The Pirates’ collapsening offense had another miserable day, getting dominated by Bryse Wilson, in his first major league game, and a less-than-imposing Braves’ bullpen. Their pathetic effort wasted yet another fine, if hardly dominant, effort by their pitching staff, this time against the NL’s best offense. The result was the team’s third 1-0 loss in five days.
In search of his first good game as a Pirate, Chris Archer did not get off to a good start. After two quick outs in the first, Archer began a pattern of getting two strikes and then struggling to put the hitter away. The result was a bunch of full counts — five, including the pitcher, in the first three innings — and two-strike hits. Two of the latter came in the first, a double and a single to produce the game’s only run. By the end of the third, Archer was up to 64 pitches.
Archer finally had a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, although Gregory Polanco had to throw out Wilson — who’d taken Archer to another full count — at first on an apparent base hit to right. Archer departed for Steven Brault after four innings and 76 pitches. He left due to a gimpy ankle that occurred during his at-bat in the third.
Meanwhile, the Braves’ newbie breezed through the Pirates’ struggling lineup. He gave up two singles in the second, but an intervening . . . you guessed it . . . double play prevented any threat from developing. The Pirates had another chance in the fifth, when a double by Adeiny Hechavarria and a walk to Brault put two on with one out but, of course, Corey Dickerson grounded into a double play.
The Pirates’ bullpen did their job. Brault managed two scoreless innings, although Edgar Santana had to rescue him in the seventh after the first two hitters reached. Kyle Crick and Keone Kela each contributed a scoreless inning.
The Pirates’ dismal offense, though, rendered all the fine mound work pointless once again. Wilson’s departure after five innings did the Pirates no good. They wasted a one-out double by Polanco in the sixth. They piled on still more frustration in the seventh, as Adeiny Hechavarria was thrown out trying to score from second on a two-out single by Dickerson.
In the ninth, the Pirates got a leadoff single from Francisco Cervelli. David Freese and Starling Marte managed only to get Joe Musgrove, Cervelli’s pinch runner, to second, but Hechavarria fanned to end the game. The Pirates finished 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. In their last six games, they’re 5-for-45 in such situations.