The Pirates got excellent pitching from Chad Kuhl and their bullpen, and beat Atlanta, 2-1, on a bases loaded walk to Bryan Reynolds. Newly promoted Rodolfo Castro scored the winning run. The Bucs have now won three in a row.
Kuhl seems like a different pitcher since returning from the injured list, and apparently didn’t have any blisters today. He threw six innings on 97 pitches, walking nobody. The only problem he ran into was an Orlando Arcia home run with two out in the fifth. Kuhl gave up just three other hits, all singles, and the Braves had only one at-bat against him — in fact, only one the entire game — with a runner in scoring position. Kuhl fanned seven.
Arcia’s bomb tied the game after the Pirates got a run in the third off Ian Anderson. Adam Frazier led off the inning with a single, took third on a double by Ke’Bryan Hayes, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Reynolds.
The Pirates had plenty of other chances to score, but they went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13. They left two on in the first, third and fifth. Cole Tucker singled as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth, but got thrown out stealing. In the eighth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two out. A pinch hitter for Jared Oliva might have been in order, but the Pirates don’t bother with a bench. Oliva dribbled one in front of the plate that the catcher picked up, then stepped on the plate for a force.
Once Kuhl was out, the Pirates went with Chris Stratton, David Bednar and Richard Rodriguez. Each threw a scoreless inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Castro led off as a pinch hitter against Tyler Matzek. After falling behind 1-2, Castro worked an eight-pitch walk. Frazier singled and Hayes walked to load the bases. Reynolds drew a four-pitch walk to end it.
Reynolds drove in both runs without getting a hit. Hayes had two doubles. Rodriguez got the win to go 4-1, and sure had a better ninth than Matzek. Just in case the Braves might want to upgrade their crappy bullpen.