Baseball is a funny game. Even at the highest level, the ebbs and flows of a season in this sport are unlike any other. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, after a red-hot April, it has been somewhat of a disastrous stretch through May and June, including a series loss to the Miami Marlins last weekend.
Flash forward a few days, and the Bucs have completed a three-game series sweep of the San Diego Padres with a 5-4 victory at PNC Park this afternoon.
Luis Ortiz started for Pittsburgh, giving up four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. Dauri Moreta earned the victory (4-2) by pitching a scoreless inning. Former-Pirate Joe Musgrove was the mound for San Diego, going six innings while giving up two runs on seven hits. Tim Hill suffered the loss as three runs (two earned) scored in the seventh inning.
The Padres struck first on a sacrifice fly by Ha-Seong Kim in the top of the second inning, scoring Jake Cronenworth from third to make it 1-0. One batter later, Trent Grisham blasted a two-run homerun to right center field, increasing the lead to 3-0. A solo homerun by Kim in the top of the fourth inning made it 4-0, and it looked as though the Padres were well on their way to easily winning this game.
The Pirates got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. A sacrifice fly by Nick Gonzales scored Henry Davis, cutting the Padres’ lead to 4-1. It did feel like somewhat of a missed opportunity though. The Bucs were able to put runners on second and third with no outs, and were only able to generate one run in the inning.
Pittsburgh made things interesting in the sixth inning. Andrew McCutchen led off the frame with a double and scored on a single by Davis, making it a 4-2 game. Unfortunately, as was the case earlier in the game, the Bucs couldn’t break through with a big inning. The next three batters – Carlos Santana, Connor Joe, and Gonzales – were all retired in order to end the inning, and the outing, for Musgrove.
Rodolfo Castro walked and Jared Triolo singled to put runners at the corners with no outs in the seventh. Two batters later, Jack Suwinski slapped a ground ball back to pitcher Tim Hill. A single and throwing error later, and the Bucs scored two runs, tying the game. Two batters later, Davis stepped to the plate and singled to right field, scoring Suwinski to make it 5-4.
David Bednar earned his 16th save of the season, tallying four outs to secure the win. He came in with a runner on second and was able to get the final out in the eighth inning, and then after issuing a leadoff walk, he set the next three batters down in order in the ninth to close the game.
This was a feel-good series that this team, and its fan base, certainly needed. Certainly, this three-game stretch doesn’t solve all of the issues that have led to this team to where it is in the standings…far from it actually. But it was huge stretch in terms of keep fan interest and player confidence as they continue this crucial homestand.
The Pirates will look to avenge their series sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this month when the two teams take the field for the first game of their weekend series on Friday evening. Freddy Peralta will be on the mound for Milwaukee against Osvaldo Bido for Pittsburgh.
Record vs. Padres: 3-0
Record vs. N.L. West: 12-6
Record at Home: 21-19
Overall Record: 38-42
Let’s Go Bucs!