Joe Musgrove allowed only one hit over seven shutout innings and Josh Bell continued his assault on major league pitching with two more monstrous home runs as the Pirates broke their nine-game losing streak to the Diamondbacks with a 6-2 victory in Phoenix.
After opening the season with five straight solid starts that left his ERA at 1.54, Musgrove had allowed 13 runs in his last two games, driving his ERA all the way up to 4.20. Tonight in Phoenix, the good Musgrove was back as he efficiently sliced through the Arizona lineup, allowing only one hit and two walks in seven innings of work, along with five strikeouts, having thrown just 75 pitches when he was pinch-hit for in the eighth.
The Diamondback’s Luke Weaver had been riding a hot streak, with a 1.82 ERA in his last five starts, and had only allowed one run in his first four innings tonight. That run scored in the third when Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco singled with none out, and then Marte came home on a fielder’s choice at second off Bell’s bat.
Bell added two more RBI in the fifth when Weaver walked Adam Frazier to lead off the inning, and with two outs Bell drove an 0-2 pitch 446 feet to center, into the camera well above the 25 foot high yellow line, his 11th long ball of the year.
Three innings later, against reliever Zach Godley, Bell drove the very next pitch he saw 460 feet into the deepest seats in right-center field. At that point he’d driven in all of the Pirates four runs, giving him 39 RBI in 39 games played so far this year. Bells monopoly on driving in runs only lasted a few more batters until Cole Tucker thrilled his hometown crowd with his second homer of the year. a line drive over the fence in right-center, good for two more runs and a 6-0 Pirates lead.
Bell, who’s batting line now stands at 329/401/692, had one more chance to bat in the ninth, but with two outs and a runner at second the Diamondbacks manager waved Bell down to first base with an intentional walk.
With a healthy lead Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle handed the ball to Richard Rodriguez, who after striking out rookie slugger Christian Walker still managed to surrender his Daily Dinger when Carson Kelly took away the shutout with his opposite field line drive to right.
Hurdle was feeling so confident he then sent Michael Feliz out in the bottom of the ninth to protect a five-run lead. A ground out and a K left him one out away from finishing the game, but singles by David Peralta and Adam Jones plated another run and got Felipe Vazquez to start loosening in the bullpen - but Wilmer Flores went down waving at a 2-2 curve and the night was over.
With the win the Pirates are now 21-18, but have slipped back behind the Cardinals, in fourth place in the National league Central, 4.0 games behind the Cubs.
The three-game series concludes Wednesday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. Eastern as Chris Archer (1-2, 4.33) comes off the
disabled injury list, facing Arizona’s ace Zach Greinke (5-1, 3.16)