The Pirates had lost three straight games and once again played sloppy baseball, but that didn’t matter as they did enough to best the Rockies 2-1 on Monday.
Chad Kuhl’s first time pitching for the opposing team in Pittsburgh was an up and down affair. It started off rough, as Kuhl walked leadoff hitter Ben Gamel to open the bottom of the first inning. Gamel then moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Ke’Bryan Hayes double.
Young Hayes gets us on the board! pic.twitter.com/UK2vJCRjZK— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 23, 2022
A walk to Brian Reynolds put two on again, but Kuhl was able to escape by coaxing outs from the next three hitters, the first of which was a Dan Vogelbach lineout that José Iglesias made a nice snag on to likely save a run. Kuhl ended up throwing 34 pitches in just the first inning.
He was able to avoid further trouble, though, working around baserunners and shutting down any potential Pirates rallies. His final line reads as having allowed one run on five hits with four walks and one strikeout in 4 1⁄3 innings. That’s certainly not as long as he would have liked to stay in the game, but he did enough to keep things close.
JT bakes bats
JT Brubaker picked up where he left off against Colorado, once again shutting down their offense throughout his start. He efficiently worked his way through their lineup, faltering only when his defense did. That happened in the fourth inning when Brendan Rodgers took his at-bat with one man on and no outs. Rodgers sent a comebacker straight to Brubaker, who turned around to throw to second base and begin an easy double play. Instead, he spiked the ball past second and into center field, allowing the runners to advance to first and third with nobody out. He did get a double play out of Randal Grichuk in the next at-bat, but that scored a run and tied things at 1-1.
Brubaker finished his outing having tallied 6 2⁄3 innings and allowing no earned runs against five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. He’s now pitched 12 2⁄3 innings against the Rockies without an earned run. The Pirates’ 36 errors are the most in MLB this season. Colorado’s offensive woes continue, as they did not score an earned run and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They’ve scored one unearned run in their last 18 innings.
Pivotal play at the plate
In the seventh inning, the Rockies defense was tested. With Ty Blach pitching in relief of Kuhl, Rodolfo Castro led off with a double, then moved to third on a lineout to right field by Jack Suwinski (who was robbed of a hit by a nice sliding play by Charlie Blackmon). With one out and the infield in, Michael Pérez sent a ground ball to second base. Fielded by Rodgers, he fired it to the mound on a hop, and catcher Elías Díaz made a spinning tag to try to get the out, but Castro was called safe and the Pirates took a 2-1 lead.
Or it was, until the Rockies had the play reviewed. After some deliberation, the umpires determined that Díaz did indeed get the tag down, and the score remained tied. A Gamel groundout then ended the inning and the Pirates threat.
Ty Blach, fresh off of a spot start against the Mets two days ago, was expected to get some innings for the Rockies after Kuhl’s early exit. He did that and more, as Blach tossed 2 2⁄3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing a hit and no walks against two strikeouts. The lefty did a great job of bridging the gap to the later innings and kept the Rockies in the game until the late innings.
Ty Blach— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) May 24, 2022
2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO pic.twitter.com/qRAF4EyfRc
Bucs strike late
Tyler Kinley has been lights-out in this early part of the season, but the Pirates got to him on Monday. Pitching in the eight inning, he allowed a bloop single to Ke’Bryan Hayes, who stole second after Brian Reynolds flew out. After Vogelbach grounded out and Hayes moved to third, he was brought home on an infield single by Yoshi Tsutsugo. Brendan Rodgers did what he could to prevent the run, but the close play was enough to give the Pirates the actual 2-1 lead. It’s just the second run Kinley has allowed this season.
Pirates closer David Bednar, who has been spectacular in 2022, did allow a two-out walk to put the tying run on base in the ninth, allowing Connor Joe to hit with a chance to even the score. Joe, unfortunately, flew out to center to seal the game and give Pittsburgh the victory.
The Rockies and Pirates will do battle in game two of their three-game set on Tuesday. Kyle Freeland (1-4, 4.85 ERA) gets the ball for Colorado, while Pittsburgh has not named their starter at the time of this writing. Keep an eye on Kris Bryant, who may have to miss more time due to a nagging back injury.
First pitch is at 4:35pm MDT. See you then!