The Pirates got a 4-for-5 day from Adam Frazier and five scoreless innings from the bullpen in a 6-4, ten-inning win in Atlanta. They got some rare first-inning runs and tied the game twice after falling behind.
In the first, it looked like they were going to waste a leadoff double from Frazier. With two outs, though, the team’s major league catcher, Jacob Stallings, lined his fourth home run of the year to left.
Wil Crowe had a shaky start, but managed to last five innings. He gave up seven hits and three walks. Crowe still mostly battled through, including a strikeout of Freddie Freeman on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded. He made one costly mistake that resulted in a three-run home run by William Contreras. He also gave up a bomb to Dansby Swanson.
The Pirates couldn’t get any runs from the second through the fifth. They had one big chance, which came in the fourth. They loaded the bases with two outs, but Ben Gamel took two curves for strikes and swung at a third curve that bounced on the plate. I’m pretty sure the Pirates have lots of guys in the minors who could do that. Probably on the ground crew, too.
The Bucs eventually tied the game, 3-3, in the top of the sixth when Bryan Reynolds led off with a home run to straightaway center, his fourth homer of the year. The Braves went back into the lead in the bottom half when Swanson led off with a homer off Crowe, which brought on Clay Holmes.
The bullpen hung in against the team that leads the majors in dingers. Holmes, David Bednar, Chris Stratton and Richard Rodriguez each threw a scoreless inning, with a single off Bednar being the only hit allowed. That put the game into extras.
In the tenth, the Pirates came out hitting. Adam Frazier, Kevin Newman and Bryan Reynolds all singled, driving in the free runner and leaving the bases loaded. Stallings hit into a force at the plate, but Gregory Polanco hit a line drive to moderately deep left that went for a sacrifice fly. That gave the Bucs a two-run lead. Erik Gonzalez then kept the game from dragging by grounding out on a 3-0 pitch.
Rodriguez came out for a second inning in the bottom of the tenth and disposed of Freeman and Marcell Ozuna on three pitches. It then took him ten pitches to get Ozzie Albies, but a pop up ended it.
Frazier is now batting .339 and leads the majors in hits, and probably doesn’t give a you-know-what about exit velocity. With all of baseball batting a collective .236 coming into today, you’d think some on-base starved contender would find Frazier very valuable. But do we really want to see him go?