Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to defeat the Colorado Rockies to salvage the final game of their three-game series
Prior to beginning the All-Star Break the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to salvage a game in Denver against the Colorado Rockies. Entering Sunday’s series finale the Pirates had lost four in a row and were looking to avoid being swept by the Rockies.
Well, led by a strong performance from a recently much maligned bullpen, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up an 8-3 victory over the Rockies on Sunday. Wit the win the Pirates will enter the All-Star Break with a record of 39-54 on the season.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to split their 12 game road trip leading up to the break, the split comes as a bit of a disappointment. After dropping the two of the first three games of the trip the Pirates won four in a row. They then lost four straight, including a pair of losses in Miami in games that they easily could have and honestly should have won. But, that is what bad teams do. They find way to lose games they should win.
Big days at the plate for Kevin Newman and Michael Chavis
Kevin Newman reached on an error to start the game and Michael Chavis had a one-out single. This was the first of three trips on base for Newman on the day and the first of three hits for Chavis. Daniel Vogelbach would then single Newman home to quickly give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
The 6th inning saw Newman and Chavis contribute to run scoring again. With one out in the inning Newman doubled, putting runners on second and third. Newman’s double was followed by a run-scoring ground out form Ke’Bryan Hayes and a run-scoring single by Chavis. This broke a 3-3 tie, giving the Bucs a 5-3 lead.
Newman would help put the game away in the 9th inning. After Oneil Cruz had singled in Cal Mitchell earlier in the inning, Newman hit a two-run single scoring Cruz and Gamel, making the score 8-3 Pirates.
Pittsburgh also added a pair of runs in the 3rd inning when Jake Marisnick lined a two-run double into the left-center field gap. Marisnick’s double came after Vogelbach and Ben Gamel had walked earlier in the inning.
Chavis also made a pair of strong defensive plays in the game. First, with Rockie base runners on the corners and just one out int he4th inning, he made a great backhanded stop on a ball and fired to second base to nail the lead runner. Had Manny Bañuelos hustled to first base quicker it would have been an inning ending 3-6-1 double play and would have prevented a run from scoring.
Then, in the 6th inning Chavis did this:
Bullpen steps up
The previous four days had been rough for the Pirate bullpen. Even with the offense struggling, had the bullpen done their job better in the final two games in Miami the Bucs would have swept that four-game series. The bullpen got shelled Friday night in Denver, and allowed a run in Saturday’s 2-0 loss.
Sunday afternoon the bullpen was able to finish the road trip on a high note. Yes, Tyler Beede allowed a run in the 5th inning, but that was largely due to Diego Castillo playing the outfield which is something that should never happen.
While Bañuelos issued a walk and failed to cover first base quick enough to turn a double play allowing an inherited run to score, he got the final two outs of the 4th inning without allowing a run of his own. Beede pitched 2 innings, walking a batter out and striking a batter out while allowing the run that was not completely on him.
Duane Underwood Jr., Wil Crowe and David Bednar would then slam the door shut. Underwood Jr. struck a batter out in a scoreless 7th inning. Crowe allowed a hit to start the 8th and issued a two-out walk, but in between he flipped a double play ball then got the final out of the 8th. Bednar struck a batter out and allowed a hit in a scoreless 9th inning.
Bryse Wilson turns in a short start
Bryse Wilson was re-called by the Pittsburgh Pirates to start on Sunday afternoon. In his previous two starts Wilson turned in two of his best as a Pirate. Across these two starts he allowed just 3 earned runs on a pair of home runs, 15 hits, a walk, and eight strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched.
Wilson was looking to repeat this success on Sunday afternoon, but he lasted just 3.1 innings for the Pirates. Wilson allowed 2 runs on four hits, but he did not walk a batter while striking out three batters. The second run Wilson allowed was the run that scored due to Bañuelos failing to cover first base quick enough.
It is not clear why Wilson was pulled after just 3.1 innings pitched. Even though he turned in a short start, in his last three MLB starts he’s allowed just 4 earned runs in 16 innings pitched. Odds are he has earned another start following the break.
Following the All-Star Break the Pittsburgh Pirates will return to action when they welcome the Miami Marlins to PNC Park for a three-game series that will begin on Friday. First pitch of Friday’s contest is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.