Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates blew out the Chicago Cubs 7-1 to capture their third consecutive victory
All of a sudden the Pittsburgh Pirates look like a fun team to follow again. Crazy how playing the kids and adding an electric, elite prospect the like of Oneil Cruz to the active roster can do that for a struggling MLB club.
Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates captured their third consecutive victory by blowing out the Chicago Cubs 7-1. They have now outscored the Cubs 19-2 in the first two games of this four-game series, improving to 28-39 on the season.
Roansy Contreras goes 5 strong
Tuesday was Roansy Day. Blossoming ace Roansy Contreras started for the Pittsburgh Pirates and battled his way to pitching 5 strong innings. While he only got through 5 innings and big reason for this was due to 30+ pitch 1st inning.
With two outs in the inning the first pitch Contreras threw to Ian Happ was called a ball when it should have been a strike. Happ eventually doubled and Contreras issued a walk before getting out of the inning. If that first pitch of the Happ’s at-bat was called a strike it may not have been a 30+ pitch inning.
All told, Contreras allowed a run, which came on a solo home run, on 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. This outing lowered his ERA on the season to 2.89 in 37.1 innings pitched. Contreras generated 8 swings-and-misses and threw the five hardest pitches of the game.
It was clear that Contreras did not have his best stuff on Tuesday night. Despite this, he battled through 5 innings and limited the Cubs to just a solo home run. Being able to battle on nights you do not have your best stuff and still only allow 1 run is the sign of a great a starting pitcher.
Pirates score early, often
It did not take the Pittsburgh Pirates long to jump on the struggling Cubs. Ke’Bryan Hayes tripled to start the game and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Bryan Reynolds. Then in the 2nd inning their lead grew to 2-0 on a home run by Michael Perez.
Reynolds singled to start the bottom of the 3rd, Jack Suwinski walked, Daniel Vogelbach singled, and it was 3-0 Pirates. It was then time for Oneil Cruz to make his impact when he lined a 111 MPH single to right field to score Suwinski, Cruz then stole second base and drew a poor throw from Willson Contreras that allowed Vogelbach to score. This gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead after 3 innings.
Vogelbach continued his strong game in 5th inning when he hit a ball off the top of the wall in center field. This wound up being Vogelbach’s 7th double of the season and scored Suwinski, making the score 6-1 Pirates. The first career home run for Bligh Madris set the final at 7-1 Pirates.
Bligh Madris has a strong encore
Monday night outfield prospect Bligh Madris made his MLB debut and impressed in the process. Madris made a strong play in right field while going 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI. Tuesday night, Madris had a strong encore to his fantastic debut.
While Madris went just 1-for-4 on Tuesday night, the hit was a solo home run as he collected his first career home run. Madris also made two more strong plays in right field. One was a sliding grab in foul territory while the other was him quickly getting a ball in to hold Jason Heyward to a single. Madris has now joined Dick Stuart in 1958 as the only Pirate rookies to have 4+ total bases in each of their first two career games.
Veteran Jerad Eickoff (4.84 ERA, 4.98 FIP at Triple-A) is expected to start for the Pirates and make his 2022 MLB debut in game three of this series on Wednesday night. Keegan Thompson (3.27 ERA, 4.22 FIP) is expected to start for the Cubs. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.