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Backed by JT Brubaker’s Strong Start, the Pirates Defeated the Rockies 2-1

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JT Brubaker took the mound for the Pirates and delivered his strongest start of the year. Even though he didn’t get the win, the Pirates took a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning and held onto to defeat the Rockies by that score on Monday night at PNC Park.

Brubaker was in control throughout the night and was very efficient. In total, he worked 6.2 innings, scattered five hits, walked two and picked up four strikeouts. 56 of his 85 pitches went for strikes, and he only allowed one unearned run. It was another encouraging start for the right-hander who has pitched much better of late for the Bucs.

The Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Ke’Bryan Hayes doubled home Ben Gamel. It was one of three hits on the night for Hayes, who also recorded a pair of singles.

Colorado tied the game at one in the fourth. After a leadoff walk, Brendan Rodgers bounced a double play ball back to Brubkaer, but Brubaker skipped the throw into centerfield. The Pirates traded two outs of a run when Randal Grichuk hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

It looked like the Pirates might have taken the lead in the seventh when home plate umpire Jordan Baker ruled Rodolfo Castro safe on a play at the plate. After a Rockies challenge, the call was overturned and the game remained tied.

The game remained scoreless until the eighth inning, when Yoshi Tsutsugo legged out an infield single that allowed Hayes to trot home to put the Bucs ahead 2-1.

David Bednar picked up his first win of the season as he sealed the victory by getting the final four outs.

Castro made a terrific running grab deep into left field in the game, making up for an error he committed earlier in the contest.

Game two of this three-game series will be Tuesday night. The Pirates have yet to announce a starter and Kyle Freeland (1-4, 4.85 ERA) will be on the mound for the Rockies.

Takeaways

  • Working Late Into The Night: Brubaker worked into the seventh inning for the first time this season and just the third time of his career, and he was impressive against the Rockies. The 6.2 innings of work are tied for the the second most of his career, only behind a seven-inning outing on July 31 last season. He also pitched 6.2 innings in his second-to-last start of the 2020 season against the Cubs and June 20 against Cleveland last year. Brubaker has been pitching well for the Pirates, posting a 3.76 FIP in his last six starts prior to this one.
  • Nice Night For Hayes: Hayes had a strong night on the plate, recording an RBI double as part of a three-hit performance and also drew a base on balls. It must have been a sigh of relief for Hayes who had been scuffling of late. In his prior seven games, he was 3 for 30 (.100) with a .233 OPS. The offense has obviously been lacking, especially of late, so the Pirates certainly loved seeing the good night from their third baseman. 
  • Got To Get The Offense Going: The Pirates entered play with the second-fewest runs scored in the Major Leagues and those issues have especially hindered them in the month of May. The Bucs had multiple opportunities to cash in over the course of this one but at one point were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position before the Tsutsugo infield single. The Pirates entered play with a league-low OPS of .597 with RISP. Want the offense to improve? Take advantage of the opportunities you get. They finished 2 for 13 with RISP in this one.
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