The course of the 2016 season appears to be changing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. A little over a week ago all of the talk was about whom would be shipped out at the trade deadline, because of how far back they sat in the standings. After todays 6-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics, and sweep, Pittsburgh has their record back at .500, and with 81 games remaining, they remain in the hunt for one of two Wild Card spots.
Francisco Liriano was the story coming into today. He has struggled mightly as of late and has been rumored to be bumped from the rotation upon the return of Gerrit Cole from the disabled list. That talk was hushed a little bit today over the course of his five innings of work. He would allow three runs on six hits, while striking out two and walking one. While this was not the return of Liriano that fans have hoped for, it is a step in the right direction.
The Pirates would have to come from behind twice today to earn the victory. They were down 2-0 in the fifth when Gregory Polanco hit a two RBI single to center with the bases loaded. Oakland regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning, but the Buccos retook the lead in the sixth. Adam Frazier drove in Josh Harrison on a triple to right. He would then come in to score when Erik Kratz hit an infield single.
David Freese added some insurance in the eighth on a two run home run to right field. A.J. Schugel and Neftali Feliz found themselves in some high leverage situtions during the sixth and seventh innings respectively. Fortunately, they were able to work their way out to keep Pittsburgh in the lead. Tony Watson would have a smooth eighth inning, before Mark Melancon closed the game out for his 24th save of the season.
This was a big series win and so far, a solid road trip for the Pirates. They will now return to National League Central play for the final four games of this road trip against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Buccos are currently chasing St. Louis in the battle for a Wild Card spot, so this will be an important four games. If Pittsburgh can take this series it will be a huge amount of momentum as they head into their final series before the All-Star break on Friday.
Record vs. Athletics: 3-0
Record vs. American League: 7-8
Record on the Road: 19-22
Overall Record: 41-41
Let’s Go Bucs!