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Pirates Takeaways: Shelton’s Use Of Opener Paid Off Despite Loss

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PITTSBURGH — It’s no secret that Pirates pitchers have had their troubles in the first and second innings so far this season. In fact, the Pirates have allowed a run in at least one of the first two frames in all but one contest coming into Wednesday’s matchup with the Brewers.

The Bucs used Dillon Peters in an opener to begin the game. Peters pitched two perfect innings before allowing a walk to begin the third. Peters was able to what almost no other Pirates starter has been able to do this season, and that’s hold the opposition scoreless through the first two frames.

Peters said it was business as usual for him in the new role. “Just happy to be throwing the first pitch of the game. They told me last night I was going to open and I just took the same mindset each day of pounding the zone.”

After Peters’ night was done, Bryse Wilson, who was originally scheduled to start the game, came on and was just as impressive as Peters. He allowed just one hit over four innings and picking up four strikeouts.

The strategy not only worked for the first two innings, but Wilson looked better and more comfortable than he has in any other game this season. “I think for me, the past experience with doing it in Atlanta, the up and down, the bullpen to starting helped me a lot today,” said Wilson. “Just not really thinking and throwing my best pitches in the zone was the big thing for me.”

The savvy move paid off for both Peters and Wilson, and it kept the Pirates in the game until the Brewers took the lead in the seventh.

Filled In Fine

Diego Castillo got the first crack at short, replacing the injured Kevin Newman. He was tested immediately when the first batter of the game, Andrew McCutchen, bounced one to short. The play was pretty routine, but Castillo looked smooth at the position.

“He did a nice job,” Derek Shelton said about Castillo’s night in the field. “The one thing we know about Diego is if you hit the ball to him he’s going to catch it.”

Castillo went on to make the play on all five of his defensive chances. The majority of Castillo’s experience in the field has come at short in his professional career. 

Streaks Snapped

Ke’Bryan Hayes saw his five-game hitting streak get snapped in the loss, though he did reach base twice on walks. In the five games of his streak, Hayes was 7 for 16 with two doubles, three runs driven in and seven walks.

He wasn’t the only Pirates player who saw his hitting streak come to an end. Daniel Vogelbach hit safely in a seven straight, which tied a career-high. He collected nine hits, including two doubles and two homers during the seven-game stretch. Like Hayes, Vogelbach was on base via a base on balls in this one.

Lace Up Your Gloves

There was a bit of an oddity when home plate umpire Jerry Meals told Vogelbach he needed to strap up his batting gloves. Vogelbach, if you hadn’t noticed, hits with his batting gloves loose and not laced.

Shelton on the exchange, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before and that was kind of my point when I was talking to Jerry about it. We had a conversation that he wanted them to be strapped and so we strapped them the rest of the game.”

Just Have To Tip Your Cap

Some games, you just have to tip your hat to the opponent and that’s what the Pirates should be doing after this game. Aaron Ashby had some control issues, but was just about untouchable as the Pirates mustered only one hit off him.

Kolten Wong made an unbelievable double play in a big spot for Milwaukee. Even though the Pirates scored a run on the play, Wong prevented the inning from becoming a big one for the Pirates.

“It was a huge play in the game. That’s why they handed him multiple Gold Gloves,” Shelton said about the play after the game. “It was a big turning point in the game.”

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