After completing a 4-2 road trip against the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates returned home and opened a three game weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park on Friday.
The Bucs fell behind early, and despite a late rally, they dropped the opening game of the series by an 8-6 score.
JT Brubaker started for Pittsburgh and was completely ineffective on the mound. He gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in four innings, suffering the loss and falling to 0-5 on the season.
His mound opponent, Merrill Kelly, earned the victory (4-3), giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings. Former Pirate Mark Melancon earned his 11th save of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Pittsburgh actually scored the game’s first run on a passed ball by Daulton Varsho, allowing Ke’Bryan Hayes to score in the bottom of the first inning. Arizona responded with two runs in the top of the second on a solo homerun by Christian Walker and a sac fly by Alek Thomas.
A RBI ground out by Tyler Heineman in the second inning and a RBI single by Jack Suwinski in the third inning put the Pirates in front 3-2. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, it would be the last time they would lead in the game.
A solo homerun by Thomas tied the game in the fourth, and a two run homerun by Ketel Marte in the fifth made it 5-3. A wild pitch from Anthony Banda allowed Arizona’s sixth run of the game to score from third.
Two more homeruns in the seventh put this one out of reach, and ended up being necessary insurance runs. A solo homerun by Jake McCarthy made it 7-3, and Thomas completed his great day at the plate with another homerun, his fifth of the season and second of the game, to make it 8-3.
As has been the case for much of the season thus far, the Pirates did not go down quietly. Hayes made things very interesting when he hammered a three run homerun to center field to cut the lead to 8-6. But Melancon came in and shut down the rally, sealing the victory for Arizona.
This was a difficult way to open the home stand for Pittsburgh, especially considering the tremendous end to their road trip earlier this week. They will look to get back on the winning track when they take the field at PNC Park on Saturday afternoon. Zach Davies will make the start for Arizona against Roansy Contreras for Pittsburgh.
Record vs. Diamondbacks: 0-1
Record vs. N.L. West: 9-7
Record at Home: 11-15
Overall Record: 22-28
Let’s Go Bucs!