Ortiz, Marcano Power Pirates to a 6-4 Victory Over the Rangers (26-22)

5/22/23- By Michael Castrignano – @412DoublePlay on Twitter

Luis Ortiz was locked in, pumping high-90s and hitting all of his spots as he worked efficiently and mixed speeds working all of his pitches in what was his longest and most successful start of his young career as he earned his first professional win. 

Bucs got on the board with some small-ball play in the 2nd as a leadoff double by Ke’Bryan Hayes followed by two groundouts managed to plate the first run. The 1-0 lead would hold until the Rangers similarly manufactured a run off a lead-off single by Leody Tavares, advancing to second on a wild pitch, third on a Marcus Semien fly out to center and scoring on a Corey Seager sacrifice fly to deep left.

But it was the final three innings which had much of the fire works as Pirates mustered a strong 2 out rally in the 7th behind a Bryan Reynolds single, Jack Suwinski walk and an RBI single from Carlos Santana gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. However, after Santana stole second (his fifth of the year in five attempts) and Hayes walked, it became the Marcano Show:

That was all the offense the Pirates would need, though not without some drama. Ortiz allowed a run to score after a 2-out RBI single from Semien in the 8th, which led to his exit from the game. Colin Holderman took over and immediately struck out the next batter.

In the 9th, it was Renegade time as David Bednar came in to pitch the non-save situation. He gave up a single to Nathan Lowe and, after striking out the always dangerous Adolis Garcia, left a fastball up to Josh Jung which was hammered 417 feet out to make it a 6-4 game. 

Fortunately, Bednar got the final two outs off a Jonah Heim fly out and a strike out of Robbie Grossman to finish off the game. 

The Pirates offense was markedly improved, going 11-for-33 (3/10 with runners in scoring position) with 5 walks, 8 strikeouts. 

News & Notes

  • Cutch notched his 1,500th hit with the Pirates with a leadoff single in the first before hitting 1,501 in the ninth. He is 14 away from 2,000 hits on his career
  • The 2 out rally was almost stopped before it started as Reynolds was initially ruled out at the plate but, after a challenge by the Pirates, was deemed safe.
  • The Pirates were 2-for-2 on the night with challenges as the top of the 8th saw Taveras ground into an initially-ruled fielder’s choice to short as he was called safe on the relay but the call was overturned after review.
  • There was a questionable send in the bottom of the 8th as Suwinski singled to right and Cutch got the green light coming in from 2nd but was out by a good 15 feet. There were previously some baserunning issues when a 1st inning attempt to steal a run off a first-and-third double steal situation resulted in Cutch being caught at home on a poorly-executed attempt.
  • Jung’s long ball was the first home run allowed by Bednar this season and first runs he had allowed since the April 11th game against the Astros.
  • This was the first game of the season where Ortiz had Austin Hedges as his battery mate and looked much more comfortable and confident than in his previous two starts.
  • Series versus the Rangers continues tomorrow as Rich Hill takes the bump against Nathan Eovaldi. First pitch is at 6:35PM. Let’s Go Bucs!

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