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One Big Mistake by Max Kranick Dooms Pirates in 6-3 Loss to White Sox

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Through the first three-plus innings of Wednesday’s game vs. the White Sox, Max Kranick looked sharp. He was spotting his fastball right where Jacob Stallings was calling for it, and he was hitting as high as 97 mph on the radar gun.

However, baseball is a very humbling game. Kranick left one fastball center-cut, and Gavin Sheets parked it over the right field fence for a homerun as the White Sox defeated the Pirates 6-3 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Like Bryse Wilson on Tuesday night, Kranick pitched better than his line indicated, and it should have read even better if not for a costly error by Kevin Newman. In total, Kranick went 4.2 innings, allowed five runs on eight hits, a pair of walks and struck out one, this his sixth start of the season with the Bucs.

Sheets’ first homer came with two on and two out in the fourth, and gave the White Sox the first lead of the night. He hit his second homer in the eight, giving the White Sox and insurance run and Sheets his first career multi-homerun game.

The White Sox struck again when the Pirates looked like they had an inning-ending double play in the fifth, but Kevin Newman made a poor throw to first on the back end that eluded Kranick and the Sox added one run and then another on an RBI double from Leury Garcia.

For the Pirates, Cole Tucker picked up his second RBI of the year with an RBI single that scored Wilmer Difo. Tucker collected two hits, including a double on the night. After his double, Tucker came around to score on a Stallings RBI single.

Anthony Alford crushed a 430-foot homerun that registered 110 mph off the bat, his second homer of the season.

White Sox’ starter Carlos Rodon had another good outing in his impressive 2021 season. He allowed just the one run on five hits, one walk and picked up five strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 2.41 in the process.

The Pirates’ will head to the North Side of Chicago for a four game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mitch Keller (4-10, 6.75 ERA) will be on the mound for the Pirates and Keegan Thompson (3-3, 3.09 ERA) gets the nod for the Cubs. First pitch: 8:05.

Stat of the Game:

  • After Stallings did not allow a passed ball In Wednesday’s game, the Pirates have now gone 175 consecutive games without allowing a passed ball, dating back to Aug. 18 of last season. That is now a Major League record, surpassing the Montreal Expos’ streak of 174 games spanning from June 10, 1978 to June 26, 1979. Stallings, Michael Perez, John Ryan Murphy and Andrew Susac are the men responsible for the new record. Pittsburgh is the only team in the majors without a passed ball this season.

TAKEAWAYS

Red Beard is Red Hot: With his fourth-inning single Wednesday night, Colin Moran extended his hitting streak to six games, and has collected at least one hit in eight of his last nine games played. During that stretch, he’s gone 12 for 33 (.64) with a double, a homer and five runs driven in. Since coming off the injured list on Aug. 6, Moran is batting .293 (22 for 74) with three home runs and 11 RBIs over 22 games played. The six-game hitting streak is the longest for Moran on the season, and his longest since his 11-game hitting streak from Aug. 22-Sept. 1 during the 2019 campaign.

D-I-F-O: Over his past 21 games started, Difo is 24 for 80 (.300) with four doubles, a homer and six RBIs. It has been quite the turnaround for Difo, who was designated for assignment by the Pirates on June 8 and was outrighted to Triple-A a few days later. Coming into Wednesday’s game, he was slashing .290/.374/.398 in 107 plate appearances. Difo has thrived coming off the bench, hitting .308 with a .943 OPS as a pinch hitter on the season.

Put ‘Em To Bed: In a span of 27 appearances dating back to June 18, David Bednar has only been charged with three earned runs in 28.2 innings of work (0.94 ERA). Thanks to that stretch, Bednar lowered his season ERA from 3.96 to 2.35. Though he didn’t pitch against the White Sox, Bednar is well-suited to become the Pirates’ closer moving forward.

Who’s Next?: Shelby Miller made his Pirates debut out of the bullpen with a scoreless seventh inning. He became the 58th player used by Pittsburgh so far this season and the 34th different pitcher. The 58 players is already a club record, and the 34 pitchers ties the Pirates’ record, as it was also done in 2019.

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