On May 2, Arizona was two games over .500. Since then, up until last night, they’d gone 12-55, an almost unimaginable (well, not for Pirate fans) stretch of misery. But they hadn’t gotten to play the Pirates. Last night, the Bucs dropped a 4-2 game to the D’backs.
Arizona came into the game with the NL’s worst pitching by a wide margin (ahead of the Pirates, who are 14th). The Pirates’ special brand of offensive ineptitude proved stronger, though. They had ten hits, but stranded 11 and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They weren’t helped by an 0-for-5 game from Kevin Newman, whom Derek Shelton cleverly put in the leadoff spot even though he now has the lowest OBP on the team. In fact, among qualifiers, he has the lowest OBP in baseball.
The only time the Pirates broke through was in the seventh, when Arizona put in a struggling Brett de Geus with two on and two out. De Geus is in the majors because he was a Rule 5 selection who was waived by Texas, which selected him, and claimed by Arizona. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds greeted him with RBI singles, but after a walk, the D’backs got out of Rule 5 mode and the Pirates’ offense went back to helpless.
By the time the Pirates scored, Arizona had a four-run lead because Chase De Jong couldn’t keep the ball in the park. He went five innings, but he gave up back-to-back home runs in the second to Pavin Smith and the weak-hitting Josh VanMeter. In the fifth, Eduardo Escobar connected with a man on to make it 4-0.
The bullpen kept the Pirates in the game, as they’re so often called on to do. Duane Underwood, Jr., just back from the injured list, and Chasen Shreve and Kyle Keller each threw a scoreless inning.
The Pirates managed to get the tying runs on base in the ninth. One of them was Jared Oliva, who had two hits after entering in a double switch. The game ended when pinch hitter Gregory Polanco, who’s still on the roster because he just is, struck out.