The Pittsburgh Pirates entered Tuesday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers as one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball. Occupying the best record in the National League and the second-best record overall, the Bucs were looking to continue that trend and push their winning stream to eight games.
Unfortunately, despite building a big lead early, the Pirates were not able to close this one out, falling to the Dodgers by an 8-7 score at PNC Park.
Johan Oviedo started for the Pirates on Tuesday, lasting 5.1 innings while giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Colin Holderman was tagged with the blown save and the loss, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk in the eighth inning.
Noah Syndergaard took the mound for the Dodgers and struggled. He lasted just four innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits. Los Angeles used a total of seven pitchers on the evening, with Yency Almonte earning the victory and Shelby Miller notching the save.
A two run double by Miguel Vargas put the Dodgers in front early in the top of the first inning, but Pittsburgh responded with a run in the bottom half when Carlos Santana singled home a run. The Bucs took the lead in the bottom of the second inning on a two run double by Ke’Bryan Hayes, making it a 3-2 score.
Pittsburgh appeared to have broken the game open in the fourth inning with four runs. Austin Hedges singled home a run, and later, Andrew McCutchen hammered a three-run homerun to right field, making it 7-2. Unfortunately, that would be the last run the Pirates would score on the night.
The Dodgers began chipping away at the Bucs’ lead…run by run, inning by inning. A single by Freddie Freeman in the fifth inning made it 7-3, followed by a single by Michael Busch and a sacrifice fly by Austin Barnes in the sixth to make it 7-5.
But the big blow came in the top of the eighth inning, when Chris Taylor stepped to the plate with two runners on and hit a go-ahead and eventual game-winning three-run homerun to left center field, making it 8-7.
Pittsburgh did respond in the bottom half of the inning, loading the bases. But with two outs and a 3-1 count, McCutchen popped one up to catcher to end the threat.
This was a tough loss for the Bucs, and it isn’t just because it ended their seven-game winning streak. They had a big lead at home, and had a few chances to extend the lead and potentially put the game out of reach and couldn’t make it happen. And lastly, with the bases loaded, I’m not sure if there’s anyone you’d rather have at the plate right now than McCutchen, but it just didn’t work out.
Still, this is an exciting team to watch, and the energy at PNC Park is undeniable right now. The Pirates will look to even the series on Wednesday night in the second game of this series. Roansy Contreras will be on the mound for Pittsburgh against Tony Gonsolin for Los Angeles.
Record vs. Dodgers: 0-1
Record vs. N.L. West: 3-1
Record at Home: 7-4
Overall Record: 16-8
Let’s Go Bucs!