Tonight the Pirates were set to begin a normal three game series with division rival, the Chicago Cubs; this was until the announcement was made late in the day yesterday that Pittsburgh’s #2 Prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Ke’Bryan Hayes would be joining the club once they returned to PNC Park. This caused pandemonium to echo throughout Pirates Twitter, causing the fans to completely forget the disappointing trade deadline and the 10-22 record that they had coming into the game, at least for a moment.
As the game began Chad Kuhl took the mound for the Pirates in his fifth start of the season, with his first one coming on August 7th. During that time he has steadily increased his workload, maxing out at 6 innings this past Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cardinals. On the year Kuhl had posted a 2.50 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 25 innings with 20 strikeouts.
Kuhl’s outing did not start out on the best foot as Ian Happ took his second pitch of the night over the right centerfield wall for a home run. In the second inning Kuhl found himself in a bit of trouble and walked in Wilson Contreras for the Cubs second run of the game. Fortunately he was able to escape by striking out the next batter and inducing a groundout, bringing an end to Chicago’s threat. Kuhl would finally settle down in the 3rd, retiring the Cubs in order. In the 4th he appeared to have gotten himself out of another potential jam with a double play, but ended up surrendering another run on an single by Jason Kipnis. Chad would make it into the 5th inning, but would eventually be pulled from the game after giving up a leadoff single.
Kuhl’s replacement was Tyler Bashlor, who was unable to strand the inherited runner and actually end up conceding 3 total runs because of a double from Javier Baez, followed up by Kyle Schwarber’s tenth home run of the season; putting the Pirates behind by a score of 6-1.
Opposing Kuhl for the Cubs was the veteran lefty, Jon Lester. In his previous start against the Pirates back on August 2nd, Lester had given up only one run in 6 innings while striking out 4 Pittsburgh batters. Since then he had only struggled in one start, which was against the South Side Sox; and honestly who hasn’t experienced trouble with that lineup lately.
Lester, after having given up a double to Colin Moran to begin the second inning was unable to stop him from scoring on an Adam Frazier groundout. In the bottom of the 6th the Pirates would finally get to Lester again as Hayes picked up his first Major League hit, a double, which brought in Pittsburgh’s second run. Next up was Frazier with a single, followed by Osuna with a double, which produced two additional runs and lead to Lester’s removal from the game. His replacement, Colin Rea, would allow a sacrifice fly from Erik Gonzalez. At the end of six the Pirates had crept back into the game and only trailed by one, 6-5.
Then came the rain, delaying the game for over an hour. When the weather finally subsided, Pirates fans were rejuvenated by Hayes’ second hit of his career, a home run to straight away centerfield to tie the game at six a piece, which is the way it would remain until extra innings and that silly runner on second would come into play.
Chris Stratton would come in to start the 10th and allow the potential winning run to score on sacrifice fly, while giving up only one hit. The Pirates matched the Cubs on a similar set of circumstances in the bottom of the inning and we all moved on to the 11th. Ian Happ would lead off with a single off of Kyle Crick, bringing in the go-ahead run. Jeremy Jeffress came into to face the Pirates; striking out two with an intentional walk to Josh Bell mixed in as Chicago outlasted Pittsburgh by a score of 8-7.
The Pirates will look to get back on track against the Cubs tomorrow night at 7:05 EST. For Pittsburgh Joe Musgrove is scheduled take the hill for the first time since August 4th after being placed on the IL for right triceps inflammation.