Game Recap: Ben Bombs the Braves Bigly

After scoring just ten total runs in their previous seven games, the Pirates put up 11 in an 11-1 win over Atlanta.  The outburst matched their highest run total of the year; in fact, it was only the second time they’ve reached double figures.

For a change, the offense didn’t come from the top three hitters in the order.  With lineup mainstays Erik Gonzalez and Ka’ai Tom on the injured list, the Pirates were forced to turn to Ben Gamel and newcomer John Nogowski.  The Pirates got something very different from the usual black holes at the number 5 and 6 spots.  Gamel hit two home runs and a double, and drove in a career high six runs.  Nogowski started his Pirate tenure with two hits, a walk and three runs scored.

Chase De Jong didn’t get off to a great start.  After a leadoff single by Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman doubled to right and, while Phillip Evans played tiddlywinks with the ball, Acuna scored.  The Braves ended up with the bases loaded, but Orlando Arcia lined out.

De Jong had just occasional trouble after that.  The Braves got two on in the third and fifth, and went down in order in the second and fourth.  De Jong needed 92 pitches to get through five innings, but he gave up just four hits and three walks total, and no more runs.

The Pirates took a while to get anything going against Max Fried, but they took the lead for good in the fourth.  After Nogowski walked, Gamel blasted his fifth homer of the year off the lefty Fried, 421 feet into the shrubs in center.  That put the Bucs up, 2-1.

Gamel’s blast gave the Pirates all the runs they’d need, but they added on in bunches.  In the sixth, Nogowski singled in a run and Gamel doubled in another.  A familiar face, Edgar Santana, came on to let two more runs in on a grounder and a wild pitch.  That made it 6-1.

Three more runs came home on a three-run shot by Gamel, his sixth homer of the year.  This one traveled 412 feet and hit the batter’s eye next to the shrubs.  The final two runs came in the eighth on a welcome development;  Ke’Bryan Hayes went the other way for his fourth bomb of the year with Adam Frazier aboard.

Clay Holmes, Sam Howard, Kyle Crick and Kyle Keller each threw a scoreless inning.  Howard fanned three in his inning and Keller struck out the side in the ninth, giving the staff a dozen strikeouts total.  De Jong got his second career win and first with the Pirates.  Aside from Gamel and Nogowski, the Pirates got two hits apiece from Frazier, Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Jacob Stallings.  Frazier reached base four times.