The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their first exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night. After leading the game 3-0 after the 6th inning, they weren’t able to hold on to the lead. The first baseball game of 2020, was an interesting one. No fans in the stands, and players wearing masks. With crowd sound effects piped in through the speakers, PNC Park felt empty.
The Pirates’ number-one starter, Joe Musgrove threw a great game. Musgrove struck out five and walked one in three innings pitched. Manager, Derek Shelton, announced earlier this week that Musgrove will be the Opening Day starter on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
After four scoreless innings for each team, the Pirates finally took the lead in the bottom of the 5th thanks to a Guillermo Heredia single. Heredia’s single scored both Erik Gonzalez and Jacob Stallings. The scoring continued for the Pirates in the 6th inning after Gonzalez dropped a single into centerfield, allowing Phillip Evans to score. The Pirates now led, 3-0.
A Blown Opportunity
In the top of the 8th, the Pirates brought in reliever, Kyle Crick, who gave up four unanswered runs. The game imploded pn Pittsburgh when Indians’ third baseman, Jose Ramírez, came to the plate. With an 0-2 count, Ramírez ripped a double to deep left, scoring Cesar Hernández, Valera and Pérez. The Ramírez double tied the game 3-3.
After the game tying double, the Indians’ star shortstop, Francisco Lindor doubled to left, scoring Ramírez, putting the Indians up 4-3. After Crick’s costly mistake, Bucs’ righty, Dovydas Neverauskas, came in to finish the inning.
The Pirates were unable to score in the bottom of the 9th. Luckily for the Pirates these games don’t mean anything. These exhibition games take the place of Spring Training games that teams have missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Pittsburgh couldn’t keep the lead, it was nice seeing Oneil Cruz come in later in the game. Cruz, the Pirates’ 2nd best prospect, made his debut on Friday. The shortstop is one of the top-35 prospects in baseball and will be an asset to the Bucs’ infield in the future. In 2019, Cruz played for three teams, accumulating a batting average of .298, with eight homeruns and 34 RBI.
The Pirates will continue the three-game exhibition set on Monday night, as they face the Inidans at Progressive Field.
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