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Yoshi Tsutsugo Walks it Off For Pirates in 4-3 Win Over Cardinals

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After getting shutout on just five hits Saturday night, the Pirates’ bats again fell flat against the Cardinals for the first eight innings of the game.

That was until the ninth when the Pirates faced a 3-1 deficit against Cardinals’ closer Alex Reyes.

After a leadoff walk for Bryan Reynolds, Jacob Stallings drew a walk with one out, bringing up Yoshi Tsutsugo.

On the first pitch of the at bat, Tsutsugo crushed a three-run homer to right field, walking it off for the Pirates as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Tsutsugo’s fifth homer as a Pirate was a big one as the Pirates were able to draw a split with the Cardinals in the final game of the four game series.

Tsutsugo was responsible for all four of the Pirates runs as he set a new career high for RBIs.

The ninth inning was the first time the Pirates had a hit or runner in scoring position since the fourth.

The Bucs were able to get to Cardinals’ Kwang Hyun Kim the last time they faced him in June scoring four runs off him, but Kim had the upper hand this time around. He went four innings, allowed one run on just four baserunners and struck out three.

The Pirates first run of the game came in the fourth when after three straight singles to open the inning, Tsutsugo hit a sacrifice fly with one out that scored Ke’Bryan Hayes.

Hayes later left the game in the eighth with right hand discomfort, but x-rays were negative and Derek Shelton said postgame that he is day-to-day.

Tyler O’Neill was responsible for driving in the game’s first run with an RBI triple off the Clemente Wall.

The Cardinals retook the lead on a Tommy Edman two-run homer, making the score 3-1.

Chad Kuhl, David Bednar and Chris Stratton kept the Pirates in the game as they combined to go four scoreless for Pittsburgh.

Wil Crowe went five innings, gave up three runs on five hits, three walks while picking up four strikeouts on 90 pitches/53 strikes. Efficiency was again a problem for Crowe, who entered game action averaging the most pitches per inning (18.8) among any pitchers to throw at least 75 innings this year.

The Pirates have an off day tomorrow before heading to Chicago for six straight games – two vs. the White Sox and four vs. the Cubs. 

Stat of the Game:

  • Colin Moran has done a ton of damage against the Cardinals in 2021. After picking up another hit Sunday afternoon, Moran is hitting .364 (20 for 55) with a double, three homers and 11 RBIs in 16 games vs St. Louis. At PNC Park, he’s hitting .438 (14 for 32) against them on the season. Last year against the Cardinals, Moran hit just .222 with a .637 OPS in eight games. 

Takeaways:

  • Yoshi’s Getting it Done: After the walk off homer and the sac fly, Tsutsugo now has 11 RBIs in 13 games and just 31 plate appearances since joining the Pirates. He’s batting .333 (9 for 27) and seven of those nine hits have gone for extra bases – two doubles, a triple and five homers. In 118 plate appearances with the Rays and Dodgers prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Tsutsugo had just four extra base hits, all doubles with Tampa Bay. Coming into today, he raised his OPS on the season 180 points (.451 to .631) since he was signed by the Bucs. 
  • Crowe’s Wings Get Tired: Crowe’s ERA on the year in innings one through four is a solid, yet unspectacular 4.31 (37er/77.1ip). Once he gets to the fifth inning, Crowe has gotten shelled. After serving up a two-run homerun to Edman in the fifth today, Crowe has a 9.45 ERA (14er/13.1ip). That ERA is the highest against him in any inning (minimum 10ip). Opponents are hitting .304 and have a .571 slugging percentage in the fifth off him.
  • Kuhl’s New Role: After his two innings of relief work, Chad Kuhl has looked strong in four appearances out of the Pirates’ bullpen since moving into the role after coming off the injured-list. In those four appearances, Kuhl has pitched five innings and punching out six. He’s allowed one earned run on five hits and has issued a pair of free passes. It will be interesting to see what the Pirates do with Kuhl moving forward, both in the near future and longer-term.
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