One night after being blown out by thirteen runs, the Pittsburgh Pirates looked to be on their way to another shut out at the hands of the Washington Nationals. Down a run in the eighth Pittsburgh would battle their way to four runs and keep Washington off the board in the ninth to close out a 4-1 victory.
Chris Archer started for the Pirates tonight and would leave the game prior to the second inning to a right shoulder injury. This would mean an already taxed Bucco bullpen would be responsible for covering the final eight innings. First up was Clay Holmes who would give the team 3.2 innings of work allowing one run on one hit with four walks and three strikeouts. That run came on an Anthony Rendon RBI double to right center in the fifth.
Nationals starter Steven Strausburg always pitches well against Pittsburgh and tonight was no different. He left the game after seven innings and gave up four hits with one walk and six strikeouts. The Pirates were happy to seem him leave and Wander Suero enter the game. Suero would allow three runs on two hits with a walk and not even record an out in the process.
The first of those runs came on a Bryan Reynolds sac fly to center that scored Steven Brault. Up next to the plate would be Starling Marte and he would round the bases on a three-run home run to right center field. That homer would come off of former Pirates pitcher Daniel Hudson.
Michael Feliz would follow Holmes out of the bullpen tonight. Feliz worked 1.1 innings and in the process gave up one hit, struck out and walked one batter. Richard Rodriguez worked the seventh and part of the eighth. He would strike out one batter and allow a hit. The final four outs would belong to Felipe Vazquez. Vazquez would also strikeout a batter and give up a hit. The final out of the game came on a great catch by Marte up against the centerfield wall.
It was impressive to see this bullpen keep the game close until the offense showed some signs of life in the eighth. Joe Musgrove will need to have a good game tomorrow night in order to give this bullpen some time to rest after a heavy workload these past two nights. Washington will counter with Patrick Corbin in game three of this four game series.
Record vs. Nationals: 3-2
Record vs. N.L. East: 9-15
Record at Home: 26-35
Overall Record: 52-73
Let’s Go Bucs!