Ji Hwan Bae hit his first career home run, Bryan Reynolds remained locked in at the plate, and Roansy Contreras put on a clinic in a Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 victory at Fenway Park
Following their first game at Fenway Park on Monday, where Pirates won a tight 7-6 ball game, certain Pittsburgh Pirates hitters came in clutch on Tuesday night. Home runs from utility man Ji Hwan Bae and star outfielder Bryan Reynolds carried a semi-lackluster Pirates offense to the victory. With this win, the Pirates advance to 3-2 on the season and have locked up their first series victory of 2023.
With the Pittsburgh Pirates leading the series 2-0, there is a high probability that this success could carry over to tomorrow's game and coud lead to a series sweep at Fenway. After this game, the Pirates seem a lot more electric and the games are significantly more enjoyable to watch compared to prior seasons.
Pirates score early against Nick Pivetta, Ji Hwan Bae makes history
Following a slow 1st inning, the Pirate offense started to warm up in the top of the 2nd. With the Pirates trailing 1-0 Canaan Smith-Njigba made it to first on a passed ball and Bae hit a 2-run home run off Nick Pivetta for his first career home run in the major leagues to put the Pirates up 2-1. His home run was the first hit of the game for the Pirates.
Tyler Heineman, who was called up to replace injured catcher Austin Hedges, followed Bae's home run with a walk in his first at-bat of the season. Quietly, Heineman put together a strong game. After not getting very many at-bats or game reps in recent weeks he got on base twice, had a strong game behind the dish, and stole an important base.
To lead off the top of the 3rd inning, Reynolds power continued to impress and he hit his 3rd home run of the series, putting the Pirates up 3-1. Later in the top of the 5th inning, Reynolds added a double to his night and Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk. Pirates hitters were able to take Pivetta out of the game after
In the top of the 7th, Heineman singled for his first hit of the season. Reynolds scored Heineman with a run-scoring single to put the Pirates up 4-1, and Andrew McCutchen added another walk to his night.
Roansy Contreras silenced Red Sox hitters in an impressive outing
To start off the game, Contreras allowed two singles from Alex Verdugo and Justin Turner, which led to a Masataka Yoshida groundout, scoring Alex Verdugo to put the Red Sox up 1-0. In the 2nd, Contreras was able to generate groundouts from Tristan Casas and Reese McGuire and struck out Enrique Hernandez for his first strikeout of the season.
From the 2nd to the 5th inning, Contreras only allowed one hit and generated multiple lineouts and groundouts. His slider looked electric all night long and showed the tremendous break.
Contreras was almost able to make it through the 6th, but after walking Justin Turner and Masataka Yoshida first base on an Oneil Cruz throwing error, Pirates manager Derek Shelton pulled Contreras with two outs. On the night, Contreras pitched 5.2 innings, struck out two batters, only walked one, and only allowed three hits all night. Talk about an impressive outing for the young Buc.
Ji Hwan Bae came in clutch on offense and defense
With Bae hitting his first homerun of the season in the top of the 2nd inning, he was the sparkplug that helped the Pirates win 4-1 against the Boston Red Sox. On the night, Bae was 1-4 and put together multiple impressive fielding plays that helped prevent potential baserunners.
In the bottom of the 6th, Bae fielded a scorching Rafael Devers grounder with ease and was able to get him out at first with a clutch dive and throw. After being moved to the outfield in the 8th inning, Bae showed off his speed and caught a Devers fly out near the Green Monster warning track to keep the Red Sox out of the hit column.
Overall, Bae and Reynolds were the only reasons why the Pirates were able to generate runs this game. The rest of the offense was ice cold, but with these two studs coming in clutch, they helped push the Pirates closer to a series sweep.
Bullpen came in clutch and shut down the Red Sox offense
Following Contreras' outing, Dauri Moreta came into the game inheriting runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the 6th. Even in a high-leverage situation, Moreta came in clutch and struck out Adam Duvall to end the inning, showing lots of emotion after the strikeout.
Moreta continued into the 7th but was pulled after a Reese McGuire double and Raimel Tapia pinch-hitting for former Pirate Yu Chang. Christian Arroyo would pinch-hit for Tapia following the pitching change.
Rule 5 Draft pick Jose Hernandez entered the game and struck out Christian Arroyo to end the 7th inning, much to Arroyo's shock and shouts of expletives. Colin Holderman entered the game in the 8th and put together a solid 1-2-3 outing, lining out Alex Verdudo, flying out Rafael Devers, and grounding out Justin Turner to turn the game over to star closer, David Bednar in the bottom of the 9th.
Once Mr. Renegade entered the game, Masataka Yoshida reached first base on a fielding error by Carlos Santana, but Bednar was able to recover well after popping up Adam Duvall, flying out Tristan Casas, and striking out Enrique Hernandez to Raise the Jolly Roger for the second time this series.
Game three of the series will feature a pitching matchup of Mitch Keller and veteran Corey Kluber, who is coming off a rough first game of the season. Keller will be looking to have a better outing compared to his first start at Great American Ballpark and could be the determining factor if the Pirates can complete the series sweep and advance to 4-2 on the season. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 PM ET.