by Zane Heiple
|Photo by Getty Images
Home run battles are not games that the Pittsburgh Pirates are built to win, and while they lost the overall home run tally 4-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays, they did however win the first game of the series 7-6.
This game remained scoreless through the first two innings until the Pirates scored two runs in the top part of the third inning. After Ronny Cedeno reached base with a single, recent call-up Alex Presley recorded his first hit which happened to be a 2-run HR. Toronto cut into the lead in the bottom part of the inning on an Edwin Encarnacion solo HR.
Pregame Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U7GpHx9y2Y
Pittsburgh then put some space between themselves and Toronto in the fourth inning. With Lyle Overbay on first Matt Diaz would triple him home, which was followed by a Garret Jones single to make the score 4-1. Pressley brought home his second RBI with a single and then Neil Walker closed out the inning with another RBI single to give the Buccos a comfortable 6-1 lead. Former Pirate Jose Bautista made his presence felt in the bottom part of the fourth with a two run blast, his 24th on the year, to make it a 6-3 Pittsburgh lead.
After a scoreless fifth, Toronto added another run in the sixth. After Eric Thames tripled to lead off the inning, Chase d’Arnaud would make an error on a Bautista groundball which allowed Thames to score. The Pirates were able to stop the damage by inducing an infield pop fly and 6-4-3 double play. This would also mark the end of Kevin Correia’s night. He would give up four runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
The seventh inning saw Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run which would be the most important run of the night for Pittsburgh. Toronto would hit two solo home runs of off reliever Tony Watson. Watson left the game to Chris Resop. Resop did get one out, but left after intentionally loading the bases. Jose Veras deserves half of a game ball for saving the win tonight. He would get Adam Lind to line out to Lyle Overbay for an unassisted inning ending double play, which was followed by a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
This called for Joel “The Hammer” Hanrahan to come out in the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead. While Slipknot’s “Before I Forget” wasn’t blasting over the loud speakers at the Rogers Centre, the intensity was there, as Joel was reaching 98mph with great consistency on the night. He was able to induce ground outs from the first two batters, and even after giving up a single, he struck out the last batter to give Pittsburgh the victory.
Postgame Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f92uPuqmi40
While it was an ugly game, a win is a win and this felt like a game the Pirates would not have won last year. Veras and Hanrahan were huge tonight as they were the only two that were able to solve Toronto’s offense. This was Joel’s 23rd save in as many opportunities, and Correia was able to collect his league leading 10th win. Another big night from the offense was also another key to victory.
Record vs. Blue Jays: 1-0
Record vs. A.L. East: 5-2
Interleague Play Record: 7-6
Record On The Road: 21-18
Overall Record: 40-38
Let’s Go Bucs!!!