After dropping three straight series to the defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Washington Nationals, the Pittsburgh Pirates looked to find any positive after their abysmal stretch of games. Quite possibly the only positive from losing 10 straight was that they were headed home for a five game homestand to take on the top two teams in the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, who sit in second and first place, respectively.
Game one of the three game set against the Cleveland Indians was a high-scoring affair as both teams put up a combined 21 runs on the evening. Chad Kuhl went six strong only allowing one run in the outing, while JC Mejia, after allowing a five-spot in the first inning, battled back nicely and went five innings allowing just one more run to score.
After a bases clearing double for Ke‘Bryan Hayes in the sixth inning, the Pirates were ahead by 10 runs and looked as if they had the game in hand, but the Indians rallied back, scoring nine runs in the final three innings. Thankfully, Pirates closer Richard Rodríguez shut the door in the ninth inning, thwarting Cleveland's comeback attempt.
In the middle game of the three game set, the “battling Bucs” came from behind thanks to a six run seventh inning that pushed Pittsburgh past the Indians. Besides the sixth run seventh inning, the Pirates Bats were silent, stranding 12 men on base. Mr. “homer-or-bust” Michael Perez gave the Pirates the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shortly thereafter, Bryan Reynolds continued to swing a hot bat, hitting a three run jack of his own to increase the lead to four runs. Richard Rodríguez allowed one run in the ninth off of a Harold Ramirez lead-off home run, but Rodríguez recovered nicely, setting down the next three batters in order while striking out two.
Pittsburgh tried to go for the sweep in the final game of the three-game set but fell by a final score of 2-1. JT Brubaker went 5.2 innings, allowing just two runs on the day, but even though the Pirates hit the ball well they couldn't cash in when it mattered as they stranded 13 men on base in the series finale.
Even though the Pirates dropped the final game of the series, it was a nice bounce back from their games over the past week and a half where they struggled to get anything good going on the offensive side of the ball. Pitching also was not a high point over the past week, but improved over the weekend other than a few snafus here and there.
The Pirates get a day of rest tomorrow before they conclude their short five-game homestand on Wednesday as they host the Chicago White Sox starting on Tuesday. They then hit the road and travel to St. Louis to start a seven game road trip.
Probables Vs. White Sox
Tuesday 7:05 p.m.
CWS: Lucas Giolito (5-5) 3.86 ERA
PIT: Tyler Anderson (3-7) 4.89 ERA
Wednesday 12:35 p.m.
CWS: Dylan Cease (5-3) 3.99 ERA
PIT: Chase De Jong (0-1) 4.26 ERA