The Pittsburgh Pirates opened up a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals tonight at PNC Park. With Pittsburgh in contention for a playoff spot every game is big, but this one held a little more weight since St. Louis was tied with the Pirates in the division coming into tonight. This game also marked the debut of the recently acquired Chris Archer.
St. Louis would jump out to an early lead when Matt Carpenter welcomed Archer to the National League with a 395 ft. home run to lead off the game. The Buccos would take the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Gregory Polanco hit a two RBI triple and then came around to score on a Colin Moran sac fly to left.
The Cardinals would gain a run back in the second on a Yairo Munoz double to right, but Pittsburgh would open things up in the third. Polanco got things started with a sac fly to center. Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison would each record RBI singles to cap off the inning.
Archer would see his night come to an end after only 4.1 innings on the mound. He would allow five runs, four earned, on seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Archer wasn’t helped by some poor defense behind him and some erratic pitching by himself. St. Louis would plate three runs in the fourth to cut the Pirates lead to one.
Five members of the Buccos bullpen made an appearance tonight and it started with Edgar Santana. He would throw 1.1 innings, allowing three hits with two walks. Richard Rodriguez faced one batter in the sixth. The seventh inning would mark the first appearance in a Pittsburgh uniform for Keone Kela. Kela allowed two hits and struck out one batter in an inning of work. Kyle Crick worked the eighth and allowed one run on two hits.
With the game tied 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth Adam Frazier collected his third hit of the night and this one drove in Josh Harrison for the go ahead run. Felipe Vazquez worked the ninth and earned his 25th save after allowing one hit and one strike out to close the door on a 7-6 Pirates victory.
It may have not been a pretty win, but it looks good in the win column. The Buccos will need to clean some things up if they want to earn a series win and look to compete for the rest of what looks to be a tough month of August. Game two of this three game series will feature Ivan Nova taking on Austin Gomber, first pitch is 7:05pm.
Record vs. Cardinals: 6-5
Record vs. N.L. Central: 28-17
Record at Home: 33-27
Overall Record: 57-53
Let’s Go Bucs!