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Pirates Doomed by Velasquez’s Struggles in 11-5 Loss to White Sox



Pittsburgh Pirates, Vince Vealasquez

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Pirates starter Vince Velasquez wasn’t able to escape the third inning as the Bucs were unable to overcome his struggles in their 11-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox at PNC Park on Saturday night.

Velasquez (0-2) labored in the third frame and allowed the White Sox (4-5) to score four runs. He surrendered three hits in the inning and issued three free passes to go on top of it.

Andrew Benintendi drove in the first run of the inning by dumping a single into left field which allowed Tim Anderson to score. Benintendi eventually scored on a Velasquez wild pitch.

Yasmani Grandal plated a pair with a single to center with two outs to put the White Sox up 5-1. After Velasquez walked the following batters, Velasquez was lifted in favor of righty Chase De Jong, who pitched 2.2 innings of relief, allowing one run.

Velasquez finished the night with a pitching line of 2.2 innings, six hits, five earned runs, four walks and one strikeout. 44 of his 75 pitches went for strikes.

An Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly in the fifth inning was the lone blemish against De Jong. Andrus put the White Sox ahead 6-2.

The Pirates (5-3) scored the game’s first run on a Carlos Santana single to right field, plating Andrew McCutchen. He later recorded an RBI-single in the fifth inning. It was Santana’s third straight game with at least one RBI and second consecutive game knocking in a pair.

Speaking of McCutchen, he hit his first home run back with the Pirates with a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning.

McCutchen also had a single, double, drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and stole a base. He raised his season average to .375.

Santana reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances with three base hits and a walk. He became the 10th Pirates’ player in franchise history and the first since Kevin Young on June 16, 1997 with three-plus hits and two-plus RBIs on their birthday.

The Pirates lead didn’t last long as the White Sox quickly tied the score at 1-all in the top of the second on an Oscar Colás run-scoring single. Colás drove in another run for the White Sox in the seventh to put Chicago up 7-4.

The White Sox extended their lead even further in the seventh as Andrus and Anderson delivered RBI-singles and Luis Robert Jr. drove them both in to put Chicago up 11-4.

Bryan Reynolds drove in Oneil Cruz with a sacrifice fly in the third, giving him six straight games driving in at least one run. That’s the longest streak in a single season by a Pirates’ player since Starling Marte in 2015. A single in the fifth inning extended Reynolds’ hitting streak to eight games. He also stole a base for the first time this season.

Rodolfo Castro snapped an 0 for 9 skid with a single in the fourth and added a double and a walk to his ledger in his next two plate appearances.

The loss snapped the Pirates four-game winning streak.

Pittsburgh will try and capture the series win on Easter Sunday. The Pirates’ starter will be right-hander Johan Oviedo (0-0, 7.71 ERA). He will face fellow righty Michael Kopech (0-1, 13.50 ERA). First pitch: 1:35.

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