In his last four starts prior to Friday night against the Marlins, Wil Crowe posted a 9.72 ERA in 16.2 innings of work. Crowe was able to turn it around, giving the Pirates five strong innings en route to a 2-1 Pittsburgh victory over the Marlins in Miami. For Crowe, he picked up his first win since July 30.
Crowe looked to be in complete control most of the night. In his five innings, allowed three hits, one walk and fanned five Marlins’ batters. It was the first time that he allowed less than two runs in a start since Aug. 11 vs. St. Louis.
Crowe was able to avoid two big hiccups that have plagued him for most of the year. Not only did he only issue one free pass, but he also didn’t allow the Marlins to hit a ball over the fence. Crowe hasn’t allowed a homer in two straight starts for just the second time this season.
The Pirates were pretty quiet offensively, but were able to do just enough to earn the win. The Bucs got the game’s first run when Jacob Stallings hit a ball passed Jazz Chisholm Jr., allowing Bryan Reynolds to score. Chisholm was charged with an error on the play.
A sacrifice fly off to center field off the bat of Cole Tucker plated Colin Moran gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Tucker also recorded a base hit in the first inning of this one.
The Marlins scored in the second when Eddy Alvarez drove in a run with a two-out single in the second, tying the game 1-1. Wil Crowe’s struggles in the second inning continue, as he now has an 8.06 in the second inning in 2021.
After allowing a leadoff triple, Chris Stratton was able to keep Miami off the scoreboard by striking out the side to pick up his sixth save of the season. The Pirates improved to 7-3 over their last 10 games with the win.
Game two of the series is set for tomorrow at 6:10. Bryse Wilson (2-7, 4.97 ERA) will pitch for the Pirates opposite Edward Cabrera (0-1, 6.61 ERA) for the Marlins.
Stat of the Game:
- Crowe had not faced the Marlins this season, but he struggled against them in two starts last season. Over his 6 innings against the Marlins in 2020, he allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits – three of which went over the fence. He walked four and struck out five in those two starts. He especially struggled against them in Miami, when he was tagged for 6 earned runs in 2.1 innings – his final appearance with the Nationals.
- Going to be Close!: After his performance on Friday night, Reynolds’ average is sitting at .299 and his OPS resides at .901. If he were able to finish they year above both a .300 batting average and a .900 OPS, Reynolds would be the first Pirate to do so since Andrew McCutchen in 2014. That year, McCutchen had a .314 average and a .952 OPS. Reynolds’ average was as high as .316 on the last day of June, but has been teetering the .300 line since the end of August.
- Starting Hot: In their last four games, Pirates starting pitchers have combined to give up just three runs in 18 innings of work (1.50 ERA). Crowe allowed one run in five innings on Friday, Connor Overton shutout the Reds through three innings on Thursday, Mitch Keller gave up two runs in five innings on Wednesday and Dillon Peters blanked the Reds over five innings on Tuesday night. It’s no coincidence that the Pirates have a 3-1 record in those games.
- Alford Heating Up: Since the start of this month, Anthony Alford is now hitting .282 (11 for 39) in 12 games played. He’s done damage in the power department too, as he entered play with a .600 slugging percentage and an .897 OPS. Since being recalled by the Pirates in early August, Alford is batting .250 (17 for 68), and has raised his OPS on the season from .325 to .685. Strikeouts remain a concern for Alford, but he’s been hitting the ball hard and has rebounded nicely after a disastrous start to the season.