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Steven Brault Dazzles Again; Pirates Drop Pitcher’s Duel to Dodgers

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Making his third start of the season for the Pirates, Steven Brault turned in another quality effort on the mound, but the Pirates offense continues to struggle in the 2-1 loss to the Dodgers.

In his first career start at Dodger Stadium, the California-native was able to hold the potent Dodger offense scoreless through his 5.2 innings of work. He struck out four, allowed just three hits, one walk and one hit batter on 76 pitches, 50 of which were for strikes.

Brault allowed a leadoff single to Trea Turner, but proceeded to face the minimum through three innings. His ERA on the season now sits at 1.84 with a record of 0-1.

After the left-hander was lifted with two on and two outs in the fifth, Nick Mears walked Justin Turner on four pitches. Mears got AJ Pollock to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.

The first run of the game came in the seventh after Wilmer Difo laid down a sacrifice bunt that first baseman Cody Bellinger fielded but threw into right field, allowing Gregory Polanco to score and give the Pirates a 1-0 lead, with Difo and Castro advancing to second and third respectively.

The next batter, Hoy Park, lined a ball that was caught in left field that looked deep enough to score a run, but Rodolfo Castro, who was on third base, did not break for home. Ke’Bryan Hayes then struck out before a Bryan Reynolds intentional walk.

Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts then went to the pen, and Blake Treinen got Colin Moran to bounce out to first, limiting the damage.

The Dodgers answered almost immediately after outfielder Billy McKinney homered off of Anthony Banda in the home half of the inning.

Max Muncy’s 26th homer of the season gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the eighth, before Kenley Jansen picked up the save in the ninth.

Rookie Justin Bruhil, who got the start tonight for the Dodgers, went just one scoreless inning. Andre Jackson, making his big league debut, piggy-backed off of Bruhil and pitched the next four innings without giving up a run. He yielded just two hits, walked out four and struck out five.

The second game of the series will be tomorrow night with first pitch again at 10:10. Wil Crowe (3-7, 5.27 ERA) will get the start for the Pirates. The Dodgers will give the ball to the veteran lefty David Price (4-1, 3.60 ERA).

Stat of the Game: 

  • With the loss tonight, the Pirates have dropped 14 straight to Los Angeles with their last win coming on 6/6/18 at PNC Park. The Bucs have also now lost 11 straight games at Dodger Stadium, last winning 8/14/16 – just over five years ago.

Takeaways: 

  • Sizzlin’ Steven: In his last 13 starts dating back to the start of last season, Brault carries a 2.35 ERA (15 ER/57.1 IP). Thanks to that stretch, he has lowered his career ERA by 33 points (4.88 to 4.55). Even with the impressive run he has had, Brault has only gotten the win once in those 13 starts (9/17/20 vs. St. Louis).
  • Red Hot Reynolds: Reynolds extended his hitting streak to five games with a base hit in the third inning. During that span, he is 7 for 15 (.467) with a pair of homers, six runs driven in, three walks and three runs scored. His average is currently .309, and hasn’t seen it below the .300 mark since June 20 (.299).
  • RISP-less: The Pirates went 0-for-10 tonight when batting with runners in scoring position. This has been an issue for the Pirates all season. Entering tonight, the Pirates were dead last on the season in average (.215), slugging (.321) and OPS (.628) with runners in scoring position.
  • A Record!: Newly signed Yoshi Tsutsugo doubled after pinch hitting for Chasen Shreve in the top of the ninth, becoming the 56th player that the Pirates have used this season. That is the most players used by the Pirates in the history of the organization.
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