Pittsburgh Pirates: Big 3rd Inning Leads to Series Opening Victory Over the Braves

Big games from Liover Peguero and Endy Rodriguez helped spark a Pirate victory on Monday night

Aug 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Endy Rodriguez (25)
Aug 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Endy Rodriguez (25) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A 6-run 3rd inning sparked a Pittsburgh Pirates victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night at PNC Park in game one of their four-game series

After splitting a four-game series at their House of Horrors in Milwaukee, the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a seven-game homestand on Monday night. This homestand is one that will likely be a very challenging one. It starts with a four-game series against the best team in the National League - the Atlanta Braves.

While this homestand could be a challenging one for the Bucs, it started off on a very strong note. Monday night the Pirates defeated the Braves in game one of their four-game series 7-6. Not only did they defeat the Braves, they did so in a game where the pitching matchup seemed to greatly favor Atlanta. With the win, the Pirates are now 51-61 on the season. The win also snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Braves.

Big 3rd inning leads to Bucs drawing first blood

Through the first 2 innings the Pirates were struggling to get any offense going against Spencer Strider, who ha been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. In the 3rd inning, that changed.

Liover Peguero doubled to start the inning and scored when Orlando Arcia, with the infield drawn in, bobbled a Connor Joe ground out. Had Arcia fielded the ball cleanly Peguero likely would have been out at the plate and the Pirates may not have scored in the inning. Even though Arcia got the second out of the inning, his play still, in a way, opened the floodgates.

Bryan Reynolds had a terrific two-out at-bat to draw a walk before coming around to score on an Andrew McCutchen double. Henry Davis would then single home McCutchen, making the score 3-0 Pirates.

After Jack Suwinski drew a walk, Strider walked Endy Rodriguez, who doubled in his first trip to the plate, in an AB that Strider did not look interested in throwing Rodriguez a strike. The Braves then appeared to have Rodriguez picked off first base but Matt Olson never tagged him. After the second Atlanta defensive snafu of the inning, Jared Triolo lined a single to center field. Triolo's hit made the score 5-0 Bucs and ended Strider's night making it his shortest outing since August 2022.

Peguero greeted new pitcher Michale Tonkin with a run-scoring single to center field. Peguero's second hit of the inning make the score 6-0 Pirates.

Osvaldo Bido starts strong... gets hit hard in the 4th inning

Osvaldo Bido started for the Pirates and was facing arguably the biggest test of his young MLB career. Facing a pitcher the quality of Strider and arguably the best lineup in baseball, Bido started out by responding to the challenge.

Bido retired the first nine batters he faced. However, the second time through the lineup things did not go well.

Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a 111 MPH missile right at Suwinski in center field to start the 4th making it 10 up, 10 down for Bido. After this, the wheels fell off the cart. Ozzie Albies hit his 26th home run of the season. Austin Riley doubled, Olson singled, Sean Murphy was hit by a pitch, Marcell Ozuna singled and went to third on a Henry Davis error, and just like that the Braves had cut the lead to 6-4.

Had Eddie Rosario not hit a line drive right at a fielder and Arcia had not chased a pitch out of the strike zone when the count was 3-0, the 4th inning would have been even worse. This miserable 4th inning ended Bido's night. In 4 innings pitched, he allowed 4 runs on four hits, a hit batter, and three strikeouts. With this outing, his ERA on the season is now 5.35.

Bullpen and rain delay

Yerry De Los Santos was first up out of the Pirate bullpen. He got the first two outs of the 5th inning but was pulled when the Braves had runners on the corners and two outs with the left-handed hitting Olson due up.

Derek Shelton went to lefty Ryan Borucki. Borucki allowed a run-scoring single to Olson, cutting the Pirate lead to 7-5 before he got Murphy to fly out to center field to end the inning. After the Pirates batted in the bottom of the 5th inning, the game went into a rain delay at 8:46 PM ET.

At 10:02 PM ET play resumed with lefty Jose Hernandez on the mound for the Pirates. Hernandez issued a walk and allowed a hit to put runners on the corners with just one out. After a tremendous running play by Triolo to track down a pop up for the second out of the inning. Hernandez was pulled for Carmen Mlodzinski.

Mlodzinski got Acuña Jr. to fly out to center field to end the inning. Mlodzinski followed this up by pitching a scoreless 7th inning. In 20 MLB games Mlodzinski has looked fearless. He has trusted his great stuff, attacked opposing hitters, and thrown strikes. In 22.2 MLB innings, Mlodzinski now owns a 1.99 ERA.

Angel Perdomo took the ball in the 8th inning. After allowing a lead off single, Perdomo retired the next three batters including a pair of strikeouts. This set the stage for the Pirates and the renegade in the 9th inning.

Even though he ha a 2-run lead, Monday's night save was one of the most challenging of the season thus far for David Bednar. Facing defending NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II and the top of the Brave lineup, Bednar was able to slam the door shut.

Bednar surrendered a lead off double to Harris II. While he came around to score on a ground out by Albies, it meant nothing as Bednar slammed the door shut on a Pirate victory. This gave Bednar 23 saves on the season.

Next up

In dire need of a strong start, the struggling Mitch Keller (4.35 ERA, 3.89 FIP) is set to start for the Pirates on Tuesday night. Righty Yonny Chirinos (4.42 ERA, 5.09 FIP) is slated to start for the Braves. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

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