In a game marked by TOOTBLANs and outright questionable reviews, the Pirates managed to take the Cleveland Indians into an extra inning, only to lose 6-3 in the tenth inning as a result of one of the said questionable reviews.
Carlos Santana’s left field shot off Sam Howard was so murky as to being fair or foul that Santana himself didn’t think it was fair—until an umpire told him to keep running. It was only after a three-minute crew chief review that it was judged a home run, much to the delight of the Indians and the indignation of the Bucs. It also scored Cesar Hernandez and Francisco Lindor, the former the extra-inning runner and the latter having been plunked by Howard. The Pirates did have a chance to come back in the bottom of the tenth, with Josh Bell staked at second base and Bryan Reynolds’s single but, as was the theme of the game, they were stranded as Gregory Polanco and Erik Gonzalez struck out swinging against Tribe reliever Brad Hand.
The game actually started out pretty decently for the Bucs. Starter JT Brubaker managed to pitch out of a jam that was caused by his walk of Lindor and an Adam Frazier error at second base that allowed Santana on first. Kevin Newman, who’s swinging one of the few hot bats for the Pirates, doubled off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, went to third on Bell’s groundout, and came home on Colin Moran’s single to give the Buccos a 2-0 lead.
Brubaker got into another jam in the top of the third inning, again with walks to Jose Ramirez and Lindor after dishing up a single to Hernandez. Santana singled Ramirez and Hernandez home, then Franmil Reyes sacrificed to score Lindor to make it 3-2 for the Indians. Although Derek Shelton and Oscar Marin had planned to let Brubaker go past the third inning, it was decided to bring in Derek Holland, who pitched two scoreless innings.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, there was what’s sadly become a rarity—a timely Josh Bell hit. Frazier singled to start the inning and Newman walked, then a wild pitch by Carrasco advanced both of them into scoring position. Bell hit a line drive to right field and brought both runners home to tie the game.
The Bucs stirred again in the ninth inning after Keone Kela pitched a 1-2-3. Jarrod Dyson singled, then advanced to second on a Jacob Stallings sacrifice bunt. Frazier was attempting another bunt when Indians catcher Roberto Perez suddenly double-pumped and threw to second. Dyson appeared to beat the tag with his left hand, but a review ruled otherwise. Newman, who went 3 for 4 in the game, hit a single that would have brought Dyson home (grr), then Bell struck out, stranding two more runners in what would be eleven total left on base by the Bucs.
The Pirates could have easily won this game. Carrasco wasn’t that great and if a couple of players (BELL) could have been more patient, a couple of runs could have been walked in. Get on that, Shelty.