Joe Musgrove was on his game, pitching a shutout into the seventh inning with a comfortable lead, but after Musgrove existed in that inning a trio of relievers watched eight runs cross the plate as Arizona pounded the pen en route to a 9-5 win.
The Pirates were on the board quickly in the first as Starling Marte lined a double to left with two outs and scored when David Freese’s ball bounced off first baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s glove for an error.
Musgrove rode that 1-0 lead until the fifth, allowing only a pair of singles and hit batter as both he and Diamondbacks’ starter Patrick Corbin induced many soft grounders between swings and misses.
It was in that fifth when things fell apart for Corbin. Josh Bell led off with a four pitch walk and went to third on Jordy Mercer’s double to right. After Musgrove struck out, Josh Harrison was sent to first on a free pass to load the bases - but the Bucs scored four times on two pitches as Austin Meadows ripped a double down the left field line and Marte singled up the middle.
In the seventh Arizona reliever Braden Shipley hit Josh Harrison with a fastball to the back of his left shoulder, which would force Harrison from the game an inning later. Two pitches later another fastball came in high and tight to the left-hand hitting Austin Meadows. The Pirates were retired without further incident but Musgrove retaliated as the first pitch of the bottom of the inning was a fastball to the thigh of Chris Owings. Up 5-0, on only Musgrove’s 80th pitch of the night, it seemed safe enough, and event that barely made a blip on the Pirates’ win expectancy.
But then Owings went to second on a wild pitch and scored the home team’s first run on Nick Ahmed’s single to left-center. After the relief pitcher batted but reached on third baseman David Freese’s throwing error, Musgrove’s night was done, but the midnight horror show had just begun.
Daniel Descalso grounded Edgar Santana’s first pitch into right field for an RBI single making the score 5-2. Goldschmidt, Arizona’s biggest bat, struck out swinging, but the lefty-swinging Jake Lamb lifted a fly ball to the first row of seats in the opposite field in left to knot the score at five.
Pirates’ fans had late night visions of extra innings, but the Pirates’ next reliever Kyle Crick quickly turdled that idea. Ketel Marte started off with a single and Owings walked. With Ahmed squared to bunt Pirates’ catcher threw behind the runner at second in a pick-off attempt, but Marte ran to third, stealing the base in a decision upheld by review. A wild pitch broke the tie, scoring Marte and then a balk sent Owings from second to third. He held there as Ahmed grounded put with the infield drawn in, but when Dovydas Neverauskus then relieved he walked Jon Jay and served up a triple to Descalso, and then yet another wild pitch allowed him to score.
And that was all she wrote. The Pirates haven’t won consecutive games since sometime last month as their record falls to 32-34, 7.5 games behind the now first place Cubs. Game two of the series will be at 9:40 pm Eastern on Tuesday as the scuffling Trevor Williams (5-3, 4.18) faces the not-dead-yet Clay Buchholz (1-1, 1.88 in four starts)