PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates play their final game of the season against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon. And the end of this season series can’t come soon enough for the Pirates.
The Pirates lost yet again to the Braves on Tuesday night, falling 6-1 in the middle game of a three-game series at PNC Park. The Pirates are 0-6 against the defending World Series champions in 2022 and have scored just 12 runs.
The Pirates were shut down by Max Fried (12-4) on Tuesday night. The left-hander gave up one run on three hits in eight innings while striking out seven and walking one.
The only run the Pirates scored came on Michael Chavis’ home run down the left-field line in the second inning. The Pirates’ losing streak reached four games and they have also dropped 10 of their last 12.
“We know we’re going to have to score multiple runs,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “It’s challenging with (Fried) but (Chavis) took a good swing early and gave us the lead. It gives you the thought, ‘All right, he leaves some balls in the middle of the plate. We’re going to be able to get to him.’ After that, he didn’t leave anything in the middle of the plate.”
Chavis’ 13th homer of the season gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead, and JT Brubaker (3-11) made it hold up until a disastrous fifth inning. The Braves scored five runs in the inning as each of their first six batters had a hit.
Brubaker wound up pitching into the seventh inning for the second straight start. However, he allowed six runs and nine hits with eight strikeouts and one walk this time after shutting out the Boston Red Sox for seven innings in his previous outing.
Travis d’Arnaud led off the Braves’ big fifth inning with a tying home run to left field and things got worse,
Vaughn Grissom and Robbie Grossman hit back-to-back RBI singles to make it 3-1. Another run scored on Dansby Swanson’s fielder’s choice and Austin Riley capped the inning with a sacrifice fly as the Braves extended the lead to 5-1.
“It’s frustrating,” Brubaker said of the big inning. “It’s not something that you ever really expect to happen that quick. I have to find a way to change up the tempo and recognize it sooner.”
Riley also hit a run-scoring single in the seventh inning off Chase De Jong immediately after he relieved Brubaker.
Grissom, a rookie, had three hits.
Ke’Bryan Hayes made his return from the injured list prior to the game and went hitless in four at-bats.
Mitch Keller (4-9, 4.49) starts for the Pirates at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday against National League wins leader Kyle Wright (15-5, 3.14). That wraps up a nine-game homestand in which the Pirates are 2-6.
Keller left his previous start after two innings because of shoulder fatigue last Tuesday against the Red Sox and is 1-3 with a 3.45 ERA in his last six starts. Wright is 8-1 with a 3.39 ERA in his last 10 starts.