The Pittsburgh Pirates had their opportunities to take the rubber match win in extra innings against the in-state rival Philadelphia Phillies, but the end result was a 2-1 loss at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon. Both starting pitchers showed impressive command and “stuff” throughout the day despite a brief rain delay in the top of the fourth inning. The bullpens were outstanding too, and the Phillies were finally able to score their second and the winning run in the top of the 11th inning.
The first run of the game came early, as Kevin Newman doubled off of lefty Drew Smyly to lead off the bottom of the first inning for Pittsburgh. Melky Cabrera would single on a line drive to left field with two outs to put the Bucs up 1-0.
The Phillies struck in the top of the fourth inning when right-handed starter Dario Agrazal walked Bryce Harper to lead off the inning. Harper would hustle to second base on a long fly out by Rhys Hoskins to put himself into scoring position. Then, after a 30-minute rain delay, Cesar Hernandez hit a hard, two-out ground ball through the shift to bring Harper home and tie the game 1-1.
It would remain quiet for the next few innings outside of a strange situation in the top of the sixth inning when a fan wandered down the third base line and appeared to try shaking the home plate umpire and Brad Miller’s hands. He was calmly escorted off the field and handcuffed by PNC Park police.
Starling Marte led off the bottom of that inning with what looked like a soft double to the left center field gap. But upon review, the umpries reversed the call, finding that Marte came off the bag for a split second while Scott Kingery was still applying the tag.
Agrazal exited the game after the sixth inning, but not before putting together yet another great outing. His final line came to one run on three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. He did it all effectively, leaving the game with just 93 total pitches. Smyly matched the PIrates starter the whole way, putting together a very similar line in his own six innings, but adding in a few more strikeouts.
Both bullpens excelled in this one too, keeping the game at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Marte and Colin Moran were both hit by pitches and pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson was intentionally walked to load the bases. Elias Diaz was nearly the hero, but his hard hit, two-out line drive was caught by left fielder NIck Williams to send us into extra innings.
All signs pointed to a walk-off win again in the bottom of the 10th inning when Adam Frazier led off with a double and Newman successfully bunted him to third, but Bryan Reynolds struck out for the fourth time in the game with one out and Marte grounded out to third to send us to the eleventh inning.
Chris Stratton was pitching well until Hoskins followed a Harper strikeout with a solo shot to left field in the top of the 11th. Stratton would clean up the rest of the inning, but Bell, Jacob Stallings, and Moran couldn’t get it done against lefty Ranger Suarez despite a one out single from Cabrera. The Bucs ultimately drop a dissapointing game in what could’ve been a win a couple different times.
The Pirates will get right back to it on Monday night, as they welcome their division rival St. Louis Cardinals to PNC Park at 7:05 pm Eastern to start a four-game series. St. Louis won the series 2-1 at home last week, and they’re coming off a 3-1 series win in Cincinnati over the weekend. Pittsburgh has not announced their plan for a Monday starter yet. The Cards will send right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon to the hill.