Pittsburgh Pirates: Vince Velasquez and Bullpen Dominate in 7th Straight Win

Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates
Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Vince Velasquez dominated on the mound, the offense did just enough, and the bullpen closed the door as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds for their 7th win in a row

After carrying over their momentum from Saturday night's victory, the Pittsburgh Pirates have won their 7th straight game. Following a 2-0 victory against the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates are now 16-7 on the season. With PNC Park pretty electric for a Sunday afternoon in April, the Pirates put together another fun game for Yinzer Nation.

Vince Velasquez pitched his best start of the season (and maybe even in his entire career) after pitching 7 scoreless innings and kept the Reds batters swinging out of their shoes. For the second straight game of the series, the Pirate offense was very sluggish in the middle innings, but clutch hitting from Jack Suwinski and others led the team to their 7th straight win.

Vince Velasquez shines across 7 scoreless innings

Since signing with the Pirates, Vince Velasquez has been very hit or miss in his starts. However, in this pitching matchup, Velasquez came out on top above Hunter Greene and completely silenced the opposing Reds hitters.

In the 1st, Velasquez started off hot after he made Jonathan India ground out and struck out back-to-back batters to close out his first scoreless inning of the game. In the 2nd, Velasquez's success continued after he posted another scoreless inning and struck out Wil Myers.

Moving into the 3rd, Velasquez started the inning with a Jason Vosler groundout but struggled with his control after walking Jose Barrero and ex-Pirate Luke Maile. Velasquez was able to course correct and got out of the inning after he flew out Jonathan India and forced TJ Friedl into a forceout.

Heading into the 4th, Vince Velasquez continued to shove on the mound after he struck out Spencer Steer to start off the inning and only allowed one hit from Wil Myers in his 4th straight scoreless inning. In the 5th, Velasquez put together his best inning of the day after he struck out back-to-back-to-back batters in his 5th straight scoreless inning.

With his confidence soaring, "Vinny V" got India ground out to start the 6th, struck out Spencer Steer, and flew out Jake Fraley while only allowing one hit from Friedl. In the 7th, Vince Velasquez struck out the side after throwing his 100th pitch of the day. Talk about an amazing outing.

On the day, Velasquez struck out 10 batters, only allowed 2 walks and 2 hits, and didn't allow a single run across 7 innings pitched and 100 pitches. His command was on point, especially with his slider and this was arguably the best start of his Pirate career.

Pirate offense continues to find ways to score runs

Over the last few games, the Pirates offense has struggled to score runners, but the offense has been able to find various ways to compliment our pitching staff and give them needed run support.

Starting off the game, the Pirates offense got hot early after Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a lead off double and Tucupita Marcano followed with a single. Andrew McCutchen grounded into a double play, but was able to score Ke'Bryan Hayes to put the Pirates up 1-0.

From the 2nd to the 4th, the Pirates offense struggled to get on-base, but Jack Suwinski's plate discipline shined after drawing walks in the 2nd and 4th inning. In the 4th, Jack Suwinski attempted to steal 2nd but was called out by the umpire, but after further review, it showed that he successfully stole 2nd and the call was overturned. In the 5th, Jason Delay was the only batter that got on base after hitting a single and Andrew McCutchen hit a single in the 6th as the solo baserunner.

After Reiver Sanmartin relieved Hunter Greene in the 7th, Rodolfo Castro and Connor Joe were able to draw walks to start off the inning, but they were unable to make it to home since the remaining Pirates batters were silenced. In the 8th, Carlos Santana surprised everyone after stealing 2nd base for the first time since 2021. Jack Suwinski was clutch yet again after he drove in Carlos Santana to push the Pirates up 2-0, and he stole 3rd base as well.

Even though Drew Maggi didn't debut in this game, he is potentially going to play sometime during the Dodgers series on Tuesday. Let's hope the Pirates offense dominates against the Dodgers pitching staff.

Bullpen closes the door on the Reds for the victory

Following Velasquez's dominant outing, Colin Holderman was given the 8th inning and didn't disappoint. Starting off the 8th, Tyler Stephenson pinch hit for Maile to try and get the Reds on the board and hit a one-out double to put the Reds in scoring position.

However, Holderman recovered well after he struck out India and ended the inning with a Friedl groundout. Holderman has been dominant in high-leverage situations this season and continues to be one of the best relievers on the Pirate roster. Holderman is starting to put together a severely underrated season.

David Bednar closed the door on the Reds after he struck out Steer, popped up another batter, and silenced Wil Myers to notch his 8th save of the season.

Next Up

With the Pirates having a day off on Monday, the Buccos will be taking on a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting on Tuesday night. Johan Oviedo (2-1, 2.22 ERA, 25 strikeouts) is scheduled to pitch for the Pirates, while the Dodgers pitcher has yet to be announced. The first pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET.

dark. Next. Jack Suwinski's Early Season Strides