Three Pittsburgh Pirates were in the starting lineup on Thursday night. Alen Hanson was at the top of the order, playing shortstop. Alex Dickerson was in left field, batting clean-up. Gift Ngoepe was at second base and batting in the nine hole.
Leading off the game, Alen Hanson hit a hard one-hopper right at the second baseman for the first out. In the third inning, he grounded out to first base. Hanson led off the fifth and drove the ball to the opposite field warning track for a long out. In the seventh inning, Hanson flew out to deep right-center field. He hit the ball good three times but had nothing to show for it.
Alex Dickerson came up in the first with a man on first base and two outs. The runner moved to second base on a wild pitch before Dickerson grounded out sharply to second base for the final out of the inning. Leading off the fourth inning, Dickerson scorched a double down the right field line. He scored the first run for the Scorpions, coming home on a single three batters later.
In the fifth, Dickerson came up with his team down 3-1, two men in scoring position and one out. He singled hard to left field, scoring one run, but the second runner was cut down at home. Leading off the eighth inning, Dickerson was called out on three straight strikes.
Gift Ngoepe led of the third inning with a bloop to center field that the shortstop made a nice running over-the-shoulder catch on. Ngoepe batted in the fourth with his team trailing 3-1, with two men on and two outs. He flew out to left field on the second pitch to end the inning. Ngoepe grounded out to second base to end the sixth inning. He came up with two outs and no one on in the ninth inning, looking to get on base to give Alen Hanson a chance to tie the game. Ngoepe wasn’t able to get on base, striking out for the final out. He is now 3-for-41 on the season, though he still hasn’t made an error this AFL season.
Tyler Waldron came to pitch the fourth inning. He got the first hitter to fly out to center field. The next batter was called out on a 93 MPH fastball on the outside corner. Waldron got the last batter out on a grounder to Alen Hanson. He threw 13 pitches in the inning, eight for strikes.
In the fifth, Waldron gave up a triple to straight away center field on the first pitch. With the infield in against the next batter, Waldron got a grounder to Alen Hanson that he couldn’t handle for his first error since October 15th. The next hitter lined a single to left field that put runners on the corners. Waldron got the first out on a swinging strikeout. While the next batter was up, the runner on first base stole second. Waldron got the second out on a line drive right to third base, then got out of the inning while allowing just one run by getting a second straight line drive to third base.
Waldron’s two innings were drastically different, looking great in the first and he was hit hard in the second inning. He threw a lot of strikes in the second inning, with 11 of his 13 pitches in the zone.
Tomorrow’s game will be televised live on the MLB Network at 9 PM EST.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.