Pirates Avoid Sweep; Win First Game Of 2020

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The Pirates won their first game of 2020, by a score of 5-1 against the St. Louis Cardinals, avoiding a sweep. This was also Derek Shelton’s first big -league win as manager. The Bucs did everything right today, getting the job done on both offense and defense. Mitch Keller pitched a solid game, throwing 5.0 innings with two strikeouts. Although he didn’t have his best stuff, it was still good enough to win. 

Early Innings

Adam Frazier led off the 1st inning with a base hit to center off of Dakota Hudson. The inning ended quickly after Frazier was picked off at first and Josh Bell grounded out to second. 

Both teams went scoreless in the 1st. The Bucs did get an early hit, something they’ve been struggling with this series. Keller pitched a great 1st taking down the Cardinals’ big bats quickly.

After Colin Moran struck out to start the 2nd, Phillip Evans ripped a single to left. However, Evans was caught stealing by Yadier Molina. Jose Osuna then struck out, ending the inning.

The Bucs wasted two solid opportunities on poor base running by both Frazier and Evans. They had the momentum in their favor early, but gave it right back to St. Louis.

Keller had issues in the 2nd inning, walking two with no one out. However he was able to rebound and keep the game scoreless after a mound visit from pitching coach, Osacr Marin.

The Pirates gave up two quick outs in the 3rd, before Erik Gonzalez reached on a base hit. Pittsburgh now had one hit in the first three innings, which is something they can grow upon. Although they again stranded the runner at first.

In the 3rd inning, Shelton argued with the home plate umpire for his calls behind the dish. The Pirates were the victims of bad calls in game-two and Shelton had had enough. The umpire did eject someone from the game, however it wasn’t Shelton.

Taking The Lead

Keller was almost out of the 3rd inning until a handful of infield mishaps led Kolten Wong to score on what should have been a groundout. Tommy Edman reached second on the throwing error. Cardinals took the lead, 1-0.

The Cardinal’s lead didn’t last long, as Moran hit a long two-out home run to tie the game 1-1. Evans followed the homer run with a base hit of his own. The Pirates took a 3-1 lead thanks to a homer off the bat of Osuna.

The Pirates were able to keep St. Louis off the board in the bottom half of the 4th. Keller pitched well and kept the Bucs’ lead at 3-1.

Pittsburgh continued to get to Hudson in the 5th. Jacob Stallings led the inning off with a double. Gonzalez grounded out to second, advancing Stallings to third. Frazier worked a walk that ended Hudson’s day. Stallings scored on sacrifice fly by Bell, making it a 4-1 Buc’s lead.

Shut It Down

Mitch Keller had pitched an incredible game and it continued in the 5th inning. Keller kept the Cardinals hitless, his third 1-2-3 inning out of five. He was however relieved by JT Brubaker. Keller threw 5.0 innings, giving up two hits, one run, and gathered two strikeouts.

In his Major League debut, Brubaker struck out four and held the lead for the Bucs, even though he struggled in the 7th. Brubaker throws a deadly 12-6 curveball and a hard fastball, which were the keys to his success.

Bell worked a one out walk in the top of the 8th. With two outs, he scored off an Evans’ double making it 5-1, Pirates. This was the Bucs’ first run since the 5th inning.

Nick Burdi closed out the game, and the Pirates got their first win of 2020. Pittsburgh played very well today and was able to hit when it mattered. Their pitching was exceptional and they held onto the four-run lead.

Click here for recaps of Game-1 and Game-2 of this series.

Next, the Bucs host the Milwaukee Brewers for their first home series of the year.  

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