It has been a wild road trip for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their ten game run away from Pittsburgh ended today with a frustrating and bizarre final play, costing the Bucs a victory as they fell 3-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Francisco Liriano started for the Pirates, giving up two runs on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts through six innings. He was bested by his mound opponent Trevor Cahill, who lasted seven innings, giving up one run on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. In all, the two teams combined to use a total of nine pitchers, including Mark Melancon, who was tagged with the loss for Pittsburgh.
The Pirates scored the game’s first run in the second inning. Russell Martin led off with a single, and advanced to third on an Ike Davis double. After a Jordy Mercer strikeout, Michael Martinez grounded out to second, and Davis scored to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead.
Arizona scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead back. Liriano gave up a single and a walk to lead off the inning, and after a sacrifice by Cahill, the D-Backs had runners on second and third with just one out. Ender Inciarte grounded out to second, and Tuffy Gosewisch scored to tie the game. We all know how big two-out RBIs are, and this was no different. Jordan Pacheco singled to center, scoring Nick Ahmed to put the D-Backs in front, 2-1.
The score would remain the same until the top of the eighth inning. Josh Harrison led off with a single, and advanced to third on Gregory Polanco double, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Andrew McCutchen’s sacrifice fly to left scored Harrison, tying the game. Unfortunately, Cutch immediately grabbed his left side after following through on his swing and left the game immediately.
Pittsburgh had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth. Travis Snider was intentionally walked, putting runners on first and second with only one out. Martin grounded out to shortstop, and then Polanco was tagged out at home trying to score from second.
They had an even better chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th. Harrison got things started with a one out single, and Polanco walked. With Gaby Sanchez, at the plate, both Harrison and Polanco advanced to second and third on a passed ball, putting runners at second and third with one out. But Sanchez and Snider each struck out to leave runners on, keeping the game tied.
Unfortunately, like is so often the case, the team that blows too many opportunities usually loses the game. That was the case for the Bucs today. Gosewisch got things started for Arizona in the 10th with a one out double. Ahmed walked, and on the fourth ball, Gosewisch advanced to third on a wild pitch. Melancon then induced a ground ball to Mercer, who tossed it to Jayson Nix. But as the Bucco second baseman turned to throw it to first base to complete the double play, the ball deflected off Ahmed’s hand. Gosewisch scored the game’s winning run.
Clint Hurdle made his argument, and rightfully so, but the umpires didn’t even bother to review it. Game over.
What a frustrating way to end a road trip. On this ten game trip, we have seen a little bit of everything, including a bizarre final play. With the loss today, the Bucs earned a split in the series, and ended the road trip with a 5-5 record. After a day off tomorrow, the Pirates will be more than thrilled to return home to open up a three game series against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park.
Record vs. Diamondbacks: 4-3
Record vs. N.L. West: 19-10
Record on the Road: 25-31
Overall Record: 59-52
Let’s Go Bucs!