The last time the Pirates faced off against the White Sox two weeks ago they were no-hit by Lucas Giolito in the first game and blown out in the second by a score of 10-3 as Trevor Williams allowed 8 runs on 9 hits, three of them being home runs, in 6 innings of work. Since that time the Pittsburgh has played near .500 ball, accumulating 6 wins and 7 losses. Chicago on the other hand has gone 7-3 and are currently riding a 4 game winning streak coming into tonight’s contest, which has propelled them to the top of the AL Central.
On the mound for the surging White Sox was former top prospect, Dylan Cease. After starting the year on a sour note in the team’s second series of the season against Cleveland, Cease had steadily improved up until his last outing versus the Royals this past Thursday. He did earn the win, but allowed three runs on four hits in five innings, while striking out a season low of one batter. Opposing him for the Pirates would be the big righty, Joe Musgrove. Since returning on September 2nd after having spent almost a full month on the the IL with right tricep inflammation, Musgrove has only had the opportunity to pitch in one shortened appearance. Clearly on a pitch count, Big Joe gave up two hits to lead off top of the fourth without recording an out and was promptly removed from the game, ultimately being charged with those runs when Nick Tropeano gave up a three run homer to Javier Baez. However, through the first three innings he looked to have all of his pitches working for him as he struck out four batters and walked none.
As the game began there was some level of concern as Musgrove started this outing the same way his last one ended when he gave up a lead off double to Tim Anderson. However, he was able to settle things down by striking out the next two batters and getting the third to hit a grounder to shortstop, Erik Gonzalez to end the inning. Over the next couple of innings Musgrove scattered out two more hits and struck out three in the top of the fourth, which is how his day would end. His final line was zero runs, three hits, five strikeouts and two walks on 64 pitches over four full innings of work.
For Chicago, Cease, who had struggled in his last outing was on cruise control for the first four innings; allowing only one Pirates batter, Colin Moran, to reach on a single in bottom of the second. Then in the bottom of the fourth the Pirates were finally able to get things going against Cease as a Josh Bell double, a Ke’Bryan Hayes triple and a Kevin Newman single plated two Pittsburgh base runners to bring them back within one, 3-2, as they headed to the sixth inning. Cease would end up pitching to one more batter, Adam Frazier who singled, before being lifted from the game; having given up the two runs during the previous frame on five total hits, while striking out two and walking none.
In the top of the fifth the White Sox almost immediately got to Pirates reliever, Dovydas Neverauskas. Luckily for Neverauskas, Bryan Reynolds tried to bail him out by nailing Nick Madrigal at home on a single to center from Anderson for the second out of the inning. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough as a Yoan Moncada single, followed by a Yasmani Grandal homer put Chicago up 3-0 before he was able to retire Jose Abreu swinging to end the onslaught.
After this disastrous appearance by Neverauskas, Kyle Crick and Chris Stratton were just one out away from three combined scoreless innings when a double by Eloy Jimenez, assisted by fielding error from Gregory Polanco, brought in Abreu to extend the White Sox lead to 4-2. However, the Pirates would quickly get it back as back to back doubles by Newman and Jacob Stallings would bring Pittsburgh back to within one. Following a ground out, Erik Gonzalez, the hero of Sunday’s come from behind win against the Reds, came through again; this time with an RBI single to knot the game up at 4 a piece.
Next. Richard Rodriguez would come in to pitch the top of the 9th and kept the White Sox off the board, thanks in part to a base running blunder by Madrigal as he was thrown out at third base trying to advance on a ground out to Gonzalez; setting up another potential walk off win for the Pirates. Polanco led off by singling to center, Josh Bell also singled back up the middle and Ke’Bryan Hayes was intentionally walked to load the bases with no one out. Kevin Newman walked up to the plate looking for his third hit of the night to end the game before extras. He didn’t get a hit, but did connect on a bouncer to the White Sox pitcher, Jimmy Cordero. Cordero came home with the throw, which couldn’t be handled by Grandal and the Pirates completed their second come from behind victory in as many games, this time by a score of 5-4.
Tomorrow the Pirates will look to sweep the two game set from the White Sox with rookie pitchers JT Brubaker and Dane Dunning facing off against each other at 7:05 EST from PNC Park.
News and Notes:
- Musgrove keeps getting stronger in second game since coming off the IL; hopefully building back up and stretching himself out to around 90 to 100 pitches by the end of the season.
- Dovydas Neverauskas should never pick up a baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates again. After giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in one inning of work, Neverauskas has returned to his old form after not giving up a single run three straight appearances.
- Bryan Reynolds once again shows of the arm for his fifth outfield assist of the season.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes keeps his hot streak going by hitting his second triple in 6 career games.
- Kyle Crick continues to get outs in spite of the drop in his overall pitch velocity. Since returning from a injury he has allowed only one run in 5 innings of work. He has also struck out four and only walked one during this time.
- Adam Frazier extends his current hitting streak to 11 games.
- Pirates walk it off two games in a row and now sit at 14-26 on the season.