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Bullpen Collapses Again, Pirates Can’t Complete Sweep Of Rangers

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the back end of the Pirates bullpen unavailable, the Texas Rangers were able to mount a late comeback to beat the Bucs 9-6 Wednesday afternoon, earning a split in the two game set.

The Pirates took a 6-2 lead into the top of the eighth, but Michael Feliz created a jam for himself by walking the bases loaded. The Rangers cashed in by pinch-hitting Hunter Pence, who hit the left field foul pole to tie the game at six.

In the ninth, Nomar Mazara beat an off the line relay by shortstop Kevin Newman to score the go-ahead run against Tyler Lyons (1-1). Roughned Odor tacked on a two out, two run shot to give Texas some breathing room.

Kyle Crick was unavailable for the Pirates after pitching three of the past four days, per Clint Hurdle. Felipe Vazquez, who also has gone three of the last four, was only going to enter in a save situation.

“After pitching three out of four games, this wouldn’t have been a day we would have pushed him,” Hurdle said of Vazquez. “Especially a day game after a night game.”

The bullpen had already relied on Francisco Liriano for an inning and Richard Rodriguez for two. Nick Kingham went four innings of two run ball in his first start of the season.

“I can only do what I can do,” Kingham said about going four innings. “I’m going to go out there and go as deep as I can, whether it’s one inning, two innings or five innings. You can’t ask for much more than what a person’s capable of.”

Josh Bell went 2-4 with a home run and a double. Gregory Polanco had a two run single in the fifth, and Colin Moran hit a pinch-hit home run in the sixth.

Mammoth Home Runs

For the first time in PNC Park history, two home runs reached the Allegheny River. The first came from Joey Gallo: a 443 footer that reached the river on the hop.

The second came from Josh Bell in the fourth, traveling 472 feet.. He joins Daryle Ward, Garret Jones and Pedro Alvarez as the only players to ever put it in the river on the fly.

“I think I hit a couple on the bounce, but I never really thought about getting it in the air,” Bell said. “I knew that if I connected that way, it was a possibility. It’s awesome to have finally done it.”

Bell’s home run is the 50th to ever reach the river.

From The Trainer’s Room

Before the game, Tom Tomczyk met with the media to give updates on players injury statuses. Here are the notes.

Hitters: There is no time table for Corey Dickerson’s return (shoulder), but Tomczyk said he could potentially restart his throwing program today… Lonnie Chisenhall (calf) is running the bases again… Jacob Stallings (neck) will be cleared to catch back-to-back nine inning games soon… Oneil Cruz has an injury to a bone at the bottom of his foot. He is scheduled to return to full baseball activities in a month.

Pitchers: Nick Burdi has been re-diagnosed with a nerve injury. His UCL/elbow are in tact. He will be shut down through the first week in June and then reassessed. At this time, surgery is not recommended… Chris Archer (thumb) will pitch a sim game Friday in St. Louis. There is no word of if he would need to make another sim or rehab start before he could be activated… The second option on Taillon’s UCL confirmed there is no structural damage... Keone Kela was placed on the 10 day injury list with right shoulder inflammation moments after the game. The stint is retroactive to May 6.

On Deck

The Pirates will embark an 11 game road trip Thursday, with the first stop in St. Louis. Joe Musgrove (1-3, 2.63) will try to bounce back after his first bad start of 2019 against Michael Wacha (2-0, 5.17) at 7:45 p.m. eastern time.

NUMB3RS

1. Bell is the first player in baseball this season to hit three home runs 450+ feet, per Baseball Savant.

2. Melky Cabrera is batting .447 (17-38) during his 12 game hitting streak. He had pair of singles in four at-bats Wednesday. Bell is hitting .387 (12-31) with six doubles and three homers during his eight game hitting streak.

3. The Pirates have gone 8-0-2 in their last 10 home series against AL teams.