Pirates Postgame Reaction: August 6 vs Twins
By COMON Network Team
Final Score – Pittsburgh Pirates (3-10) 6, Minnesota Twins (10-3) 5
WP: Sam Howard (1-0) – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K – 18 pitches, 13 strikes
LP: Taylor Rogers (1-1) – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K – 15 pitches, 10 strikes
The Pirates flipped the script, breaking a seven-game losing streak in dramatic fashion with a 6-5 walk-off win over the Minnesota Twins at PNC Park. With the loss, the Pirates avoided a four-game sweep, and are now 3-10 overall.
The Twins drew first blood in the top of the first with a three-run homer by Miguel Sano. The Pirates answered, however, with a three-run bomb by Gregory Polanco, his first of the season, to tie it in the bottom half of the second.
Minnesota took the lead again fairly quickly, however, on a solo shot by Byron Buxton in the top of the fourth, and added insurance in the next inning on yet another home run, this one courtesy of Eddie Rosario.
The Pirates inched to within one in the bottom half of the eighth. In the ninth, the offense got the best of Twins closer Taylor Rogers. A single by Colin Moran, a double by Bryan Reynolds and a two-run single by Kevin Newman gave the Pirates a much-needed W.
The Bucs will look to keep it going tomorrow against the Tigers at home. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
COMON Network Team Commentary
- Thank you, Newman! The 7-game skid is over. Four walk-off hits last year and flips the pinch hit up the middle to win it. I’m going to contradict myself a bit from what you’ll read a little bit below this, but this is a win that can get a baseball team going a bit. We’ll see, I suppose.
- We got a glimpse of Gregory Polanco potentially starting to swing it a bit today like we got with Josh Bell yesterday. That home run was smashed to the Allegheny at 109.7 mph off the bat and at 27 degrees for a launch angle. Even the out he made the next at bat was a rocket off the wood. That ball left the stick at 102.7 and with an expected BA (xBA) of .560. Unlucky for Polanco there as it was caught without too much difficulty for Max Kepler in right. Those were the only two really hard hit balls against Kenta Maeda, who, other than the home-run pitch was pretty sharp in this game. The Polanco homer, by the way, was the second hardest hit ball all day, only trailing the 114 exit velo for Miguel Sano on his first-inning home run. Also I think Bryan Reynolds is on the right track. That guy wakes up and hits. He wasn’t going to be down forever.
- Chris Stratton looked good again. The 1.2 scoreless for him brings his ERA to 2.84 and it was a 67% strikes outing for him out of the pen. That’s something to circle as a bright spot today. Sam Howard got them out of a jam and pitched a scoreless ninth to give them the shot to win it. So props to him too. He’s looked good from the pen as well.
- I wrote the following before the ninth-inning comeback and this thought still stands so I’ll leave it here: I’ve pretty much completely shifted how I am looking at this season. I honestly don’t think I’m going to get mad or upset. at losses anymore. I want to see, as I’m sure Derek Shelton, Ben Cherington and the management staff do too, what the Pirates have and who may fit in for the future, and in order to do that, in some cases, you’re going to have to be willing to deal with failure. I don’t think this was ever a playoff team, even with the expanded rosters, considering what, especially now with injuries, is missing. Let’s just list some of the missing parts: Jameson Taillon (hurt), Chris Archer (whatever you opinion of him is), Kyle Crick (hurt), Keone Kela (COVID positive, not back yet), Edgar Santana (suspended), Michael Feliz (hurt), Nick Burdi (hurt) and there are more. Couple that in with one of the most dominant closers in baseball not being around due to what are really awful circumstances, but unexpected ones at that. I mean, nobody saw that coming. The Pirates aren’t going to win many games this year, but if we can find some silver linings, and CALL IT A REBUILD, I think we’ll all be fine. The organization can’t lie and can’t ignore what is going on. Be up front, unlike the last regime, and say “yah we know this is going to take some time,” and be active in the process of trying to build this thing back up.
Player of the Game – Gregory Polanco (PIT) – 3-R HR
- Axe the piggy back system: Well, I managed to make it almost 72 hours without ripping Derek Shelton. It was a good run. The decision to pull JT Brubaker after three innings today wasn’t quite as egregious as yanking Steven Brault in the middle of a perfect game Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but it was still unnecessary on Shelton’s part. Once again, the move blew up in his face. Cody Ponce came in with the game tied at three, and it didn’t take long for the Twinkies to be back ahead. Sure, hindsight is 20-20, but the Shelton and the Pirates should have learned something from Sunday’s loss. Pulling starters after three innings should be done out of desperation, not a pre-planned decision.
- Polanco’s blast probably not a sign of things to come: Was Gregory Polanco’s three-run bomb into the Allegheny River the start of a big season for him? Given everything we’ve seen over the past six years, the answer is probably no. His strikeout with a chance to win the game ninth might be an early indicator.
- Enjoy this one: The Pirates are going nowhere this season, and Kevin Newman’s heroics today won’t change that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t bask in today’s win. The Pirates beat a damn good team and had to fight pretty damn hard to do it against a damn good closer. The Bucs won’t have a lot of wins in 2020, so they should feel pretty damn good whenever they come around.
Player of the Game – Kevin Newman (PIT) – 2-R walk-off 1B
- JT Brubaker is human, after all. Making a spot start on Thursday afternoon, JT Brubaker allowed his first run(s) of the year when Miguel Sano lined a homer to make it 3-0 in the first. Brubaker settled down — going two more innings and allowing nobody else to cross the plate.
- Productive day for the Polanco’s. A pair of unrelated Polanco’s took the field at PNC Park on Thursday and both provided some production for their offense. Jorge Polanco of the Twins had two hits and a run scored. Gregory Polanco showed his first signs of life in 2020 by blasting a three-run home run into the Allegheny River. For the Pirates’ sake, hopefully it’s a sign of things to come with Greg, who is hitting just .091 so far.
- HOIST THE COLOURS!!! I didn’t know the next time we would get to see the Pirates win a game. Their last W was last Tuesday, well over a week ago. The Bucs came back in battling fashion, rallying in the ninth to walk it off and win 6-5. Seven-game skid is over. That felt good to type.
Player of the Game – Kevin Newman (PIT) – 2-R walk-off 1B
- JT Brubaker looked ok in his first MLB start. Obviously, you don’t like to see a pitching line of 3 IP and 3 ERs, but this Pirates team has 9 arms on the IL. They are running out of arms to throw. Sano mashed that sinker and there is not much you can do there.
- Polanco actually hit a ball is great to see considering he is making $8.6 million.
- Ponce looked rough today; a 58% first strike rate is not ideal. Forcing yourself to pitch from behind in almost half of the batters you face is BOLD strategy.
- Buxton and Rosario showed the Bucs that they are a great 3-4 punch behind the true big hitters Cruz and Sano.
- Maeda is just an absolute dog. Granted the Pirates bats are as usefully as some pool noodles right now, but three hits in six innings is impressive.
- Dyson did his best to almost single handedly produce a run in the eighth by stealing two bags and scoring on a Phillip Evans groundout.
- Moran is the best hitter on the team confirmed. Reynolds with a little two-bagger to move pinch runner Cole Tucker was textbook. Just needed that one hit and Kevin Newman delivered. Finally, the Pirates end the seven-game skid and improve to 3-10. Just win 20 this year. Please.
Player of the Game – Bryan Reynolds (PIT) – 2-4, 2B, scored game-winning run