Ji Man Choi homered for the first time in nearly three months and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Sunday to end the unofficial first half of the season at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Choi’s two-run shot came in the second inning and put the Pirates ahead 2-1. It was the first home run for Choi since April 11 as he sustained an Achillies injury two days later and did not return to action until Friday.
Choi had two of the Pirates’ six hits.
Jack Suwinski’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning snapped a 2-2 tie as the Pirates (41-49) averted being swept in the three-game series. They went 2-5 on their road trip to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers then Phoenix.
Osvaldo Bido (1-1) notched his first major-league victory as he pitched 1.1 scoreless innings as the third of seven relievers in a bullpen game for the Pirates. David Bednar worked around a walk in a scoreless ninth inning for his 17th save.
The Diamondbacks (52-39) lost for the fifth time in their last seven games and fell out of first place in the National League West, percentage points behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With the Pirates holding a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Diamondbacks had a runner on third base with two outs. However, Colin Holderman ended the threat by getting All-Star outfielder Corbin Carroll to ground out.
STAR OF THE GAME
Yerry De Los Santos, the fifth Pirates’ pitcher, retired all five batters he faced.
STAT OF INTEREST
Right-hander Carmen Mlodzinski became the eighth pitcher to make a start for the Pirates this season. The Pirates have used the third-fewest starters in the major leagues.
–Rookie third baseman Jared Triolo extended his hitting streak to six games with an RBI single in the ninth inning. Triolo is 9 for 30 (.300) in his last eight games.
–Suwinski has 12 RBIs in his last 11 games.
–Mlodzinski pitched 1.1 innings and allowed one unearned run while walking two and striking out one. It was the first major-league start for the rookie, who had made nine relief appearances.
The Pirates are off for the All-Star break until Friday when they host the San Francisco Giants at 7:05 p.m. at PNC Park. Right-hander Mitch Keller and Bednar will represent the Pirates at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and manager Derek Shelton will be on the National League coaching staff.