On Monday night, up until the bottom of the 6th inning the Pirates seemed to have everything firing exactly the way they wanted it to; Cole Tucker homered to lead off the game, base knocks were bringing in runners and Derek Holland had it in cruise control. Then everything began to fail and what looked like certain victory turned into agonizing defeat. After only a few hours to wallow in our sorrows and complain as much as we could, the Buccos were back on the field to take on the Twins in a rare Tuesday afternoon matinee at Target Field with Big Joe on the mound, trying to get Pittsburgh back on track.
In his previous two outings Musgrove had made some crucial errors, allowing two home runs in each contest. However he gave the Pirates a fighting chance; giving up only three runs both times while striking out 15 total batters and finishing one out from a quality start both times. As he took the mound today, I was expecting more of the same. Unfortunately I couldn’t have been more wrong as he surrendered three runs in the first inning and an additional one in the second. After 84 pitches and loading the bases again in the 4th Musgrove’s day was finally over, but the damage wasn’t done as Sam Howard let one more run cross the plate. It should be noted that it could have easily been two if it wasn’t for yet another outfield assist by Bryan Reynolds to get Jorge Polanco at home. At the end of the day his final line for the game was an extremely disappointing 5 earned runs on 6 hits, 5 walks and only 2 strikeouts.
During the time that Musgrove was getting roughed up and knocked around the Pirates bats stayed fairly quiet as the accumulated only one run thanks to a triple from Reynolds and a follow up sac fly by Gregory Polanco. Then they went silent again until the 9th, which seems to be a pattern for this year’s Pirates. The 3 for 5 Phillip Evans and the 3 for 4 Erik Gonzalez were a part of this final charge, but once again it was too little to late because the Twins had expanded on their 5-1 lead by working Nick Turley for two runs in the 5th and the Pirates fell to the Twins for the second day in a row by a score of 7-3.
They will look to put an end to this 6 game skid as Trevor Williams (0-2) takes the mound against righty Randy Dobnak (1-1), back at the friendly confines of PNC Park, Wednesday at 7:05 EST.