Game Recap: Pirates Blow Six-Run Lead, Chance at Sweep

A day after coming back from a six-run deficit, the Pirates blew a six-run lead of their own and lost to the Mets, 7-6.  In the process, they blew their umpteenth chance to pick up their first series sweep of the year.  The only positive to come out of the game was that Will Craig is no longer the frontrunner for the 2021 Double Dumbass of the Year Award.

The first inning was a riot, almost literally.  J.T. Brubaker started by getting out of a jam.  He walked Brandon Nimmo for the first of three times and a single put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Brubaker fanned Jeff McNeil, then hit J.D. Davis to load the bases.  But he struck out Dominic Smith and got Michael Conforto on a grounder to escape the inning.

The bottom half got wild.  After Adam Frazier grounded out, eight straight hitters reached against Taijuan Walker.  A Wilmer Difo double and Bryan Reynolds single brought in one run.  After a walk, John Nogowski doubled in two more.  Two walks loaded the bases, and then the fun really started.

Kevin Newman walloped one about five feet down the third base line, just foul.  The roller started to drift back toward the line and Walker flicked it with his glove toward the dugout.  The only problem was, the ball by then was touching the line and the ump immediately and correctly called it fair.  While Walker and catcher Tomas Nido doltishly argued the call instead of retrieving the ball, all three runners came around to score, frantically waved on by Joey Cora.  Mets’ manager Luis Rojas added to the hilarity by arguing the correct call in human-bumper-car fashion, earning him an ejection and probably a week or so watching the Yankees on MLB TV.

Unfortunately, Brubaker wasn’t up to the task.  Another leadoff walk to Nimmo cost him a run in the third.  In the fourth, two singles and a pinch-hit home run by Travis Blankenhorn, his first homer in the majors, made it 6-4.  Brubaker left after three and two-thirds, having allowed six hits and three walks.

Chris Stratton finished the fourth and got through two outs in the sixth.  He left with McNeil on first, and Smith greeted Austin Davis with a double down the right field line.  McNeil pulled up at third, but came in to score when Gregory Polanco’s throw dribbled back toward the infield with all the momentum of a Newman grounder.  That made it 6-5.

The Pirates had a chance to restore part of their lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases with nobody out and the top of the order up.  That set up a classically Pirate sequence.  Frazier and Difo both looked at third strikes.  Then Reynolds took two pitches in the strike zone, and swung and missed at one well outside.

Clay Holmes and David Bednar held the fort in the seventh and eighth innings.  But the 6-5 lead didn’t last long in the ninth.  Against Richard Rodriguez, Smith singled to lead off and Conforto followed with a home run.

Ben Gamel led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, but that’s as far as he got.  Rodriguez got the loss along with his third blown save.