In a game the Pittsburgh Pirates appeared ot have won, Wil Crowe imploded in the 9th inning blowing an 8-4 lead in a 9-8 loss
Following a day off on Monday the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a brief two game series against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. After being swept in New York, but by the Mets, over the weekend, the Pirates entered the series looking to snap a four game losing streak and take a step toward finishing their 10 game road trip strong.
Tuesday night’s affair was one that saw both offenses get loose in the late innings. As the dust started to settle it appeared the Pittsburgh Pirates would be picking up a victory over the Yankees. Well… after a demoralizing 9th inning the Pirates lost 9-8, falling to 55-93 on the season.
Luis Ortiz impresses once again
Two starts into his major league career hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz has done nothing but impress with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After pitching 5.2 scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds in his MLB debut last week, Ortiz pitched 5 strong innings in start number two.
Facing a high-powered Yankee lineup at the always hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, Cruz held the Bronze Bombers to just 2 runs in 5 innings pitched. Only 1 of the runs Ortiz allowed was earned. He surrendered just three hits, walked a pair, and struck out five.
Both runs that Ortiz allowed came in the 5th inning. To start the inning Oswaldo Cabrera should have been retired, but reached third base on an error by Bryan Reynolds. Charging an error to Reynolds was not fair. Even though the center fielder always takes precedent over the other outfielders and Reynolds called off Diego Castillo who was playing in right field, Castillo kept coming and ran into Reynolds causing the ball to drop.
With one out in the inning, Harrison Bader on second base, and the game now tied, Jose Trevino blooped a single that just dropped in front of a sliding Reynolds, who nearly threw Bader out at the plate, to make the score 2-1 Yankees. To Ortiz’s credit, he remained poised and got the final two outs of the inning. Part of Ortiz escaping the inning without further damage was the latest dazzling defensive play by Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Ortiz once again lit up the radar gun in his start. He threw two pitches that were over 100 MPH and 10 more that touched at least 99 MPH. His slider once again looked filthy and his changeup continues to come along. Ortiz is very quickly becoming an intriguing arm to watch entering the 2023 season.
Multiple late inning rallies for the Pirate offense
After the Yankees grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Pirate offense would quickly respond. This response saw the Pirates put up a two-spot in the top of the 6th inning to grab a 3-2 lead.
Jack Suwinski singled as a pinch-hitter to start the inning. With one out in the inning Oneil Cruz drew his third walk of the game. After Greg Allen was retired, Jason Delay ripped a two-run double into the left-center gap. Delay’s double scored both Suwinski and Cruz, giving the Pirates the lead back.
After the Yankees regained the lead in the bottom of the 6th inning, Bryan Reynolds led the 7th inning off with a moonshot of a home run. His 24th home run of the season tied the game at 4. After Rodolfo Castro drew a walk, the Yankees made a pitching change that paid off as the Pirates were not able to do any more damage in the inning.
Duane Underwood Jr. falters once again for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Throughout the 2022 season the bullpen has been a major problem for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ranking in the bottom five in baseball in most major bullpen statistics, it is a group that has cost the Pirates plenty of games this season.
Tuesday night was just the latest in a long list of games that the bullpen has cost the Pirates this season. Looking to protect a 3-2 lead, Duane Underwood Jr. took the mound in the 6th inning. A once inconsistent that has now turned poor season for Underwood Jr. would continue in his outing.
While Underwood Jr. was able to strand the bases loaded, it came after he allowed a pair of runs. Underwood Jr. allowed a 2 runs on three hits, a walk and two strikeouts in the 6th inning, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead.
8th inning rally for the Bucs
The big night for Reynolds continued in the 8th inning.
With one out in the inning Delay drew a walk. Hayes then reached on what was ruled a fielder’s choice after he grounded out to first baseman Anthony Rizzo who attempted to throw Delay out at second base, but failed to do so.
Reynolds would then hit a ball through the left side of the infield for his fourth hit of the night. This hit by Reynolds gave the Pirates the lead back. Rodolfo Castro then launched a three-run home run that just snuck over the right field wall. Castro’s 11th blast of the season made the score 8-4 Pirates.
Wil Crowe implodes in the 9th inning
Entering the bottom of the 9th inning the Pirates appeared to be on their way to victory. Leading 8-4, Derek Shelton handed the ball to Wil Crowe whose struggles continued in what became a 9-8 loss.
Aaron Judge led the inning off with his 60th home run of the season. At the time it did not seem like a big deal. If anything, Crowe was attacking the strike zone and not walking batters with a big lead.
Well, after a pair of base hits and a walk the Yankees had the bases loaded with no one out. Giancarlo Stanton then proceeded to hit an absolute missile for a walk-off grand slam to sink the Bucs.
After a strong start to the season, Crowe has started to look like the poor pitcher of season’s past in the past month or two. Crowe has been allowing far too much hard contact while struggling with control at times. On the season, he now owns a 4.15 ERA and a 4.30 FIP.
Former Yankee prospect Roansy Contreras (3.24 ERA, 4.23 FIP) is scheduled to start the series finale for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. Luis Severino (3.45 ERA, 4.03 FIP) is slated to start for the Yankees. First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.