Despite another poor night from the offense, a strong group effort from the pitching staff helped the Pittsburgh Pirates pick up a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants
The month of May has been absolutely miserable for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, they now have an opportunity to end the month of a high note. This opportunity stems from a 2-1 victroy over the San Francisco Giants.
With the win, the Pirates are now 2-3 on their current road trip and a woeful 7-18 this month. But, if the Pirates can defeat the Giants on Wednesday they will finish off the month of May with their first, and only, series victory of the month. With the win, the Pirates are back to .500 on the season at 27-27 and just a game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central.
Poor 1st inning, command shorten Johan Oviedo's start
Johan Oviedo started for the Pirates and battled control throughout his start. Once again, the righty ran into issues in the 1st inning as well. These issues limited Oviedo to just 4.1 innings on Tuesday night.
To Oviedo's credit, things could have gone much worst in the 1st inning. With a run arleady in, the Giants loaded the bases with just one out. However, Oviedo was able to induce an inning ending double play.
Oviedo threw just 53 of his 92 pitches for strikes. He walked five batters, but also struck out five while allowing just three hits. The only run he allowed in his 4.1 innings pitched was the 1st inning run he surrendered.
Even though he did not have a great slider on Tuesday night, Oviedo still generated 12 swings-and-misses. To Oviedo's credit, he has done a nice job this season of battling to keep his team in the game on days he has not has his best stuff or command. Good learning experiences for the young starter.
Another night of Pirate offensive woes
Connor Joe quickly got the scoring started for the Pirates with a solo home run in the 1st inning. Joe's 6th blast of the season gave the Pirates an early 1-0 lead. Other than the Joe home run, there was not much to write home about for the Pirate offense.
The only other Pirate run came via a wild pitch. With runners on second and third in the 5th inning, Sean Manaea uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Rodolfo Castro to score and Jason Delay to advance to third base. Josh Palacios then hit into a fielder's choice that saw Delay get thrown out at the plate to end the scoring threat.
There were not many Pirate base runners. The team finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left four runners on base. The Pirate offense was held to just six hits, with Castro having the team's only multi-hit performance, while Andrew McCutchen and Palacios drew the team's only walks.
Pirate bullpen steps up big time
Dauri Moreta was the first reliever of the night for Derek Shelton. With one out in the 5th inning and a runner on base, Moreta would issue a walk. He then got a fly out and a groundout to end the 5th inning.
Moreta allowed a hit to start the 6th inning and recorded a strikeout before he was lifted for Jose Hernandez. The lefty induced an inning ending double play, before issuing a walk while getting the first two outs of the 7th inning.
Colin Holderman was summoned with Shelton looking for four out. Holderman did exactly what was asked of him, recording four outs before handing the ball to David Bednar with three outs to go. Searching for his first save this month, Bednar retired the Giants in order with a pair of strikeouts to slam the door shut.
The Pirate bullpen was the biggest reason why the team picked up a victory on Tuesday night. With the offense struggling and Oviedo lasting just 4.1 innings the bullpen needed to be shutdown and the quartet of relievers summoned by Shelton were just that.
The Pirates will go for a series victory that they are desperate of on Wednesday afternoon. Pirate ace Mitch Keller (3.01 ERA, 3.01 FIP) is set to start as he looks for a bounce back performance after struglging in his last start. Veteran lefty Alex Wood (3.51 ERA, 4.53 FIP) is slated to start for the Giants. First pitch from Oracle Park is scheduled for 3:45 PM ET.