04/11/2023 – By Ethan Smith – @mvp_Ethan on Twitter
Ji-hwan Bae saves the day on a 3-run walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth as the Pittsburgh Pirates even up the series against the Houston Astros.
The Pittsburgh Pirates looked doomed from the start once again after a solo shot from Alex Bregman in the top of the first and another solo shot from Kyle Tucker in the second, but Mitch Keller settled in and the Pirates fought back with four unanswered runs.
Speaking of Keller, he had yet another impressive outing to kick off his 2023 campaign, going six innings with seven strikeouts and two earned runs, keeping the Pirates even after the first five innings.
Jack Suwinski would homer for the first time this season to notch the score at two a piece in the bottom of the second. Ji-Man Choi would follow with his second homer in as many games to give the Pirates a 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the sixth.
In what would become a huge factor later on, Ke’Bryan Hayes stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly from Canaan Smith-Njigba to make the game 4-2, yet another step in the maturation of his game in big spots.
Duane Underwood Jr and Colin Holderman each pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning respectively, giving Holderman the league lead with five holds, but David Bednar would allow two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score at four.
Then the fun happened.
Ryan Pressly would try to force extra innings for Houston, but a Rodolfo Castro bloop single after a crucial error in the top of the final frame would kickstart the Pirates walk-off bid followed by an Andrew McCutchen pinch-hit single.
Jack Suwinski struck out but Ji-hwan Bae blew one over the Clemente Wall for his first walk-off homer of his career and the first Pirates walk off of the 2023 season.
The Pirates showed once again that they have a team worthy of clawing back from early deficits, something we saw them do against both Boston and the White Sox and that good starts from their starters will be a benchmark to their success this season.
Pittsburgh moves to 7-4 on the season with a 7-4 victory and will play the rubber match of the series against the defending World Series Champions on Wednesday with RHP Jose Urquidy(3.86 ERA) facing LHP Rich Hill(10.00 ERA).
News & Notes
- Mitch Keller final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
- Christian Javier final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 SO
- Duane Underwood Jr. and Colin Holderman(5th hold of the season, leads MLB) have scoreless frames through seventh and eighth innings
- Ji-Man Choi homers for second consecutive game, Jack Suwinski homers for first time this season
- Rodolfo Castro continues to take HBPs
- Ji-hwan Bae records first walk off of career and the season!