A five-run 5th inning derailed what was looking like another strong start by JT Brubaker as the Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Atlanta Braves 6-1
Baseball can be a weird game. This was certainly the case for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Through the first 4 innings at PNC Park on it appeared the Pirates and Atlanta Braves would be in for a pitcher’s duel, this was before a five-run 5th inning came out of seemingly nowhere for Atlanta on their way to a 6-1 victory.
With the loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 3-15 in their last 18 games. This latest slide and extended stretch of poor play has dropped the Pirates to 47-76 overall on the season, putting them on pace for another 100 loss season. They are also 0-6 on the season against the Braves.
Poor 5th inning sinks JT Brubaker
Last time out against the Boston Red Sox JT Brubaker turned in arguably the best start of his MLB career. Had it not been for a blister, he may have thrown a complete game shutout against the Red Sox.
Facing a strong Atlanta lineup, at first, Brubaker picked up where he left off against Boston. Entering the 5th inning, Brubaker was pitching another shutout and he had allowed just a pair of hits.
Travis d’Arnaud hit a home run off of Brubaker to lead off the 5th inning, tying the game at 1. This is where things got rocky for Brubaker. Brubaker allowed the next five Brave batters to reach base. After a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly, Atlanta found themselves leading 5-1. Things also could have gone differently in the inning if on the fielder’s choice Rodolfo Castro had taken the easier play of trying to throw out Robbie Grossman at third base instead of throwing to first base.
Brubaker would bounce back with a 1-2-3 6th inning. He also got the first two outs of the 7th inning before being lifted with two runners on base, one of which Chase De Jong failed to strand. This closed the book on Brubaker as he allowed 6 runs on nine hits, a walk, the solo home run and eight strikeouts.
It truly was weird start for Brubaker. He complete lost things for that six batter stretch to start the 5th inning, but outside of this stretch Brubaker pitched well. Both his slider and sinker continued to work as plus pitches, helping him generate 13 swings-and-misses in his outing. Unfortunately, you can not take away that six batter stretch from the 5th inning.
The Pirates have now had 23 innings this season in which they allowed 5+ runs. Yes, this is the most in baseball.
Another poor night for the Pirate offense
Michael Chavis hit a solo home run, giving him 13 long balls on the season, off of Atlanta starter Max Fried in the 2nd inning. This gave the Pittsburgh Pirates an early 1-0 lead. However, this would be it for the Pirate offense.
Pirate batters were dominated by Fried all night long. Other than the Chavis home run, Fried walked a batter and allowed a pair of singles. He struck out seven batters, and pitched 8 dominant innings. Colin McHugh then struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Mitch Keller (4.49 ERA, 3.93 FIP) will look to help the Pittsburgh Pirates salvage the final game of this series as he opposes (3.14 ERA, 3.66 FIP) on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 12:35 PM ET.