Pittsburgh Pirates: Offensive Struggles and Bullpen Blowups Lead to Series Loss Against Houston
Rich Hill put together a quality start, but the Pirate offense provided no run support and Dauri Moreta had his first rough outing of the season
Following an electric game two of the series, where the Pirates walked off the Houston Astros with a 7-4 victory, the Pittsburgh Pirates lose the series against the Houston Astros after a 7-0 blow out. While Rich Hill played fairly well, the offense was unable to generate any run support and the Pirates bullpen struggled to keep the game close.
With this series loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates finished 1-2 on the series and are now 7-5 on the season. The Pittsburgh Pirates will have the opportunity to win game 1 of the St. Louis series on Thursday night, as long as certain changes are implemented.
Rich Hill pitched serviceably in his first 6 inning game
Compared to a rough second start of the season, the 43-year-old Rich Hill put together a much improved quality start through 6 innings of work on the mound.
Hill started the game with a lineout from Chas McCormick, walked Alex Bregman, and allowed a Kyle Tucker single in the 1st, but was able to end the inning with a David Hensley fly out. In the 2nd, Hill generated multiple line outs and only allowed a Mauricio Dubon double.
in the 3rd, Hill gave up a leadoff single to Chas McCormick which led to a stolen base. After an Alex Bregman lineout and a Kyle Tucker groundout, Chas McCormick made it to third base with 2-outs. Jose Abreu hit a double off of Hill to put the Astros up 1-0 after driving in McCormick.
Rich Hill lined out Jeremy Peña to start off the 4th, but a Corey Julks solo home run pushed the Astros lead to 2-0. Hill pitched well in the 5th and 6th, only walking 1 batter and he didn't allow a hit.
Even though Hill didn't strikeout a single batter, he finished strong in his 6 innings of work, only allowing 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs. Hill ate innings and had a much better start compared to his last game, but he didn't get any run support in his 6 innings of work.
Pirates offense was virtually non-existent
Jose Urquidy and the Houston Astros outfielder's single-handedly kept the Pirates from scoring a single run all game. Through the first 3 innings, Urquidy didn't allow a single hit and only walked 2 batters.
In the 4th, the Pirates offense started to heat up, with a Carlos Santana double and Ke'Bryan Hayes walk leading the way. Unfortunately, Connor Joe was caught stealing 2nd base after he made it to first on a force out.
In the 5th inning, Jack Suwinski provided the only single in the inning, but a Ke'Bryan Hayes groundout negated any chance of the Pirates scoring. After this inning, the Pirates hitters were completely neutralized for the rest of the game and they weren't able to provide run support to win the game.
Dauri Moreta struggled in the 7th inning
Coming into this game, Dauri Moreta was arguably the most reliable Pirates reliever this season and was Derek Shelton's go-to arm for high leverage situations. El Banco didn't allow a single earned run in 4.2 innings, struck out 8 batters, and only allowed 1 hit all season. Moreta's emotion, energy, and domiance on the mound led to him quickly becoming a fan favorite.
After pulling Rich Hill after 6 innings of work, the Pirates skipper put Moreta on the mound in the 7th. However, this opportunity turned into a rough outing for the young righty.
Dauri Moreta was able to ground out Mauricio Dubon to start the 7th, but everything fell apart after this at-bat. Yainer Diaz singled off of Moreta and Chas McCormick walked, putting runners in scoring position. Alex Bregman capitalized on this opportunity and hit a 3-run home run to blow the game wide open and push the Astros lead to 5-0.
Following this home run, Dauri completely lost confidence and control of his pitches after Kyle Tucker walked and Jose Abreu singled. After his rough outing, Derek Shelton took Moreta out of the game for Chase De Jong. Things didn't get any better for De Jong, and after multiple hits and walks, the Astros pushed their lead to 7-0.
On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in their first game of the four game series. Taking the mound for the Cardinals will be left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery (2-0, 2.25ERA, 12 strikeouts), who has put together a solid season so far. Vince Velasquez (0-2, 9.82ERA, 4 strikeouts) will be looking to improve on a rough start to the season. First pitch from Busch Stadium is scheduled to be 7:45pm ET.