The Pirates missed another chance for their first series sweep of the season, wasting a strong start from J.T. Brubaker in a 2-1 loss to Cleveland. It was déja vu all over again, as the Pirates were dominated by a struggling starter and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Brubaker was perfect until there was one out in the fifth. Then Harold Ramirez, naturally, connected for his third home run in two days.
In the sixth, Brubaker got the side in order. In the seventh, with the score tied, he left with two out and a runner on second. He’d thrown just 77 pitches, but Derek Shelton stuck, rigidly as always, to his preconceived notion that inexperienced starters have to come out at the drop of a hat. Chasen Shreve came on to face the left-handed Josh Naylor, with first base open and a right-handed hitter on deck. Naylor singled to put the Indians up, 2-1.
Brubaker for the game allowed just three hits. He walked nobody and tied his career high with nine strikeouts.
The Pirates’ hitters were helpless against rookie Sam Hentges. He came in with an ERA of 7.57, with opponents batting 361/430/563 against him. The Pirates managed just two hits and a walk in five innings, and Hentges only had to throw 57 pitches. After a two-out double by Bryan Reynolds in the first, he retired ten straight.
The Pirates managed to tie the game in the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Jacob Stallings. They got runners on first and third with one out in the seventh, but pinch hitter Gregory Polanco popped out and Adam Frazier lined out.
The Pirates finished with six hits, five of them singles. Clay Holmes and Austin Davis each threw a scoreless inning to finish up.