Pittsburgh made things interesting in the 9th inning.
Entering the frame trailing 4-1 with Padres’ closer on the mound, Elias Diaz led off the inning with a double to left on an 0-2 count. Austin Meadows followed it up with the same thing, plating Diaz. The next batter, Polanco tripled to right field, scoring Meadows and leaving the tying run on third base with no outs. With a full count, Mercer flew out to very shallow right field which was unable to score Polanco on the play.
Jose Osuna came in to pinch hit with one out and the pitcher’s spot up in the lineup. On a 1-1 count, Osuna lifted a fly ball to foul territory down the right field. Padres’ right fielder, Hunter Renfroe, managed to track it down and make the catch before colliding with the wall, spinning, and firing the ball back towards home.
But, to everyone’s surprise, Polanco was not tagging on the play. Polanco was 15 feet down the line at the time the ball was caught, leaving out the possibility of scoring on a sacrifice fly.
The Pirates still had one more chance to score Polanco from third base with Marte batting, but he struck out to end the game, securing the unfortunate 4-3 loss.
The unfortunate thing is, there was really no reason for Polanco not be tagging on that play. Even more so considering the ball was in foul territory. Standing on third base with less than two outs, you have to be ready to score on a fly ball. This was clearly a mental lapse by Polanco and the third base coach.
Here’s how the rest of the scoring went:
The Padres kicked off the scoring in the second when Villanueva doubled to left, Pirela followed up with a single, and Galvis knocked in Villanueva while grounading into a force out.
They stayed on the offensive in the third when Wil Myers homered to right field.
Wil Myers got in on the action again in the 5th inning. After Hedges and Szczur walked and Jankowski got down a sacrifice bunt, Will Myers lined a double into left field, scoring two more runs.
The Pirates scored their first run of the day when Freese doubled with Harrison on first, bringing him around to third, and Diaz knocked him in one a ground out to short.
Pittsburgh struck again in the 9th inning but ultimately fell short (outlined above).
The Bucs are set to do it again today at 4:10pm ET while sending Taillon to the mound to face Tyson Ross.