The Pittsburgh Pirates came in to today’s series finale with the Washington Nationals on a three game losing streak and were on the verge of being swept in their first series past the All-Star break. They would be facing Max Scherzer, who no hit them last year, and had an offense that had totaled only one run the past two nights. In order to pull out a win, it looked like pitching would be their key to victory.
Chad Kuhl took the mound for Pittsburgh, and he had been roughed up in his last start. He would pitch a gem this afternoon and was well deserving of a win that he just missed out on. His day was finished after six innings that saw him give up one hit to go along with five strikeouts.
Scherzer was almost as good during his seven innings of work. He allowed one run on six hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk. That lone run came in the sixth inning when Starling Marte doubled to shallow left field to score Adam Frazier. That would not be the last time we would hear from Marte on the day.
The Pirates bullpen was nearly unstoppable today as they worked through the final twelve innings. The lone hiccup came from the usually lights out Mark Melancon. Melancon was one strike away from recording another save, when Daniel Murphy hit a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence.
Each team would put up zeros for what felt like eternity. Former Bucco Oliver Perez took the mound in the seventeenth inning and helped Pittsburgh to a win in the eighteenth. He would give up a no doubt solo home run in the top part of the inning to Marte, for what proved to be the winning run. Jonathon Niese would be on the bump for the final three innings and struckout two batters to finish off the 2-1 Pirates win.
Thankfully the Buccos have tomorrow off, because they used up their entire bench and bullpen to pick up this win. It is hard to say whether this win will propel them the rest of the season, but to avoid being swept on the road was huge. They will now return to PNC Park to begin an eight game homestand, with the first three against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
Record vs. Nationals: 1-2
Record vs. N.L. East: 8-9
Record on the Road: 23-25
Overall Record: 47-45
Let’s Go Bucs!