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Meadows shines but missed opportunities result in 3-2 loss to Padres

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MLB: San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PNC Park celebrated Austin Meadows Night by rolling out decorations and costumes for what I presume to be Austin’s favorite movie franchise: Star Wars.

Meadows looked like a big leaguer in his debut, going 2 for 4 with two sharply hit singles, a stolen base, and two fly outs to deep center field. However, this strong performance was unable to make up for the missed opportunities by the Pirates (13 stranded), resulting in a 2-3 loss to the Padres.

Ivan Nova bounced back from his previous poor outings this month and delivered a quality start (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). He pitched fairly well, inducing a couple of crucial double plays and showing decent command (even while the umpire squeezed the strike zone). However, it was his fielding error that would ultimately earn him the loss.

Here’s how the scoring played out:

Pirates kicked it off early in the bottom of the 1st inning when Josh Bell knocked in Frazier with an RBI double off the left field wall.

Bucs scored again in the 3rd inning in familiar fashion when Dickerson hit a two out double that plated Frazier for the second run of the game.

Padres answered in the top of the 4th inning via timely hitting and shoddy defense. With one out in the inning, Hosmer doubled in Jankowski for the Padres first run. Batting next, Cordero hit a tapper up the first base line that Bell fielded cleanly and glove flipped to Nova, who was covering first base. The flip was on target but Nova dropped the ball, allowing Cordero to reach first safely and Hosmer to reach third. Raffy Lopez followed up by hitting a ground ball to the second baseman, giving the Pirates an opportunity to turn a tough double play to exit the inning… Unfortunately, that was not the case as Frazier bobbled the ball and wound up going to first to get the sure out, thus allowing Hosmer to score from third and tie the game up at 2.

Padres scored their third and final run with two outs in the 6th inning on an Eric Hosmer double with Franchy Cordero singling him home.

The Pirates did not score again but had solid opportunities to push a run across in every inning, from the 6th inning on:

  • 6th: Moran led off with HBP. Meadows singled on a ground ball to left field. Mercer hammered a ball to left field but Cordero ran it down on the track. Wind may have had something to do with that staying in the park… 0 runs
  • 7th: With one out, Polanco was HBP, swiped second, then advanced to third on a ball in the dirt… 0 runs
  • 8th: With two outs, Mercer singled off the pitcher. Literally, off the pitcher(leg). Osuna followed up with another infield hit. Frazier worked a walk to load the bases for Polanco. With Brad Hand in for relief, Polanco grounded into a 6-3 put out… 0 runs
  • 9th: Dickerson led off the inning with a single to left and advanced to second on a misplayed ball by the LF. Bell and S Rod followed up by striking out on a combined 8 pitches… 0 runs

Point being, the Pirates had several opportunities to score late in the game. The bullpen did a phenomenal job keeping them in it - Crick and Rodriguez shut the Padres down with ease over the final three innings.

Pittsburgh has to find a way manufacture runs when presented the opportunity. Bottom of the 9th, Dickerson on second base with no outs is an excellent example of that. Bunt him over to third. Now the pressure is on the pitcher and defense as the tying run is only 90 ft away with less than two outs.

Pittsburgh’s offense will try again tomorrow at 7:05pm EDT.