell just in front of Ben Gamel. That’s when Cutch came up and drove in what would end up being the winning runs. Stratton settled down after this, but the damage had already been done. 2020 National League Rookie of the Year Devin Williams then came in and closed the game by striking out Ben Gamel, Michael Chavis, and Jack Suwinski, and ending the game at 3-2.
Bednar had only used ten pitches to get out of the eigth inning and was on four-days rest. The 9th inning in this scenario was a higher leverage situation than the 8th, so it was confusing why Derek Shelton decided to go with Stratton.
After Thursday’s tough loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates will take on the San Diego Padres in a three game series. Right-hander Zach Thompson, who has a 10.80 ERA and 7.28 FIP, will look to find what made him a highly successful rookie in 2021. The Bucs’ line-up will faceoff against right-hander Yu Darvish, who currently holds a 4.43 ERA and 4.01 FIP.