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Pirates Late Rally Falls Short; Diamondbacks Edge Out Pirates 8-6

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Back in action after a day off coming on the heels of a three-game sweep over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Pirates welcomed the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first of three games at PNC Park.

The Diamondbacks blasted five home runs, and a late rally from the Pirates fell short as Arizona went on to defeat the Bucs 8-6.

The Pirates got on the board first for the fourth straight game. After a leadoff double and advancing to third base, Ke’Bryan Hayes was able to score on a passed ball charged to Arionza’s catcher Daulton Varsho.

Jack Suwinski was able to score on a Tyler Heineman groundout to even the score 2-2, and Suwinski put the Pirates ahead with an RBI-single in the third. Suwinski went 3 for 3 on the night, marking the first time he’s collected three hits in a game.

Christian Walker got the Diamondbacks on the board with a solo shot to deep left field in the second, and Alek Thomas put Arizona ahead with a sacrifice fly later in the inning. Thomas added a deep homer of his own in the top of the fourth to even the score at 3-3.

The Diamondbacks began the fifth inning with four straight hits, including a Ketel Marte two-run homerun. After Anthony Banda relieved JT Brubaker, David Peralta scored on a wild pitch, extending the Dbacks lead to 6-3.

It was a start Brubaker will look to put behind him, as he was tagged with six runs (five earned) in four-plus innings. He allowed eight hits, three of which were homers, walked one and struck out three.

Arizona hit back-to-back homers in the seventh, one from Jake McCarthy and one from Thomas, the latter’s first career two-homer game. The two long balls put the D-backs ahead by five runs.

After a Tucupita Marcano double and a Heineman walk, Hayes blasted his second homer of the year in the ninth, getting the Bucs right back in the game with a single swing of the bat.

After the Hayes homer, the Diamondbacks called on Mark Melancon to finish this one off, and the former Pirates closer picked up the save to seal the victory.

The Pirates and D-backs will meet again on Saturday afternoon. Roansy Contreras (1-0, 2.55 ERA) will square off with Zach Davies (2-3, 4.84 ERA).

Takeaways

  • Last Year’s Problem: Brubaker only allowed five homers in his first 10 starts to begin 2022, but Arizona combined to hit three homers off the right-hander in this one. Prior to this start, Brubaker had done a good job of limiting the long ball after being snake bitten by it a season ago. In 24 starts last season, Brubaker yielded 28 homers, tied for the third-highest mark in the National League.
  • Quite A Change: The Pirates played as close to perfect baseball that could be played in their three-game sweep over the Dodgers. They hit well, pitched well and played well defensively for the bulk of the three games. In this game, while they managed to reach home plate six times, their pitching and defense really let them down. Brubaker had a rough start after a string of strong starts, the bullpen wasn’t sharp and the Bucs defense committed a few miscues that opened the door for some runs for Arizona. 
  • Power Stroke: After hitting his first home run of the year against the Padres, Hayes is finally starting to tap into his power, as evident by his two extra-base hits on Friday night. In fact, he now has four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers) in his last six contests. Hayes’ ISO now sits at over .100, currently residing at .110.

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