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McCutchen, Gonzales Power Pirates Past Tigers; Skenes Shines Again

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Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates, Paul Skenes

Paul Skenes celebrated his 22nd birthday by striking out nine Detroit Tigers across six-strong innings pitched in the second-game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Skenes’ efforts, combined with big games from Andrew McCutchen and Nick Gonzales, lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 10-2 win.

Skenes (2-0) held the Tigers (27-28) to a trio of hits and walked one batter for his third-straight quality start. 

The Tigers plated the first run of the game on Akil Baddoo’s sacrifice fly in the second. In the sixth, Matt Vierling connected on a solo home run to left off of Skenes.

Outside of those two swings, the Tigers couldn’t manage much of anything against Skenes, who continues to impress in the very early stages of his career.

Only two other pitchers since 1900 have had two starts through their first four outings with nine-plus strikeouts and three or fewer hits allowed as Skenes did on Thursday. Bobby Witt did so in 1986 and Freddy Peralta did in 2018. 

The Pirates (26-30) ensured that Skenes had plenty of run support to notch his second-career victory.

In the top of the third inning, Andrew McCutchen connected on a three-run homer off of Keider Montero (0-1), who was making his MLB debut.

McCutchen later added a double and another run scored when he came into score when Connor Joe bounced into a fielder’s choice in the seventh. He collected his third hit and fourth RBI on a base hit to right in the eighth. 

Like McCutchen, Nick Gonzales also had three hits including a homer and a double. The Pirates’ second baseman hit a towering solo home run to left in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 4-1. Gonzales scored his second run of the game in the sixth on Jared Triolo’s sacrifice fly. 

Bryan Reynolds preceded Joe’s RBI by plating Grant Koch with a sacrifice fly. It was the first run scored for Grant, who drew a walk and struck out three times in his first big-league start.

Oneil Cruz tripled home a run in the top of the ninth. He scored on Gonzales’ base hit, which gave the Pirates double-digit runs.

Up Next

The Pirates have a day off on Thursday before the start of a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Friday. Neither club has announced a starting pitcher.

Noteworthy

  • The Pirates fell 8-0 to the Tigers on the front-end of the doubleheader earlier in the day.
  • Right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies was appointed as the 27th-man for the second game but did not make an appearance.

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