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Ke’Bryan Hayes Walks Off Nationals as Pirates Win 4-3

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The Pirates entered the ninth inning down a pair before Anthony Alford began the inning with a single on an 0-2 pitch. After a Ben Gamel walk, and a wild pitch from Patrick Murphy, the Pirates had runners on second and third with nobody out. 

After Colin Moran tied the game with an RBI groundout with the Nats’ defense conceding a run, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit his first career walk-off with an RBI single down the first base line as the Pirates came back to beat the Nationals 4-3 at PNC Park on Friday night. 

The Pirates scored their first run in the third when Hayes hit a sacrifice fly to center field plating Cole Tucker, who doubled to leadoff the inning.

Alford, who was having a tough game up to this point, led off the seventh inning with an opposite-field home run, his fifth of the year, cutting the Nationals lead to 3-2. Alford collected two hits in the night. 

Steven Brault entered Friday night’s game against the Nationals looking to bounce back after back-to-back rough outings. Unfortunately for him, he was removed after just two innings with what the Pirates called left arm discomfort.

Brault missed the first four months of the season with a lat injury that he suffered in spring training. The Pirates should have news on Brault’s injury status soon and if he will miss more time or avoid the injured list. The Pirates’ are probably holding their breath that the injury is nothing major as the southpaw has only been able to make seven starts this season.

The Nats got on the board first when Anthony Alford tried to make a diving catch on a line drive off the bat of Riley Adams. The ball got by Alford and rolled all the way to the left field fence, as Adams pulled into third with an RBI triple. Lane Thomas drove in Adams with a two-out single to left field giving Washington a 2-0 lead.

That would be it for Brault, and in relief, Cody Ponce faced the minimum in three strong innings. He didn’t give up a run, or a hit for that matter. He picked up two punch outs and walked a batter.

In his return to Pittsburgh, Josh Bell blasted a 1-0 fastball from Sam Howard 429 feet that hit the roof over the bullpen in left-center field. That was Bell’s 26th long ball of the season, extending the Nationals’ lead to 3-1.

On the night, the Pirates out-hit the Nationals 10-3. 

Game two of the three-game series is Saturday at 6:35. Wil Crowe (3-7 5.94) will pitch for the Pirates against his former team opposite Josiah Gray (0-2, 5.65 ERA)

Stat of the Game:

  • After batting just .222 with a .610 OPS in his final 16 games to close out August, Bryan Reynolds is getting back on track in September. Since the start of the month, Reynolds is batting .281 (9 for 32) with two doubles, a homer and has driven in four runs in nine games this month. Reynolds is in the top 10 in the National League in average, on-base percentage as well as OPS on the season. 

Takeaways

  • Ridin’ with Ke’Bryan: Hayes has batted leadoff for the Pirates in the past five games. In that time, Hayes is hitting .429 (9 for 21) with a double and four RBIs. He also extended his hitting streak to six games with a sixth-inning single up the middle. In Hayes’ last 15 games, the Pirates have posted a record of 9-6. While Hayes has started to get more hits lately, he still isn’t hitting for much power. He hasn’t hit a home run since August 8 vs. Cincinnati.
  • Big Jake Rakes: Jacob Stallings has now picked up hits in six of his seven games in the month of September, hitting .296 (8 for 27) in those games. In his last 15 games, Stallings has picked up hits in 11 of them, batting .296 (16 for 54) with two doubles, five RBIs and seven walks. Thanks to that stretch, Stallings has raised his average from .227 to .240 on the year. Like Hayes, Stallings’ power has somewhat disappeared, as his last homer was the walk-off grand slam he hit against the Mets on July 17.  
  • A Bad Stretch: Ever since pitching a scoreless inning on June 11 vs. the Brewers, Howard has had two stints on the injured list, once for right knee tendinitis and once for a right oblique strain. When he has been healthy, Howard has not fared well in his 12.1 innings of work spanning 15 games. In those 15 games, Howard has given up 19 earned runs on 18 hits and 13 walks. His season ERA has skyrocketed from 2.25 to 6.19 thanks to the slump.
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