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Pirates fall 7-3 in Chad Kuhl’s return

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In this one, the Royals cruised to an easy victory.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost tonight to the Kansas City Royals by a score of 7-3. They are now 20-33 on the season and have the fourth-worst record in MLB.

Chad Kuhl was okay-ish in his first start since returning from injury. Over four innings, he allowed three earned runs on six hits. He struck out five and surprisingly did not walk a batter. He did hit a batter though.

All of the damage done against Kuhl came in the first two innings. In the first, Whit Merrifield led things off with a double. After a wild pitch, he was on third base with no outs. Kuhl came close to exiting the jam unscathed after two strikeouts but ended up allowing an RBI single to Salvador Perez. In the second, Kuhl started the inning by hitting Edward Olivares. Hunter Dozier then hit an RBI double. After that, Kelvin Gutierrez singled in Dozier with a soft ground ball through the right side. The Royals led 3-1 at that point. In the third and fourth innings, Kuhl faced the minimum. He threw 75 total pitches. All in all, I would give him a C+ grade. Three runs in four innings aren't great, but Kuhl was a tad unlucky.

After Kuhl, Duane Underwood Jr. came on in relief. Over three innings, he allowed two earned runs on five hits. The two runs came on one swing when Adalbero Mondesi hit a moon shot into the right-field stands. Other than the tater, Underwood Jr. was pretty effective. In the eighth inning, Luis Oviedo pitched for the first time in over a week. He was not good allowing two earned runs on two hits and a walk. His ERA is now up to 8.10 on the season.

Offensively, the Pirates bats were mostly bland. Adam Frazier doubled in the first inning and eventually scored via a Bryan Reynolds groundout. Jacob Stalling singled in Kevin Newman in the third. In the eighth, Reynolds blasted his seventh home run of the season to dead center. Don’t look now, but he is hitting .286/.387/.489 on the year in 212 plate appearances. He is also on pace to have an fWAR of just under six. Come July, he should be a shoo-in to be an All-Star. Don’t get it twisted, Reynolds is a part of this team’s future core.

But yeah, as a whole, the Pirates recorded just six hits on the night. Mike Minor did a nice job of deadening the Pirates’ bats in his start. He went six innings giving up two earned on five hits. He struck out seven and walked one. This was a comfortable win for the Royals who are once again a .500 ballclub (26-26).

Tomorrow night, the Pirates will attempt to split the series. Wil Crowe (0-3, 5.67 ERA) gets the start and will oppose Brady Singer (2-4 4.91 ERA). That game starts at 8:10 pm.