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Break Out the Brooms: Pirates Complete Sweep of Dodgers With 8-4 Win

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In a game that was filled with entertaining moments on offense, on defense and on the mound, the Pirates defeated the Dodgers 82 in Dodgers Stadium to complete the three-game sweep over Los Angeles on Wednesday night. 

The Bucs had gone all of 2021 without sweeping an opponent, but were able to break out the brooms against the first-place Dodgers. Pittsburgh used solid defense, solid work from the bullpen and a pair of long balls to seal the win. It’s the Pirates first sweep over the Dodgers in Los Angeles since 2000.

The Pirates found the scoreboard early again, striking first with a first-inning run. Josh VanMeter drove in Ke’Bryan Hayes with a base hit up the middle, putting the Bucs up 1-0.

The Dodgers tied the game in the fourth when Chris Taylor delivered the Dodgers third straight hit in the inning, driving in Trea Turner.

The Bucs answered quickly in the top of the fifth inning when Bryan Reynolds hit his second homerun of the series. This one was a two-run shot that put the Pirates back in front by a pair. Reynolds reached base safely four times in the game; the homer, a single and a pair of walks (one intentional).

The Dodgers had the bases loaded with nobody out in the home half of the frame. Freddie Freeman bounced into a fielder’s choice, allowing a run to score on the play. That ended Jose Quintana’s night for the Pirates as Derek Shelton opted for Chase De Jong.

With runners on second and third, De Jong struck out Trea Turner and got Justin Tuner to pop out, ending the threat and preserving a one-run lead for the Bucs. Quintana was tagged with two earned runs in 4.1 innings of work. It wasn’t his best outing of the season, but the veteran southpaw kept the Pirates in position to pull out a win.

The Dodgers again looked poised to strike in the seventh with runners on second and third and nobody out. After Freeman bounced out, Trea Turner flied one into shallow center and Gavin Lux attempted to score on the play, but was thrown out by Reynolds on a perfect strike home.

Rodolfo Castro came into the game in the sixth inning and was tasked with bunting Chavis over to third in his first at-bat of the game. After the count got to 3-1, Castro opted not to bunt and instead hit a towering two-run shot inside of the left field foul pole to tack on a pair of insurance runs.

Pittsburgh added more insurance in the ninth inning when Chavis plated Tucupita Marcano with a base hit. Marcano picked up his first career steal earlier in the inning. Castro drove in a pair one batter later, giving him four RBIs on the night and the Pirates an 8-2 lead.

Betts homered in the bottom of the ninth to make it an 8-4 game, but Anthony Banda retired Freeman to finish off the win.

The Pirates have an off day on Thursday before welcoming the Arizona Diamondbacks to Pittsburgh for a three-game series starting on Friday night.

Takeaways 

  • Break Out The Brooms: The last time the Pirates completed a sweep of three or more games over a team was a three-game sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers in August 2020. After going 0 for 15 in attempting to finish off a potential sweep a year ago, the Pirates faced their first attempt this season against the Dodgers and converted. The last time the Bucs swept a series on the road was in Colorado against the Rockies, a four-game series from Aug. 29-Sep. 1 during the 2019 season.
  • Flipping The Script: Prior to the start of this season, the Bucs had dropped 16 straight contests to the Dodgers. Their last win against the Dodgers prior to breaking the streak last month was on 6/7/19 and the Bucs hadn’t won in Dodger Stadium since 2016. The Pirates ensured they won the season series against the Dodgers with their win on Tuesday night, and have taken five out of six against them this season. The Pirates faced a tall task this West Coast road trip and definitely held their own. 
  • B-Rey Breakout?: Reynolds has started to look more and more like his 2021 self during the road trip. He’s recorded hits in five of the six games and has reached base safely in all six contests. Reynolds’ power is starting to emerge again with three home runs and two doubles, and he’s finally starting to drive in runs with five RBIs between the two series after beginning the road trip with only nine RBIs in his previous 40 games.
  • Heads Up Defense: In addition to the Reynolds outfield assist, Pirates defenders made two other incredible, heads-up plays in big spots. Diego Castillo fielded a sharp grounder at short and threw out Kevin Pillar who was attempting to advance to third. In the sixth, Hayes fielded an in between hop, threw to first for the out before Chavis returned the throw to Hayes who scooped the ball out of the dirt and applied the tag onto Taylor at third.

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