The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night by a 7-6 score, setting the table for the rubber match of the series on Sunday afternoon.
After falling behind early, the Pirates came back and built a somewhat comfortable lead before having to hold on late for the one-run victory.
Pittsburgh was led by some of their young bats on Saturday, as Endy Rodriguez had two hits and four RBIs while Liover Peguero had three hits and RBIs to lead the offensive output for the Bucs.
The starting pitching left a lot to be desired for both teams, as neither starter made it past five innings. Aaron Nola was on the bump for the Phillies, falling to 9-7 on the season after giving up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in 4.2 innings. Quinn Priester started for Pittsburgh, tallying his second victory of the season (2-1) while giving up five runs on five hits with six walks and seven strikeouts in five innings. David Bednar tallied his 21st save of the season by getting the final five outs of the game.
Peguero broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third with a solo homerun to left center field. The Phillies responded immediately in the top of the fourth with four runs. Brandon Marsh smacked a bases-clearing three-run double to center field to make it 3-1, and Jake Cave followed with a double to center as well, making it 4-1.
The Pirates responded right back in the bottom of the inning, though, with two runs. Rodirguez doubled home Ji Man Choi to cut the lead to 4-2, and Peguero’s RBI single to right made it 4-3.
Rodriguez continued his stellar night at the plate in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, the Bucs’ catcher laced a ball out to the outfield that got past Marsh in center field, allowing all three runs to score, giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead. Alika Williams got into the action later in the inning as well, hitting an RBI single to center field to make it 7-4.
The Phillies made things interesting in the game’s latter innings. A bases loaded walk drawn by Kyle Schwarber in the eighth cut the lead to 7-5, and a single by Johan Rojas in the eighth scored Trea Turner to make it a 7-6 game. But Bednar came in with one out in the eighth and took care of business, eventually, by getting the game’s final five outs to secure the victory.
The Pirates and Phillies will match up again for the series’ rubber match at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon. Cristopher Sanchez will be on the mound for Philadelphia against Rich Hill for Pittsburgh. With many trade rumors circling around about the Bucs’ left-hander, there is a chance this could be his final start in a Pirates’ uniform.
Record vs. Phillies: 1-1
Record vs. N.L. East: 6-6
Record at Home: 24-27
Overall Record: 46-58
Let’s Go Bucs!