Pittsburgh Pirates: Rich Hill, Bullpen Carry 6th Win in a Row
Rich Hill pitched 5 solid innings, Jack Suwinski and Bryan Reynolds drove in runs, and the bullpen shined as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Reds 2-1
Continuing to put the pedal to the metal, the Pittsburgh Pirates have won their 6th game in a row after a 2-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night. This has been quite a surprising and electric hot streak for the Buccos.
Rich Hill continued to pitch well in this game across 5 innings of work, the offense struggled to generate runs and get on-base, but Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski carried the team to the victory. On the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 15-7 and on pace for 110 wins.
With this victory, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 3-0 on the series and have clinched the series victory. The Pirates will be looking for the series sweep in Sunday afternoon's matchup. But, first, let's recap Saturday night's vcitory.
Rich Hill continues to pitch quality innings
Entering this game, the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation was riding high on a 11 game hot streak of quality starts. Veteran southpaw Rich Hill took the mound for the Pirates against Luis Cessa and he was looking for his third straight quality start of the season.
In the 1st, Hill struck out Jonathan India and Spencer Steer to start off the inning, but back-to-back singles put runners in scoring position with two outs. Wil Myers was next up at the plate, but Hill was able to strike him out and end with a scoreless inning. In the 2nd, Hill put together another scoreless inning, only allowing one single from Jose Barrero and a Curt Casali walk.
In the 3rd, Hill struck out 2 batters, only walked 2, and made former Pirate Kevin Newman forceout to end the inning. Hill cruised into the 4th and continued to post another scoreless inning while striking out another batter and picking off Jose Barrero.
In the 5th, Hill finally gave up his first run after allowing Jonathan India to get a lead off single and Stewart Fairchild drove him in to put the Reds on the scoreboard, although the run was unearned due to a Ji Hwan Bae error. Hill recovered well after grounding out the remaining two batters to end the inning.
After the 5th inning, Hill was taken off the mound and Yohan Ramirez filled in for the veteran southpaw to start off the 6th. On the night, Hill pitched well, striking out 7 batters, only walking 3, and only allowing 6 hits and 1 unearned run across 5 innings pitched and 96 pitches.
Even with a serviceable outing, the Pirate quality start streak came to and end since Hill only pitched 5 innings. That said, 12 straight game with your starting pitchers going at least 5 innings and allowing 3 earned runs or less is very solid, especially for April.
Jack Suwinski and Carlos Santana lead the offense to the victory
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been red hot to start off the season, and the Pirates offense has been a key reason as to why.
In the 1st, Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a lead off triple against Luis Cessa and Bryan Reynolds hit a sacrifice fly to put the Pirates up early 1-0. From the 2nd to the 4th inning, the Pirates offense was rather sluggish until back-to-back doubles from Carlos Santana and Jack Suwinski kicked the offense back into gear. Suwinski drove in Santana with an RBI-double to put the Pirates up 2-1.
In the 5th, Tucupita Marcano hit a lead off single to open the inning, Austin Hedges grounded out, and Hayes hit another single. After Hedges grounded out, Luis Cessa was taken out of the game and Buck Farmer took the mound for the Reds. Bryan Reynolds hit a double to put Hayes in scoring position, but Connor Joe flew out to left field to end the inning. For the remainder of the game, Pirate hitters were unable to get on-base whatsoever.
Ramirez and Underwood Jr. close the door on the Reds
The Pirates bullpen has been quite a surprise this season and has arguably been one of the most underrated bullpen's in the league. This game wasn't any different.
Following Rich Hill's 5 innings of work, Yohan Ramirez took the mound in the 6th inning to keep the game close at 2-1. Ramirez didn't disappoint and made back-to-back batters ground out. Even after walking Jose Barrero and allowing TJ Friedl to hit a 2-out single, Ramirez bounced back and struck out Jonathan India to end the inning. Ramirez continued into the 7th and allowed a lead off single from Spencer Steer, but he dominated the outing with 3 back-to-back strikeouts. Duane Underwood Jr. took the mound for the Pirates in the 8th.
Many Pirates fans have had their issues with Duane Underwood Jr. over the last few seasons, but in this game, Underwood impressed in two innings of scoreless work and struck out a batter to add an exclamation point on his night. With this solid outing, Underwood received his 2nd save of the season!
On Sunday afternoon, Vince Velasquez (2-2, 5.12 ERA, 17 strikeouts) will be taking the mound for the Pirates against flame-throwing righty Hunter Greene (4.24 ERA, 24 strikeouts). The first pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 1:35 PM EST.