Rich Hill put together another quality start, the offense carried the team to victory, and Mark Mathias led the Pittsburgh Pirates with 4 hits on the night
Following a 5-4 extra innings loss against the St. Louis Cardinals a day prior, the Pittsburgh Pirates bounced back to start their series against the Colorado Rockies with a 14-3 blowout victory on Monday night. Rich Hill pitched well on the mound and the Pirate offense finally provided him with much needed run support to carry the team to the victory.
With the win, the Pirates are now 1-0 in the series and are 10-7 this season. With this offensive explosion to start off the three-game series at Coors Field, will it continue throughout the remaining games of the series? Only time will tell.
Rich Hill put together another quality 6 inning start
In the lefty-lefty matchup, veteran southpaw Rich Hill dominated in his 2nd quality start of the season, while Kyle Freeland got absolutely shelled. During his previous start against the Houston Astros on April 12th, the Pittsburgh Pirates were unable to provide Hill with any run support, even though he pitched well in his 6 inning start. However, in this game, they were finally able to course-correct and provided him with much needed run support for the victory.
To lead off the bottom of the 1st inning, Hill started off rough with a Jurickson Profar walk and a Kris Bryant double but was able to ground out Charlie Blackmon. Following a C.J. Cron walk, Hill was able to ground out former Pirates catcher Elias Diaz after Ke'Bryan Hayes touched 3rd base and threw the ball to 1st to end the inning. Tip of the cap to Hayes for backhanding the ball without slowing down while running to third base to turn the spectacular double play.
Even with his struggles, Hill didn't allow a single run. In the 2nd, Hill allowed a leadoff single from Ryan McMahon, but struck out Elehuris Montero for his first strikeout of the night and grounded out Yonathan Daza with a double play to end the inning.
In the 3rd, Hill flew out Ezequiel Tovar and Jurickson Profar lined out, but Kris Bryant finally put the Rockies on the board with a solo home run, to end the shutout and make the score 9-1. In the 4th, Hill allowed a leadoff single from Cron but was able to strike out Diaz and Elehuris Montero to end the inning.
In the 5th, Hill got back-to-back strikeouts from Yonathan Daza and Ezequiel Tovar to start the inning and followed that with back-to-back singles from Profar and Bryant. Hill recovered well and grounded out Blackmon in another scoreless inning. In his 6th and final inning, Rich Hill struck out Cron, got Diaz to ground out, and struck out McMahon to end the night.
On the night, Rich Hill pitched 6 innings, struck out 7 batters, only walked 2, allowed 6 hits, and 1 earned run in 105 pitches; a rather impressive outing for the 43-year-old lefty. Even though Wil Crowe allowed 2 earned runs and 2 walks on the night, Jose Hernandez was able to get out of the jam to end the game.
"Small-Ball" offense dominated all game
So far this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have showcased a rather underrated offense and this game further solidified how talented our offensive players can be. The Colorado Rockies had left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland on the mound and coming into the game, he had a 0.96ERA (it jumped to 3.80 after this start). From the moment he touched the mound, things started off poorly for the veteran southpaw.
After a Ke'Bryan Hayes lineout and Bryan Reynolds flyout, Pirates legend Andrew McCutchen kicked the offense into gear with a 2-out solo home run to put the Pirates up 1-0 in the 1st inning.
Moving into the 2nd, Connor Joe drew a walk, Rodolfo Castro reached 1st base on a throwing error by Elehuris Montero, which also brought Connor Joe to third base. Mark Mathias got his 1st RBI as a Pirate after hitting an RBI single into center field, which scored Connor Joe and brought the Pirate lead to 2-0. With Rodolfo Castro on 3rd, Ji Hwan Bae hit a sacrifice fly and Austin Hedges got an RBI single to push the Pirate lead to 4-0. Ke'Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds both hit RBI singles to push the Pirates up 6-0.
Immediately after, Andrew McCutchen flew out, but Carlos Santana was able to bring home Ke'Bryan Hayes with a forceout, which brought the Pirate lead to 7-0 to end the inning. This offense was cookin' early!
In the 3rd, the Pirate offense continued to dominate after Rodolfo Castro hit a leadoff double and Mark Mathias hit another single to put 2 runners in scoring position. After Ji Hwan Bae grounded out into a forceout, Rodolfo Castro was able to score, which brought the Pirate lead to 8-0.
Hayes hit another RBI single to score Ji Hwan Bae, and added another run to the Pirate lead. After giving up 9 runs, Kyle Freeland was taken out of the game with 2 outs in the 3rd. Following the pitching change, Carlos Santana hit a single off of Ty Blach in the 4th.
The Pirate offense continued to show no mercy in the 5th after Mark Mathias hit his 3rd single of the game, Ji Hwan Bae reached 1st on a throwing error, Austin Hedges drew a walk, and Ke'Bryan Hayes got a sacrifice fly to push the Pirates lead to 10-1. Following the sac fly, Bryan Reynolds got another RBI single on the night, which pushed the lead to 11-1. Carlos Santana moved the bases with a 2-RBI single to bring the lead to a whopping 13-1.
For the latter half of the game, the Pirates offense started to slow down, with Rodolfo Castro and Ji Hwan Bae being the only baserunners in the 6th. In the 7th, Andrew McCutchen was the lone baserunner after hitting a single.
Moving into the 8th, Mark Mathias acquired his 4th hit of the game, which led all Pirates hitters in hits that night. In the 9th, Jack Suwinski hit his 2nd home run of the season to push the Pirates lead up to 14-3. On the night, Pirates hitters combined for a whopping 16 hits at Coors Field.
This was an unbelievable night for the Pirate offense and no, I don't believe that the "Coors Field effect" had anything to do with it! (maybe it did? who cares!)
On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be taking on the Colorado Rockies in game two of their three-game series. Taking the mound for the Rockies will be right-handed pitcher José Ureña (0-2, 9.90ERA, 7 strikeouts), who has put together a dreadful season so far. Vince Velasquez (1-2, 5.40ERA, 10 strikeouts) will be looking to add another successful start to his season. First pitch from Coors Field is scheduled for 8:40 PM ET.