Balks, Bad Baserunning, Eovaldi Help Rangers Beat Pirates 6-1
PITTSBURGH – They say regardless of how often you go to the ballpark that you’ll see something new every time.
That was the case Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Pirates, in quite a rarity, balked in two runs in their 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers at PNC Park.
Starter Rich Hill was called for the first balk in a two-run first inning. Rookie reliever Jose Hernandez was called for the second balk in a three-run sixth inning that pushed the lead to 5-1.
The Pirates (25-23) also balked at scoring many runs as they lost for the third time in their last four games. Their lone run came in the third inning when Bryan Reynolds hit a two-out RBI double to slice the Pirates’ deficit to 2-1.
Hill (4-4) was charged with five runs and seven hits in 5.1 innings. The 43-year-old left-hander struck out nine and walked two.
Hill became the first 12th different major-league pitcher since 1901 to record nine or more strikeouts at age 43 or older. The last pitcher was Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 2009 for the San Francisco Giants.
In his previous six starts, Hill was 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA.
Nathan Eovaldi (6-2) limited the Pirates to one run and six hits while pitching the fourth complete game of his 12-year career for the American League West-leading Rangers.
Andrew McCutchen and Ji Hwan Bae each had two of the Pirates’ six hits.
However, Bae also made two baserunning mistakes. The rookie was picked off first base by Eovaldi in the third inning and was thrown out at second base to end the seventh inning when he overran the bag while advancing on McCutchen’s single.
Rookie Josh Jung had two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs for the Rangers. Adolis Garcia hit a pair of doubles.
The Rangers jumped Hill early as Marcus Semien led off the game with a triple and scored on Kyle Seager’s single. Seager eventually scored on a balk to make it 2-0.
Hill was chased when the Rangers opened some breathing room with a three-run sixth that put them ahead 5-1. Jung hit a two-run single and then scored on Hernandez’s balk.
Jung lined a solo home run into the left-field bleachers off Duane Underwood Jr. in the eighth inning.
The three-game series concludes at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday with the rubber game with Johan Oviedo (3-3, 4.69) starting for the Pirates against left-hander Martin Perez (5-1, 4.01). Oviedo has allowed two runs in 11 innings in his last two starts since getting rocked for seven runs on May 6 in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.