PITTSBURGH — Trailing by a run, the Pittsburgh Pirates were unable to draw even with the Texas Rangers in the late innings despite some big opportunities. The Rangers held on to defeat the Pirates 3-2 on Wednesdsy afternoon at PNC Park.
In a 3-2 game entering the eighth inning, three straight Pirates’ batters reached with one out off of Rangers relief pitcher José Leclerc. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Carlos Santana each singled and Connor Joe drew a walk.
The traffic led to Rangers manager Bruce Bochy to go to the bullpen and bring in left-hander Will Smith to face Rodolfo Castro.
Smith induced a shallow popup to left field by Castro and struck out Jack Suwinski to end the Pirates’ threat and keep the game tied.
That wasn’t the only golden opportunity the Pirates (25-24) had.
In the sixth, Jason Delay stood on second with nobody out, but Chris Owings popped out on a bunt attempt. Andrew McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds each bounced out to short to keep Delay stranded on second.
Marcus Semien led off the game with a solo homer to the left field bleachers off of Johan Oviedo (3-4), putting Texas ahead 1-0 one batter into the game. Semien’s second leadoff homer of the season was the 16th in his career.
Oviedo’s struggles in the first continued when after getting Corey Seager to ground out, the next three Rangers’ hitters recorded hits.
The last of those three hits was a Josh Jung RBI-double to left to put Texas ahead 2-0. Texas (31-18) tacked on another when Jonah Heim bounced one to first. First baseman Carlos Santana double-clutched, allowing enough time for Adolis García to score from third.
After the first inning, Oviedo settled in nicely and kept the Pirates in the game.
Oviedo threw an immaculate inning in the fourth after striking out the Rangers’ 6-7-8 hitters on nine pitches. Pirates’ pitchers are now responsible for the only two immaculate innings in the league this year. Colin Holderman had the other this year (May 4 against Tampa Bay).
Oviedo finished the afternoon with 5.2 innings pitched, three runs, six hits, two walks and five strikeouts. the right-hander was aggressive in the zone with 63 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
The Pirates pushed across two runs in the second inning. Suwinski plated Santana with a ground out to first and Jason Delay produced a run-scoring single to left to make it a 3-2 game.
Castro and Delay each produced two hits in the loss for the Pirates, who still have yet to win a series in the month of May.
Up next, the Pirates make their first West Coast road trip of the season. After an off day on Thursday, they will play a weekend series against the Mariners in Seattle before a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.