The Pirates’ offense continued to spin its wheels Wednesday as they wasted another quality start, losing to the Braves 2-1. The Bucs only scored two runs over the course of the three game Atlanta sweep.
“I can’t look any of the hitters in the eyes and not see fight, not see want to, not see effort and all those other things,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s tough sledding right now.”
Starter Trevor Williams made only one mistake on the night, and it came during the first batter of the game when Ronald Acuna drove a hanging changeup for a home run. After that, he settled in to six innings of one run ball, only allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four. He moved his fastball around the zone all night, resulting in seven whiffs on 49 four-seamers.
Williams threw 14 first pitch strikes to his 22 batters faced and retired 10 on three pitches or fewer.
Over his last seven starts, Williams has allowed just 4 runs in 42 innings (0.86 ERA).
“Cervy [catcher Francisco Cervelli] and I have gotten on the same page and we’ve been rolling,” Williams said.
The Pirates scraped together their only run of the night when Colin Moran rolled a single into right field, plating Adam Frazier in the fifth. That was the only blemish on starter Julio Teheran’s night, who went seven innings of two hit ball, striking out five to improve to 9-7 on the year.
Kyle Crick (2-2) struggled in the eighth, allowing a hit and walking two without getting an out. Reliever Edgar Santana did his best to minimize the damage, but a one out fly ball by Freddie Freeman scored Adam Duvall and gave Atlanta a 2-1 edge.
The Pirates got Josh Bell to third base in the eighth, but pinch-hitter David Freese struck out to end the scoring threat. In the ninth, Gregory Polanco ripped a two out line drive off the top of the Clemente Wall, but wound up being stranded at second base.
Jonny Venters picked up his second save of the season.
Pirates director of sports medicine Tom Tomczyk met with media to talk about rehabbing Pirates. Here are the highlights:
The Pirates are in final conversations on what the next steps are for getting Sean Rodriguez (abdomen) back to game activity...Jung-Ho Kang (left wrist) is cleared to resume “all gripping type activities.” The short term goal for this week is to get him to grab a bat this week. The Pirates are optimistic he will get some “meaningful at-bats” at either AAA or the majors before the season is through...Chad Kuhl (right elbow) is playing catching on a flat surface and is throwing out to 90 feet. He has been responding very well so far to his throwing program, and they are encouraged about him pitching “meaningful innings” this season...Chris Archer (left leg discomfort) was taken out early in his last start Monday as a precautionary measure. He is expected to make his next start on Sunday...Jordy Mercer (left calf) is fielding ground balls and taking full swings. He is not cleared to sprint yet, but he is getting closer...A.J. Schugel (right shoulder) and Nick Burdi (right elbow) are continuing their rehab assignments in AAA...Also in minor league news, Ke’Bryan Hayes, who recently tripped out of the box and landed on his left shoulder, is viewed as day-to-day with what is believed to be just a contusion, but they are still early in the process of determining how serious it may be.
The Pirates are off Thursday before heading to Milwaukee for a three game series. Joe Musgrove (5-7, 3.31) will face Wade Miley (2-2, 2.18) at 8:10 p.m. Eastern Time.
1. Williams has a 2.56 ERA after the All-Star Game over the last two seasons (112.1 IP, 32 ER). Among pitchers who have pitched at least 100 innings after the break the last two years, only Corey Kluber (2.03), Max Scherzer (2.48) and Justin Verlander (2.50) have a better ERA.
2. The Pirates entered this homestand 39-21 in games where their starting pitcher goes 6+ innings. They got such performances in six games this homestand, but went just 2-4.
3. It was a binary night for the Pirates offense, posting only 0s and 1s for runs and hits per inning. If you take the Runs/Hits for the first eight innings and put it in a binary translator, it converts to “Ä”. So yes, the Pirates offense did bring their Ä game.