Led by a strong start from Bryse Wilson, a big game from Greg Allen and a Ke’Bryan Hayes home run, the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided a weekend sweep in Baltimore
Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates did something they very rarely do, win a regular season game in Baltimore. While the Pirates have had plenty of postseason success in Baltimore in franchise history the regular season has not been the same way.
Following an 8-1 victory over the Orioles on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now just 2-11 all-time at Camden Yards. As Joe Block pointed out on the telecast, dating back to when Baltimore had a National League club the Pirates have lost 37 of their last 42 regular season games played in Baltimore.
Despite losing the previous two games, Sunday afternoon’s victory capped off a strong week for the Pirates. This week saw the Pirates sweep the Milwaukee Brewers and win a game in Baltimore has part of a 4-2 week, improving to 44-64 on the season.
Bryse Wilson turns in a strong start
Throughout the season, and his entire tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates, right-handed pitcher Bryse Wilson has struggled with his control, while also allowing too much hard contact. While hard contact continued to plague Wilson, allowing a 53.8% hard hit rate in the start, his control was some of the best he has shown as a Pirate.
Wilson did not miss nearly as many spots as he usually does in his starts. He did not issue a walk and threw 46 of 69 pitches for strikes, which comes out to a strong 67% strike rate. Believe it or not, good command can go a long way for a pitcher.
Wilson threw his curveball 16.7% of time, the second most of any pitch next to his sinker. Outside of the Mateo home run, Wilson’s curveball was working for him on Sunday which contributed to his strong start. Wilson’s final line was 1 run allowed on four hits, no walks and five strikeouts in 5+ innings pitched. He also joined Matt Capps as the only pitchers in Pirate history to win a game at Camden Yards.
Pirate offense gets up off the mat in the 5th inning
Baltimore starting pitcher Spenser Watkins was in total and compete control early in the game. The righty retired the first 13 batters he faced. Then, with one out in the 5th inning and trialing 1-0, the Pittsburgh Pirates got up off the mat.
Michael Chavis reached on an infield hit. This was followed by three straight singles from Bligh Madris, Greg Allen, and Cal Mitchell. Allen and Mitchell’s hits drove in runs, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
Allen would then do a great job of reading a pitch that was in the dirt and did not get far away from Chirinos. To Allen’s credit he broke for third base immediately and was able to beat Chirinos’s throw. This proved vital as it allowed Allen to score on a José Godoy ground out, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
Wild 7th inning leads to Pirates blowing the game open
Allen’s strong game continued when he drew a walk to start the top of the 7th inning. This would be the start of a wild inning that saw the Pittsburgh Pirates lead grow from 4-1 to 5-1, but it would not come without some craziness.
With two outs in the inning Kevin Newman hit a ground ball deep in the hole at shortstop. Mateo, without having a play at first base, fielded the ball and fired home looking to prevent Allen from scoring.
Initially, Allen was called out. It was clear from the second Allen was called out that Chorines did not give him a lane to the plate. Derek Shelton challenged the play and it was overturned. This led to Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde being ejected from the game.
After a delay due to Hyde arguing with the umpires, Bryan Reynolds came through a drove the ball into center field. This base hit scored Newman who went to second on the throw home and made the score 6-1 Pirates. Facing ex-Pirate Beau Sulser, Hayes would launch his 6th home run of the season to make the score 8-1.
The 7th inning was part of a big game for Allen. Allen finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk, a RBI, and two runs scored. He was aggressive on the bases, which helped to generate multiple runs, and had a strong game defensively as well.
Shutdown day for the Pirate bullpen
With a runner on first and no one out in the 6th inning, Eric Stout relieved Wilson. The lefty would retire all three batters he faced and strand the runner he inherited. Colin Holderman followed with 2 scoreless innings pitched. Holderman did not allow a hit, while walking a batter and striking a batter out. Yerry De Los Santos pitched the 9th inning. After getting the first two outs of the inning on two pitches, he struck out Ryan Mountcastle to end the game.
Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is a trip to Phoenix to battle with the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four-game series. The Pirates have yet to announce a starting pitcher for Monday night’s game one, while Zac Gallen (3.31 ERA, 3.68 FIP) is slated to start for Arizona. First pitch from Chase Field is scheduled for 9:40 PM ET.