Roansy Contreras shoved, Jason Delay and Rodolfo Castro both had big games, and the Pittsburgh Pirates bounced back from a tough loss by blowing out the Los Angeles Dodgers
Looking to bounce back from a gut punch of a loss on Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of their three-game set Wednesday night at PNC Park. To the team's credit, after getting kicked in the groin on Tuesday night they bounced back in a big way on Wednesday.
The Pirates bounced back with an 8-1 victory over Dodgers to improve to a still National League best 17-8 on the season. For a lot of reasons this victory was an impressive one for the Pirates. Their pitching staff kept a deep and strong Dodger lineup in check. Most of all, the Pirates did what good teams do and responded to a gut punch loss with a victory.
Roansy Contreras pitches 6 brilliant innings
Through the first 5 innings of the game Roansy Contreras was literally un-hittable. What was most impressive about this is that Contreras did it despite not having his best command. However, that is what really good starting pitchers like Contreras do.
Dodger catcher Austin Wynns blooped a weakly hit single to shallow center field to start the 6th inning. The ball was hit too weakly to carry to an outfielder, resulting in the first Dodger hit of the night.
After striking out Mookie Betts, Contreras allowed a single to Freddie Freeman. Contreras would then fall behind in the count 3-0 against Jason Heyward before battling back to get him to pop out to right field. James Outman then flew out to center field to end the inning.
In 6 scoreless innings pitched Contreras allowed just two hits, walked two, and struck out five. He threw 55 of 87 pitches for strikes and generated 7 swings-and-misses. As we said above, Contreras did not have his best command but he strill proceeded to pitch 6 scoreless innings. Finding a way to turn in an outing like that despite not having their best command/stuff is what the great ones do.
Pirates strike in the 5th inning after wasting early scoring opportunities
The Pittsburgh Pirates went down in order in the 1st inning. They would then threaten to score in each of the next three innings. Jack Suwinski drew a one-out walk in the 2nd inning but was stranded. After Jason Delay singled and Ke'Bryan Hayes walked in the 3rd inning, Bryan Reynolds hit into an inning-ending double play. Carlos Santana singled and Suwinski walked with one out in the bottom of the 4th, they even executed a double steal, but were both stranded.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Pirates finally broke through to break the scoreless tie.
Ji Hwan Bae singled to start the inning and stole his second base of the game. After Hayes drew a one-out walk, Reynolds hit a ball through the left side of the infield to score Bae. Hayes then scored on an Andrew McCutchen bloop hit to right field.
With the Pirates now leading 2-0, Santana beat out the back end of a potential double play ball. This came after Santana was originally called out, but Derek Shelton challenged and won. Suwinski then hit a 101 MPH missile, but right at left fielder James Outman to end the inning.
Drew Maggi makes his MLB debut
In June of 2010 Drew Maggi was drafted in the 15th round of the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although he was promoted to the majors by the Minnesota Twins in 2021, he never appeared in a MLB game making him a "phantom ballpalyer."
On Sunday, Maggi was once again promoted to the majors by the Pirates. When Reynolds returned from the bareavement list on Wednesday it appeared that Maggi's time in the majors may once again end, but he stuck around with the Bucs.
Maggi finally made his MLB debut on Wednesday night. After ripping a ball foul down the left field line on the first pitch of the bat, Maggi would end up striking out. Even though Maggi struck out, he will now forever be in the MLB record books.
Bucs add on late
One thing that sunk the Pirates in Tuesday night's loss was failing to tack on insurance runs in the late innings. Wednesday night, the Pirates were able to right this wrong to score late inning insurance runs to put the game away.
With two runners on base in the 6th inning Jason Delay hit a ball off the Dodger pitcher. Delay would then leg it out for a run-scoring infield hit. Delay's second hit of the night made the score 3-0 Pirates, giving the team more breathing room.
Then in the 7th inning the Pirates were able to put the game away. Reynolds was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Santana walked, and Suwinski reached on a bloop single to load the bases. Then with two outs, Rodolfo Castro hit a 2-run single to left field. Castro's second hit of the night made the score 5-0 Pirates.
Later in the inning the Pirate speed and aggressiveness would continue to strike. With runners on first and second and two outs Bae reached on an infield hit to shortstop. On the play pinch-runner Tucupita Marcano put his head down and rounded third. After initially being called out at the plate, it was reviewed and Marcano was called safe. His aggressiveness was rewarded to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead. Delay would then rip a 2-run double, making it 8-0.
The Pirates will be facing a tall task on Thursday in their efforts to secure a series victory. Lefty Julio Urías (3.33 ERA, 4.18 FIP) will start for the Dodgers. Urías is one of the best left-handed starting pitchers in baseball. Luckily, the Pirates will send their ace Mitch Keller (3.64 ERA, 4.27 FIP to the mound. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 12:35 PM ET.