Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to snap a nine game losing streak and avoid being swept in a four-game series
After being swept in a doubleheader on Tuesday the Pittsburgh Pirates entered Wednesday night’s game in dire need of a victory. Following arguably their best stretch of the season that saw the team get to 24-28, the Pirates entered Wednesday as loser of nine games in a row.
Following a 6-4 victory on Wednesday night the losing streak has ended at nine games. With the win the Pittsburgh Pirates have improved to 25-37 on the season. Most importantly, the losing streak has come to an end.
Pittsburgh Pirates jump out to an early lead
In a pleasant change from recent games the Pirates were able to jump out to an early lead in Wednesday night’s game. Bryan Reynolds hit a one-out triple in the 1st inning which was followed by a Ke’Bryan Hayes walk. Daniel Vogelbach grounded out to drive in a run, Cal Mitchell singled home Hayes and the Pirates led 2-0.
The 2nd inning saw the Pirates put up another two-spot. Canaan Smith-Njigba walked to start the inning, then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Heineman and a throwing error by Cardinal starting pitcher Jack Flaherty. Hoy Park then singled on a ground ball the Cardinals struggled with to score Heineman, making the score 4-0 Pirates.
Wheels fall off the cart for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th inning
Roansy Contreras started for the Pittsburgh Pirates and for the first 4 innings of the game it appeared that he was locked in. Contreras held the Cardinals to just a single run, a solo home run by Dylan Carlson, through the first 4 innings of the game.
Leading off the bottom of the 5th inning Harrison Bader tripled on a ball that could have been caught by Canaan Smith-Njigba, and at worst should have been a double. This was the beginning of the wheels falling off for Contreras.
After Tommy Edman walked and Brendan Donovan doubled, Contreras did get Paul Goldschmidt to ground out. Contreras then walked Nolan Arenado, bringing his night to an end as Wil Crowe came in from the bullpen.
Crowe induced a bouncer back to the mound but committed a throwing error. Crowe then induced back-to-back ground outs to clean things up. However, at this point, the Cardinals had tied the game at 4.
The final line for Contreras was 4 runs allowed, 3 earned, on 6 hits, 3 walks, a home run, and 2 strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched. This was a start that showed the inexperience of Contreras. Against Edman he went back to the well one too many times with off-speed pitches. There was also questionable pitch selection against Arenado. In the future, as Contreras grows to trust his stuff more and improves at reading opposing batters he could easily work out of situations such as the 5th inning with only allowing a run.
Bryan Reynolds is back
After a slow start to the season Reynolds has appeared to be finding a groove in his past 100+ plate appearances. Wednesday night this continued. In addition to his 1st inning triple, Reynolds was also hit by a pitch and launched a 2-run home run.
The home run from Reynolds came with the game tied at 4 in the 7th inning. Reynolds lunched his 11th home run of the season, scoring Tucupita Marcano and giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a 6-4 lead.
At this point it is safe to say Reynolds is out of his early season funk. Reynolds once again looks like one of the best hitters in all of baseball. For anyone who was foolish enough to think that the Pirates and Reynolds should not be talking long-term extension are, indeed, crazy.
Wil Crowe and David Bednar slam the door shut
After cleaning up the 5th inning, Crowe posted a zero in the 6th inning and got the first out of the 7th inning. Crowe was lifted with two runners on base and one out for David Bednar, who got back-to-back strikeouts to end the 7th inning. Crowe failed to record a strikeout, but allowed just 2 hits in 2 scoreless innings pitched.
Following his back-to-back strikeouts to end the 7th inning, Bednar worked around a leadoff walked in the 8th inning to post a zero. The leadoff batter for the Cardinals reached via error in the 9th inning, Bednar then got Goldschmidt to hit into a double play before striking out Nolan Arenado to end the game.
Bednar allowed a hit, walked a batter and struck out 4 in 2.2 scoreless innings pitched to pick up his 11th save of the season. Bednar now owns a 1.14 ERA, 1.97 FIP and has struck out 42 batters in 31.2 innings pitched this season.
Following a day off on Thursday the Pittsburgh Pirates welcome the San Francisco Giants to PNC Park this weekend. Zach Thompson (4.50 ERA, 5.06 FIP) who has a sub-3.00 ERA since May 1st will start for the Pirates as he looks to stay hot. Lefty Carlos Rodón (3.18 ERA, 2.58 FIP) is slated to start for the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.