The bats that were missing last night showed up tonight, with the Pittsburgh Pirates defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 and coming within 4 in the Central.
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FINAL: Pittsburgh Pirates 6, Tampa Bay Rays 2
- The bats were working – and early at that! Jose Osuna started it off with a double in the 1st, scoring Andrew McCutchen, then a wild pitch by Rays’ pitcher Blake Snell, allowed David Freese to score from third. Finally, an Elias Diaz single brought Osuna and Josh Bell home. In the 4th, Josh Bell homered, bringing the score to 5-2 and then in the 5th, Osuna doubled, bringing home McCutchen. Early production pumps this team up.
- After an off-night yesterday, Felipe Rivero was back tonight, sitting down the Rays in the 9th with two strike outs in 12 pitches.
- This is the most important takeaway you may ever read. This afternoon, umpire John Tumpane saved the life of an unnamed woman attempting to commit suicide from the Roberto Clemente Bridge. He happened upon the woman, according to the Post Gazette’s Stephen Nesbitt, as he was walking across the bridge after a run and lunch before work. He stepped in and helped a stranger who needed it. We all need to strive to do the same.
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) June 29, 2017
- As with all unbelievable performances in sports, eventually, those superstars come back down to Earth. That is happening with Ivan Nova. Initially heralded this season for his lights out performances on the mound, his last two outings have been less than stellar. Which is to say that he pitched OKAY tonight – just not up to the stuff he’d displayed early in the season. If you need any indication of his performance compared to earlier starts, look no further than the walk he issued to Rays’ pitcher Blake Snell in the 4th. Snell was called up from their AAA team for this start and, as an American League pitcher, doesn’t bat but a few times a season. Up until recently, Nova was practically allergic to walks, issuing only 11 to this point in the season. He left the game after 5, giving up 7 hits, 2 runs walking 2 and striking out 1.
- Nova left after 5, the Pirates’ struggling bullpen needs more help from that out of the starters.
Line of the Night
There are several candidates for this spot tonight – all of them Pirates rookies, but I’m giving it to Tony Watson. The beleaguered (an adjective usually reserved for articles about Jung Ho Kang) pitcher came into the 7th, gave up 2 hits to Logan Morrison and Steven Souza Jr., but after a chat with Uncle Ray, got Wilson Ramos to ground into a double play, escaping the inning. Closing didn’t work for him, but Watson is proving he is still an effective late inning arm from the bullpen.
W – Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.08 ERA) L – Blake Snell (0-5, 5.36 ERA)
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Jameson Taillon (3-2), in is 10th start of the season after his stint on the DL with a testicular cancer diagnosis, closes out the series against Tampa Bay against a guy some thought had a chance of being his teammate in the offseason – Rays’ ace Chris Archer (6-4). Gametime at PNC Park is 7:05 p.m.