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Colin Moran’s Two Homers Not Enough as Cardinals Sweep Pirates

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For the first time in over a week, the Pirates managed to score more than four runs in a game. They also had more hits than they did the last three games combined, but it was still not enough as the Cardinals completed the three-game sweep of the Pirates, 7-6.

Colin Moran recorded a pair of hits for the second straight game. After two singles last night -the only two in the game for the Pirates – Moran hit two homeruns and collected four RBI, which tied a season-high.

Here’s the first:

Here’s the second:

Moran, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Kevin Newman combined to go 6-for-13 with two homers and two doubles, but the rest of the Pirates lineup remained quiet.

Outside of that trio, the remaining Bucs’ bats combined to go just 4-for-23 with nine strikeouts – two of those hits by Bryan Reynolds, who was not in the starting lineup.  Anthony Alford, who entered today 1-for-his-last-9 with five strikeouts, went 0-for-4 with four Ks written next to his name.

JT Brubaker was on the mound for the Pirates this afternoon, and his woes continued. He went five innings, surrendered five earned runs on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts. The homerun bug continued to bite him after giving up two more today.

The Pirates faced an early 1-0 deficit after a Nolan Arenado RBI double in the top of the first.

After Moran’s three-run homer in the home half to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead, the score did not change until the Cardinals struck for four runs in the fourth. A pair of two-run homers by Paul DeJong and Lars Nootbaar gave the Cardinals a 5-3 lead. It was the first career homer for the pinch hitter Nootbaar.

Shortly Moran responded in the bottom for the fourth with his second homer of the game, defensive miscues cost the Pirates another run in the sixth. Underwood chucked a double play ball into center field, putting runners at first and third. Andrew Knizner followed with a chopper up the middle that had a chance to be an inning-ending double play – but no one covered second, resulting in a run that gave St. Louis a 6-4 lead.

The Bucs had a chance in the seventh when Newman doubled and pinch hitter Bryan Reynolds hit a sharp grounder to first that resulted in a infield single. With runners on the corners and two outs Hoy Park popped out to shortstop putting an end to the threat.

A Paul Goldschmidt RBI double in the ninth provided some insurance and it was needed.

After Polanco got to second on an error, Bryan Reynolds hit a two-run shot to right, his 20th of the season. Alex Reyes then struck out Michael Perez and Hayes picking up his 27th save of the season.

The Pirates losing streak is now at eight games, and they fall to 1-10 in August.

The Pirates will welcome the Milwaukee Brewers in a three game series at PNC Park this weekend. Game one is tomorrow – Mitch Keller (3-9, 7.06 ERA) will square off with Brett Anderson (4-5, 3.54 ERA) First pitch: 7:05.

Stat of the Game:

  • Moran’s two-homer game was noteworthy for multiple reasons. It was the first time he homered since April 18th against the Brewers. It was also his first homer at PNC Park since September 24th of last year.  For his career, it was the fifth and sixth time he’s taken a lefty deep, and the first two off a southpaw in 2021. Additionally, it was the second time he had a two-homerun game (7/27/20 vs. Milwaukee).

Takeaways:

  • The Good and the Bad: Through May, Brubaker was 4-4 with a 3.74 ERA and it looked like he was on the verge of a breakout season for the Bucs. In his 11 starts since then, he’s gone 0-8 with a 6.47 ERA.  One of the biggest issues is that he has yielded the second most homeruns in the National League, trailing only Patrick Corbin of the Nationals.
  • Hoy Finding a Home: Since being acquired from the Yankees, Park has found himself batting leadoff in his last eight starts with the Pirates, a void left open after the Bucs traded Adam Frazier to the San Diego Padres. In those eight games, Park has started at five different positions – shortstop (three times), center field (twice) second base, left field and right field (once each).
  • Hayes Heating Up: Though Hayes has been mired in a slump for a good portion of the season, he has reached base safely in six out of his last seven games. During that stretch, he’s gone 8-for-26 (.308) with two doubles, a homer and two walks. Hayes’ bat will be needed for the Bucs’ scuffling offense.
  • Caught Stealing: For the first time this season, Gregory Polanco was thrown out attempting to steal a base, ending a run of 13 straight successful steals to open the year. Since the beginning of 2017, he is 39-for-45 (87%) when trying to swipe a bag.
  • Two-for-One: This is the first time the Pirates hit multiple homers in a game since Rodolfo Castro had two vs. the Brewers on 7/28.  Also the first time two different Pirates homered in the same game since Polanco and John Nogowski on 7/20 vs. the Dbacks.
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