Another game, another great pitching performance, another near shutout loss. When we came into 2021, most were ultimately concerned with the starting pitching, I was too. I thought it had a chance to hold its own and by the end of the year be pretty strong.
Primarily based on the thought that somehow we’d get to the point where Wil Crowe and Miguel Yajure would make their way into the rotation.
That time is upon us, and we’re in mid May.
Miguel Yajure was absolutely outstanding today. When you look at the box score it will say 5IP and 1 hit, which is good of course, but won’t tell the story.
He did all that with 57 pitches, and just looked dominant. Placing his fastball on the black at will and then in the second time through the order he mixed in devastating off speed stuff. Impressive stuff really. He’s ready, and if they send him back down it won’t be due to performance.
They pulled Yajure after five, and I’ll touch on this in the notes after I hear what Shelton has to say about it, but I pray it wasn’t to make sure one of his scary bats needed to lead off the bottom of the fifth, because Yajure had way more in him.
Brandon Crawford would finally provide some offense in the game as he hit a solo shot off Duane Underwood Jr in the top of the 8th in his second inning of work. That was it until the 9th where Bednar shut down the Giants again.
In the Bottom of the 9th the Giants were still using their starter Kevin Gausman. Frazier led off with a single to left field, and Newman who hit the ball well with no reward tonight delivered a single on a hit and run moving Frazier to 3rd.
The Giants went to their closer to face Reynolds with nobody out and runners at the corners. He would deliver a single to tie the game.
With runners at 1st and 2nd Will Craig struck out bringing up Polanco who hit quite possibly the softest double I’ve seen him hit to face McGee the Giants lefty closer with one out, he too would strike out.
With two outs the Pirates pinch hit for Ka’ai Tom with Erik Gonzalez, he too would strike out. Turkey was on the table, if you’re going to call yourself openly a small ball team, move the runners over and score. If you aren’t, start reviewing draft boards for 2022.
Rich Rod got through a scoreless top of the 10th, and the Pirates started the 10th with Erik Gonzalez at 2nd base. Wilmer Difo was tasked with bunting Gonzalez over but failed on his first 2 attempts then worked the count full and got the ball pulled to the right side to advance him to 3rd with one out.
Facing the sidewinder Tyler Rogers and a Giants defense that went to 5 infielders, Michael Perez struck out on 4 pitches. The defense switched back and Jacob Stallings was called to pinch hit and he too struck out.
Onto the 11th.
The Pirates turned to Luis Oviedo. A flyball moved Crawford to 3rd with one out and then a bloop single scored the go ahead run. Then he walked Ruf to put runners at 1st and 2nd, then Will Craig made a hell of a play to rob the Giants of an extra base hit and they escaped only giving up one.
The Giants now protecting a one run lead brought in Caleb Baragar to face Adam Frazier who was 3 for 4 and now playing Left Field. Frazier belted a triple off the wall to tie it up again. And as if he’d been watching his own special on tape all month long, Kevin Newman stepped up with a chance to put this game on ice, instead he popped out. 1 out.
Next up Bryan Reynolds again. He’d tied it earlier and now he has a chance to win it but the Giants would instead elect to intentionally walk him to face Will Craig, and the Giants chose to walk him as well.
Gregory Polanco, bases loaded, tie game, bottom of the 11th, 1 out. Needs nothing more than a fly ball to win the game. And he delivered! Fly ball deep to right center GAME!
Pirates win 3-2 in 11.
Back at it tomorrow, Johnny Cueto vs Tyler Anderson at 6:35 for game 3 of the series.
News & Notes
- Adam Frazier just went right back to hitting, collecting 4 more tonight to lead the NL, maybe Adam should be the hitting coach.
- Sam Howard and David Bednar each tossed a scoreless inning bookending Duane Underwood Jr. who looked better but gave up one run in his 2 innings of work.
- Bryan Reynolds rarely sees a hittable pitch. He has zero protection in this lineup and if you let him beat you, you probably deserve to get beat. He was 0 for 3 heading into the 9th tonight, and this is just my observation, he’s getting tired of walking 2 times a game. Finally they were forced to pitch to him in the 9th and he delivered. That’s not as easy as it sounds, Really need to get guys healthy, it’s a credit to Frazier and Reynolds for not falling off a cliff in the middle of this disarray.
- After the game there was a protracted discussion as the Giants protested something. I believe it was about Polanco running past Will Craig on the base paths, but Polanco was out as the ball was caught so of course this isn’t a thing. It’s amazing how many managers don’t know all the rules of the game they operate in. Perhaps that says something about the rules.
- Gregory Polanco was shown utter disrespect tonight in the 11th. Walking two batters to load the bases to get to his bat. Happy for him, after falling behind 0-2 against a lefty, that’s a big swing.
- Will Craig and Erik Gonzalez in the 10th and 11th each saved this game with outstanding defensive plays. They may not have delivered at the plate but that matters too.
- After the game Derek Shelton was asked why he pulled Yajure after 57 pitches and five innings. When a move is really curious you can just count on it being the first question. They wanted to keep him at 5. They claim because Indy is using a 6 man rotation he was on what they considered short rest. In his last outing for Indy he threw 92 pitches and went 6 innings. This strikes me as a weird answer. I thought pitch count was the gospel now, not innings.
- This was the first win the Pirates have when trailing after 8 innings. 1-20 record in such situations.