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Eighth Inning Insurance Runs Provide a Lift As Pirates Beat Nationals 6-4

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Bryse Wilson got his second start of the year for the Pirates on Saturday night against the Nationals. Combined by a nice effort from the bullpen and some timely hitting, the Pirates beat the Nationals 6-4, despite the Nationals’ best effort at a rally in the ninth.

After a Jake Marisnick walk in the second inning, Andrew Knapp delivered an RBI double down into the left-field corner scoring Marisnick. During the throw home, Knapp was able to advance to third base, which set up a Cole Tucker bloop single giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Knapp was 0-6 before his double.

Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds led the fifth inning off with back-to-back singles chasing the starter Taylor Rogers. Michael Chavis would face the submariner Steve Cishek and delivered the Pirates’ third run of the game on an RBI single.

The Pirates got some much-needed insurance runs in the eighth inning. Chavis led off the inning with a triple, and that was followed up by a Yoshi Tsutsugo walk. Diego Castillo delivered a seeing-eye single for his first Major League RBI. Knapp got credit for an RBI after an E4 giving the Pirates a huge four-run lead.

Wilson was only able to go 4.1 innings. He allowed four hits, walked three, struck out two, and allowed two earned runs, one of which was a solo shot given up to Juan Soto. It wasn’t the worst outing for Wilson but only throwing 53% of his 71 pitches for stiles, isn’t ideal. 

The pitch count for Wilson was concerning, but the fourth inning may have been the killer for him. After two routine outs, Wilson had Lane Thomas on the ropes and didn’t get the strike three call on an obvious strike in the top left corner. 

Thomas proceeded to hit a double, then Alcides Escobar and Victor Robles drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Diego Castillo made a terrific play to prevent runs from scoring, but the point being, Wilson wouldn’t have had to throw 14 extra pitches to get out of the inning if a simple strike three was called.

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David Bednar relieved Dillon Peters in a high leverage situation in the seventh inning, and he got the job done by forcing two flyouts. Peters pitched an extremely efficient two innings. Peters gave up no hits, walked two, and, more importantly, no runs.

Takeaways

Defense Wins Games: On several occasions, the Pirates’ defense helped out their pitchers with incredible flashes of leather. Ben Gamel made two spectacular diving catches in right-field, Hayes made an over the railing catch, and Diego Castillo saved at least two runs with a nice pick at second base.

 

Piggybacks May Be Here To Stay: On several occasions now, the Pirates’ starters have failed to go a full five innings. We’ve seen Wil Crowe, Peters, Miguel Yajure, and Roansy Contreras coming in from the bullpen and providing two to three innings of relief. Expect a ton of arms to be used this year.

We Need Automated Strike Zones: Traditionalists will be mad but seeing more than a handful of bad calls a night is getting tiring.

The Brodie Is Alright: Hayes had yet another multi-hit game tonight, and that eight-year $70 million contract is looking sweeter and sweeter by the minute.

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