Pirates head into an off day after losing the series to the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was a tale of two Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staffs.
Zach Thompson started the game and threw four innings of shutout baseball. He allowed three hits, a walk, and struck out five batters. He was pitching on four days rest, so he was pulled after throwing 62 pitches with 42 of them going for strikes.
Thompson wouldn’t have qualified for the win pitching only four innings, but he left the game with a lead after Ben Gamel hit a two out home run to right center field in the top of the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead.
Manny Banuelos pitching on back-to-back days came in for the fifth inning where things started to get ugly. With one out and a runner on 1B after a walk, Banuelos got Christian Yelich to hit a groundball into the shift where Ke’Bryan Hayes ranged to his left to field it. He went to tag 2B before throwing to 1B for a double play but unfortunately forgot the baseball for his 12th error of the season. This would prove costly as Willy Adames came up and hit a double that Gamel attempted to dive for (even though he wasn’t particularly close) but dropped in for a run-scoring double to make it 1-1.
In the sixth inning Miguel Yajure — who was just promoted earlier in the day — replaced Banuelos. He got lead off hitter Keston Hiura to hit a groundball to Oneil Cruz, but he threw wide of 1B, allowing Hiura to advance to second. After the runner moved to third on a groundout, Yajure got Omar Narvaez to hit a groundball to a drawn in Kevin Newman who bobbled the ball initially allowing Hiura to score the go-ahead run while Newman got the easy out at first.
Yajure returned for the seventh inning. Even though he was showing increased velocity with his fastball — touching 95.6MPH — Miguel’s command began to falter. He struck out Rowdy Tellez to begin the inning before Hunter Renfroe hit a hard single to left field. Bucco Killer Kolten Wong followed the single up by walking on five pitches. Hiura then hit a hotshot to Cruz that he couldn’t field cleanly and deflected to center field for a RBI single (wouldn’t be surprised if it’s eventually changed to an error). Yajure gave up another run before leaving as his final line would end up being 1.1 IP with five runs allowed but only four earned.
Yohan Ramirez replaced Yajure and from the get-go also did not display strong command on the evening. Ramirez walked the first three batters he faced pushing two more runs across the plate to make it 6-1 and then got the next two batters out to finish his evening with 0.2 IP while allowing both runners he inherited to score.
Robert Stephenson made his Pirates debut in the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless inning with a strike out and one hit allowed. He threw 16 pitches with 11 of them being strikes. A 4-Seam Fastball that sat 98 MPH and a Slider that averaged 84.4 MPH. They were 15 of his 16 pitches with only one Curveball thrown.
Nothing much else happened as the Pirates offense went down quietly 6-1. Newman did raise his OPS to over .700 by going 2-for-4 with a single and a double.
Now for the discussion part. The rosters expand from 26 to 28 as of today.
Who are the two players you would personally like to see be called up for the final month of the season?