Luis Ortiz pitched 5 strong innings, Ke'Bryan Hayes continues to mash, and Liover Peguero murdered a baseball as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Kansas City Royals for a second night in a row
Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to secure their second win in as many days in Kansas City. The Bucs were able to do so, securing a series victory and improving to 60-73 on the season in the process.
For much of the game, the Pirate offense struggled. Lefty Cole Ragans dominated the Pirate offense in his 7 shutout innings of work and the Pirates did not score until Ke'Bryan Hayes, who went 1-for-4 with a walk, hit a 2-run home run in the 8th inning.
The home run by Hayes, his 11th of the season, sparked a late inning offensive explosion from the Pirates. An offensive explosion that carried the team to their 6-3 victory. Even though the Pirates scored 6 runs across the final two innings of the game, the main reason the Pirates won the game was pitching. Leading the way for Pirate pitching on Tuesday night was righty Luis Ortiz.
Luis Ortiz steps up
In his previous start Ortiz struggled, continuing his season long struggles in the majors. Following that start, however, Pirate general manager Ben Cherington commented on the amount of work Ortiz had been putting in on his off days in an effort to turn things around. Due to this, Ortiz still earned another start with the Pirates.
Even though he was not a true started on Tuesday night, he was the team's bulk man. Ortiz was leaned on to pitch as many innings as possible after Colin Selby pitched 2 scoreless innings as an opener, and Ortiz would respond to this call.
It did not all come easy for Ortiz, though. After pitching a scoreless 3rd inning he found himself facing a jam in the 4th inning. With runners on the corners and no one out things could have quickly unraveled for Ortiz. After recording a strikeout, Ortiz issued a walk to load the bases with just one out. However, after gettng a line out and striking a batter out Ortiz was able to wiggle out of the mess allowing just 1 run.
Ortiz wold then cruise for his final 3 innings of work.
In 5 innings pitched Ortiz allowed 1 run on three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. He threw 51 of 81 pitches for strikes and generated 12 swings-and-misses. The amount of swing-and-miss from Ortiz is what was most encouraging as that has been an issue for him all season. Hopefully, this outing proves to be the start of Ortiz righting the ship for the rest of the season.
In addition to the 8th inning home run from Hayes, Liover Peguero also went deep for the Pirates. Peguero crushed a 3-run home run in the 9th inning. His 6th home run of the season made the score 6-1 and allowed the Pirates to give David Bednar a ngiht off.
Endy Rodriguez had a multi-hit game going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski each hit a triple. Colin Holderman pitched a scoreless 8th inning, Cody Bolton pitched the 9th allowing 2 runs on three hits and two strikeouts.
Righty Andre Jackson (4.91 ERA, 4.52 FIP) is set to start for the Pirates on Wednesday night as they go for a sweep of the Royals. Lefty Angel Zerpa (7.27 ERA, 6.04 FIP) will start for Kansas City. First pitch from Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.