Josh VanMeter stepped to the plate with the Pirates up a run and a chance to add on with two runners on base in the seventh. Having already singled earlier in the game, VanMeter was looking to deliver another base hit to pad the lead for the Bucs.
The left-handed hitter did even more than that. VanMeter took a 2-2 slider that was left over the plate and deposited it into the right field seats, giving the Pirates some breathing room in their eventual 10-5 win over the Rockies on Wednesday.
VanMeter Insurance Co pic.twitter.com/Je6uqASnSD
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 25, 2022
The at-bat didn’t start out on the right foot, and it looked like the Pirates would let another scoring opportunity slip through their fingers. “First two strikes he kind of dotted down and in to me,” VanMeter said. “When he’s painting like that he makes it tough.”
Then, VanMeter battled back to even the count, and Rockies right-hander Justin Lawrence finally made a mistake. “He spun me a slider over the plate and I didn’t miss it. That’s kind of the name of the game is don’t miss pitches over the plate,” he said.
VanMeter certainly didn’t miss it, hitting it 403 feet. It was the first homerun that Lawrence has allowed in his two-year Major League career.
The homer continued a strong stretch at the plate for VanMeter, who extended his current hitting streak to a modest four-games thanks to the 2 for 4 day. In those four games, VanMeter has six hits in 13 at-bats (.462) with a 1.308 OPS, a triple and his big home run.
VanMeter is certainly happy his hard work is getting rewarded. “I’ve been working my tail off with [Andy Haines] everyday, making a couple adjustments and just taking those adjustments pregame and trying to trust them in the game,” VanMeter said. “It’s been working for me and hopefully we can keep it going.”
It was a slow start to the season for VanMeter, but those adjustments that have worked of late could lead to allowing the 27-year-old to reach the potential that the Pirates saw in him when they acquired him just before the start of the season.
The Pirates, who have struggled with the bats despite scoring 10 runs on Wednesday, are certainly hoping for someone like VanMeter to breakout and get the offense going.
We’ll see how the Pirates and VanMeter follow up their big win over the Rockies with a tough test out West with three in San Diego and three with the Dodgers starting Friday.