The legend of John Nogowski continued to grow Sunday, as he delivered a two-out, game-tying single in the ninth inning before scoring what proved to be the winning run in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-5 victory over the stunned New York Mets Sunday at Citi Field in New York.
The come-from-behind win enabled the Bucs to salvage a split of their four-game series with the Mets, and it left them with a 34-56 record heading into the four-day All-Star break. They’ll resume play at PNC Park Friday against the same Mets at 7:05 p.m.
The Pirates’ game-tying rally in the ninth started when Kevin Newman doubled with one out and moved to third on Bryan Reynolds’ grounder to second. Nogowski then singled to center, scoring Newman, and after the big first baseman moved to third on Ben Gamel’s base hit, he scored on Wilmer Difo’s ground single to left.
Nogowski finished with two hits, giving him 14 in his first seven games as a Pirate.
Richard Rodriguez came on to nail down the win in the bottom of the ninth.
The outcome seemed most unlikely after the first inning, when the Metropolitans jumped on Pirates starter Chase De Jong for five runs.
Brandon Nimmo doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and Francisco Lindor followed with his 11th homer of the season to make it 2-0.
De Jong then sandwiched a pair of walks around a pop out, and Michael Conforto delivered a three-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 5-0.
The Bucs got back-to-back homers in the fifth, with Rodolfo Castro going deep and Michael Perez following with his sixth round-tripper of the season to make it 5-2.
Castro pulled the Pirates even closer the next inning, as he followed a two-out walk to Difo by taking a Jeurys Familia pitch over the left-center field fence to trim the Mets’ lead to 5-4.
Castro’s first three hits in the big leagues all have been home runs.
NOTES – Pirates prospect Carmen Mlodzinski, rated the organization’s No. 11 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, removed himself from his start Saturday night for High-A Greensboro with two outs in the fourth inning.
General Manager Ben Cherington, on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan Sunday, said that Mlodzinski “felt a little stiffness. We don’t think it’s anything serious. More precautionary.”
Cherington said Mlodzinski would be checked Sunday “and we’ll see where he’s at.”
Cherington noted that it’s Mlodzinski’s first year of professional ball and those first-year players are playing more than they’ve ever played before, or certainly more than they did during the 2020 season.
“We’re trying to be cautious with guys and catch things early when we can,” Cherington said.
Mlodzinski allowed one hit and an earned run but walked four and struck out three before exiting Saturday’s game.
Mlodzinski was the 31st overall pick in the 2020 June draft out of the University of South Carolina. He started the current season very strong; in his first five starts covering 21 1/3 innings, he gave up just two earned runs and 13 hits in 21 1/3 innings. He walked seven and struck out 31 during that stretch.
In his four starts since then, however, Mlodzinski surrendered 10 earned runs and 14 hits in 19 2/3 innings to go with seven walks and 23 strikeouts.
Elsewhere, Cherington said minor league first baseman Will Craig is exploring opportunities in Asia and that’s why he was not in the lineup for Triple-A Indianapolis Saturday. “We’ll see where it goes,” Cherington said.
Pirates left-hander Steven Brault, sidelined all season after straining a lat muscle during spring training, made his first rehab start Sunday and went 1 2/3 innings for Low-A Bradenton. Brault allowed one hit and no runs while walking two and striking out three on 39 pitches, 25 of which were strikes.
Aug 13 1998