Game Recap: Pirates Blow All the Opportunities, Waste Fine Start From Brault

The Pirates got a terrific start from Steven Brault in just his third outing after returning from injury.  Unfortunately, they continued their season-long ineptitude with runners in scoring position and lost to the Dodgers, 2-1.

Brault lasted five and two-thirds, allowing just three hits, a walk and a hit batsman to a powerful LA lineup.  With the help of a first-inning double play, Brault faced the minimum number of batters until he issued a one-out walk in the fourth.  The Dodgers got nobody past first until Trea Turner doubled with one out in the sixth.  Brault hit the next batter, then got Albert Pujols to pop up.  He’d only thrown 76 pitches at that point, but Derek Shelton sent in Nick Mears to replace him.  Mears walked Justin Turner on four pitches to load the bases, but got A.J. Pollock to ground out.

The Pirates meanwhile were doing what they do best.  The Dodgers went with an opener, Justin Bruihl, who had just three and two-thirds innings of major league experience.  After an inning, Dave Roberts went to Andre Jackson, who was making his major league debut.  He threw four innings.  And the Pirates couldn’t score off either.

They had chances.  They stranded two runners in the second.  In the third, Ke’Bryan Hayes got thrown out trying to take third with one out on a Bryan Reynolds single.  They stranded two more in the fifth.

In the seventh, the Pirates got a gift.  Gregory Polanco got hit with a pitch and Rodolfo Castro reached on an infield hit.  Wilmer Difo, batting for Mears, laid down a bunt and Cody Bellinger threw it into right field.  After the Dodgers unsuccessfully argued that Difo interfered with the throw (he didn’t appear to be inside the line), the Pirates had a run, as well as runners at second and third with nobody out.  Naturally, they failed to score.  Hoy Park lined out to left and Castro failed to tag.  Hayes then struck out and, after an intentional walk to Reynolds, Colin Moran grounded out.

The lead didn’t last long, as the Pirates’ lefty relievers were no match for the Dodgers’ left-handed hitters.  In the bottom of the inning, Anthony Banda threw a fastball right down the middle to Billy McKinney and it landed in the right field seats.  The Pirates went down in order in the top of the eighth and, in the bottom half, Chasen Shreve gave up a home run to Max Muncy.

In the bottom of the ninth, Yoshi Tsutsugo made his first Pirate appearance, pinch hitting for Shreve with one out.  In the process, Tsutsugo became the 56th player to appear in a Pirate uniform this year, setting a team record.  He celebrated with a double to left, but all that accomplished was to give the Pirates a chance to fail some more with runners in scoring position.  Park and Hayes both grounded out, leaving the Pirates 0-for-10 w/RISP and a total of ten runners stranded.