The Pittsburgh Pirates began a three-game series with the Texas Rangers Monday night from PNC Park. Texas is one of the surprise teams of the American League, as they currently lead their division. After a rough game on Sunday, Pittsburgh looked to get back on the winning track. That journey started with a 6-4 victory that was led by a quality start and one key at bat.
The Pirates started the scoring in the second inning when Ke’Bryan Hayes scored on a Connor Joe groundout. The Rangers answered in the sixth on a sac fly by Corey Seager. A wild-pitch, which haunted Pittsburgh on Sunday, allowed Leody Taveras to reach scoring position.
Carlos Santana came through in the seventh with an RBI single to right center. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Tucupita Marcano would launch a 471 ft. home run to center. Those runs were needed, as Texas kept it close over the next two innings. Marcus Semien got one run back in the eighth with a single to left center. Josh Jung then hit a two-run homer to center in the ninth to get them back to within two runs, but that would be all she wrote.
Luis Ortiz earned his first Major League win after throwing a solid 7.2 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Colin Holderman collected the final out of the eighth via strikeout, before handing the ball over to David Bednar in the ninth. He would allow the two-run homer, but struck out two batters as well.
Dane Dunning threw a good game for the Rangers. He covered 5.2 innings, striking out and walking three batters while allowing one run on six hits. Josh Sborz was tagged for three runs on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk during an inning of work. Joe Barlow got one out with a strikeout in the seventh, but was charged with two runs on one hit with a walk. Jonathan Hernandez struck out two and gave up two in the eighth.
The other key moment tonight was Andrew McCutchen collecting his 1,500th hit in a Pirates uniform. He would go 2-5 with a stolen base as the DH batting leadoff. Always good to start a series with a win, but now we need to see Pittsburgh get some momentum going and string together some victories. Game two will see Rich Hill take the mound against Nathan Eovaldi. First pitch is set for 6:35pm.
Record vs. Rangers: 1-0
Record vs. American League: 9-12
Record at Home: 12-11
Overall Record: 25-22
Let’s Go Bucs!