Pittsburgh Pirates: Roansy Contreras Shoving, 4-Run 1st Inning Lead to Series-Opening Victory Over the Reds
By Marty Leap
Roansy Contreras shoved, Ke'Bryan Hayes is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, a 4-run 1st inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates continue their hot start with a win over the Reds
The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to be off to a hot start, one of the most surprising starts in all of Major League Baseball. Following a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night, the Pirates are now 13-7 on the season.
How long will this good baseball last for? There is no way of knowing. But right now this team is playing really good, really storng baseball They're having fun. The fans should be having fun. Baseball has not been fun in Pittsburgh for quite some time. Enjoy it.
Long ball powers big 1st inning for the Pirates
When the 1st inning began it looked like the Pirates would be primed for a big inning. Ke'Bryan Hayes singled, Bryan Reynolds walked, and the Bucs had two men on base with no one out. Well, after Cincinnati starter Luke Weaver got a ground out and a strikeout, it looked like he may wiggle off the hook.
Weaver was then able to get two strikes on Connor Joe and an inning that looked promising for the Pirates started to look dire. Joe made sure this did not happen when he launched a 3-2 pitch into the bullpen. Joe's 3-run home run, his 2nd of the season, gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
For good measure, Jack Suwinski would then add to the 1st inning crooked number. Coming off a great series at Coors Field, Suwinski blasted a solo home run into the right field seats. Suwinski's team-leading 5th home run of the season nearly cleared the Clemente Wall, and gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead.
Roansy Contreras shuts down the Reds
Making his 4th start of the season, budding top of the rotation righty Roansy Contreras turned in his best start of the young season thus far. From the start Contreras had Red batters looking uncomfortable, and at times borderline helpless during the start.
Entering the 7th inning the Reds had a scoreless inning streak that had reached 24 innings. After Contreras allowed a base hit and issued a walk to start the inning, Hayes helped clean things up by making an incredible play to start one of the most impresive double plays you will see all season.
Contreras then allowed a cheaply hit jam shot blooper to center field that plated TJ Friedl, cutting the Pirate lead to 4-1 and ending the day for Contreras. Robert Stephenson would enter the game and strikeout Nick Senzel looking to end the inning and close the book on Conteras.
Pitching a season high 6.2 innings, Contreras allowed that 1 run on five hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts. This marked the 10th consecutive game in which the Pirate starter went at least 6 innings, and their starters have allowed 3 earned runs or less in each of these starts.
Throughout the night the Reds knew that Contreras slider was coming and it did not matter. Even though he did not having good command of his fastball, due to the slider, his curveball, and a quality changeup, it did not matter. Contreras generated 14 swings-and-misses and did a good job limiting hard contact. Watching Contreras continue to bud into the star he can be will be a lot of fun to watch this season.
Colin Holderman steps up after an ugly start to the 8th inning
Jose Barrero had a swinging bunt dribbler up the third base line to start the 8th inning against Colin Holderman. Instead of just eating it, Holderman attempted to fire to first base but the throw went awry. Holderman's throwing error allowed Barrero to reach second base.
A pair of seeing eye singles cut the Pirate lead to 4-2. Then a double steal put Cincinnati runners on second and third with no one out. Spencer Steer then tattooed a line drive to left field. It was not an easy play at all, but Reynolds made the catch to retire Steer.
Steer's sacrifice fly scored a run, and put the tying run on third base with just one out. Holderman would then put a foot down. He got Jake Fraley to ground out to Hayes as part of a drawn in infield before recording a strikeout to end the inning.
It was not easy. It was not pretty. Some of it was self induced. But, Holderman got through the 8th inning with the Pirate lead still intact. David Bednar would then slam the door on the Reds with a 1-2-3 9th inning to close out the game.
In game two of his four-game set Pirate ace Mitch Keller (3.80 ERA, 4.67 FIP) will toe the rubber for the Bucs. Righty Graham Ashcraft (1.42 ERA, 3.48 FIP) who had a strong start against the Pirates in their season opening series at Great American Ballpark is slated to start for the Reds. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET.