Three of the Pirates’ rookies played a major role in Sunday’s 4-2 comeback win over the Cincinnati Reds. Liover Peguero and Endy Rodríguez each walked, then Jared Triolo sent them all home with a pinch-hit bomb, the first home run of his career. The milestone put the Pirates ahead for good.
After Pittsburgh’s series split with the NL-leading Atlanta Braves, manager Derek Shelton noted the rookies’ fearless approach, their readiness to step in the box against any and all competitors. Those themes came up again on Sunday.
“Really, really poised at-bats in a crucial situation in the game and just, really proud of them. They didn’t try to do too much, they took the walks, and then… we were able to get the blast there,” Shelton said. “The moment hasn’t gotten too big for them.”
Triolo fanned on a changeup low in the zone to begin the pivotal at-bat. Reds’ reliever Alex Young went back to the pitch on a full count, and Triolo deposited it in the left field bleachers.
“3-2 pitch, he had seen the changeup before that, and he got a changeup up and into a swing path and, you know, didn’t miss it,” Shelton said. “He had seen it earlier in the at-bat and [taken] a pretty good pass at it, and that one just stayed a little bit farther up.”
Triolo, for his part, said he wasn’t sitting on the changeup, but he did take an educated guess.
“I just knew that was a pitch he liked to go to,” Triolo said. “I thought I took a good swing on the first one. It was just a little bit beneath the zone. Seeing it before and not missing it the second time was great.”
Teammates Taking Part
Peguero and Rodríguez hit their first big league home runs in late July. Triolo, while happy for his teammates, had to watch and wait. This time, it was their turn to watch him notch the milestone achievement. They were ready at home plate to join in his celebration, crossing their arms and grinning.
“It was awesome seeing them there. They’ve just been waiting for me to get mine,” Triolo said. “I did today and getting back to the dugout and the coaches were fired up and other teammates so it was awesome.”
Rodríguez made sure to give his teammate a hard time about the long wait before his first career home run. Triolo listened nearby with a smile. Rodríguez said the arms crossed pose was his idea. He described the inspiration behind the stern stance, crossing his arms to mimic his earlier actions.
“‘Finally!” Rodríguez said. “We’ve been waiting how long, a month and a half? Jesus! Come on, buddy!’”
Rodríguez didn’t let humor get in the way of the emotion of the moment, though.
“He’s always [been] my best teammate here, I just enjoyed it,” Rodríguez said, gesturing in the direction of Jared Triolo. “Hit a homer again bro!”