The Pittsburgh Pirates offense scored 10 runs for the second night in a row, resulting in consecutive victories for the first time since July 7th, the day before the All-Star Break. The Angels pitching continues to struggle, as they have now lost 9 of 11 games after falling 10-7 to the Buccos on Tuesday night.
Things started off well for the Halos and poorly for right-handed Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams, as the Angels scored three runs in the first inning and one run in the second, with young phenom Shohei Ohtani doing most of the damage. The lefty DH had an RBI double in the first frame and followed it up with an RBI triple in the second.
The Pirates top of the order battled back though, as Adam Frazier led off the third inning with a single, Bryan Reynolds followed with a knock of his own, and after a Starling Marte flyout, Josh Bell hit an RBI single to right field that ended up scoring Reynolds as well and moved Bell to third on a throwing error from the pitcher Griffin Canning, who was trying to stop Bell from taking an extra base. Colin Moran then doubled home Bell to tie the game 3-3 after two and a half innings.
Williams couldn’t quite find his groove in the bottom of the third, as he walked the first two men, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols. After striking out Matt Thaiss, he allowed an RBI single to Luis Rengifo, and the Angels were back on top. Williams did induce a double play to limit the damage, and he settled down from that point on, pitching clean fourth and fifth innings before coming out of the game in favor of Michael Feliz heading into the 6th. It was good to see Williams finish five frames after a rough few innings to start, giving the Pirates a chance to score enough runs for a victory, but he’ll be the first to tell you that he needs to pitch better if this rotation is going to be chasing a playoff spot at this time in 2020.
Meanwhile, the middle of the Pirates order was slowly showing signs of life, as they inflicted some more damage in the top of the fifth inning. Marte singled to lead it off, and Bell hit a towering opposite field shot for his 31st homer and 98th RBI of the season. Moran and Jose Osuna followed suit with a single and an RBI double respectively, and Pablo Reyes later drove in Osuna. After the four-run fifth inning, the Pirates were up 7-5.
The Pirates tacked on in the next two innings, as Osuna followed a couple of walks and a single with a sacrifice fly to score Reynolds in the sixth. Then, in the seventh, a Frazier double scored Reyes (Frazier was thrown out at third on the play), and Reynolds followed with his 13th homer of the season, putting the Pirates up 10-5. Reynolds would later single in the ninth inning, making him 3-for-4 on the night with a walk, and jumping his average up to an NL-leading .338. While other powerful hitters might steal his thunder for Rookie of the Year, what this young switch-hitter is doing at the plate is an amazing surprise. We still have about a month and a half to go, but a rookie has never won the National League Batting Title, and the last Pirate to do it was Freddy Sanchez in 2006 (knock on wood).
The Angels scored a couple of runs off of reliever Clay Holmes in the bottom of the ninth, but Felipe Vazquez came on to close it, and with one pitch he induced a game-ending double play for his 22nd save of the season.
The Bucs will look to finish off the sweep (yes, you read that correctly) on Wednesday night at 8:07 pm Eastern in Los Angeles. Chris Archer takes the mound for the Pirates, and he’ll be looking for his third consecutive quality start against Angels lefty Dillon Peters.