The Pirates better find a way to bring Yoshi Tsutsugo back next year.
The Bucs seemed headed toward another of their dreary, offense-free losses in the finale of their four game series against St. Louis. They trailed, 3-1, headed into the bottom of the ninth. Cards’ closer Alex Reyes walked Bryan Reynolds and Jacob Stallings on either side of a strikeout of Colin Moran. That brought up Tsutsugo, who hit the first pitch he saw over the right field stands to give the Pirates a 4-3 win.
Before Tsutsugo’s bomb, everything was all too familiar. Wil Crowe pitched fairly well for four innings. The only run in that time came in the third. With Tommy Edman on via a double, Tyler O’Neill hit a two-out drive that eluded Tsutsugo’s leaping try and banged off the right field wall for a triple. I think I can say “leaping” here, because Tsutsugo did appear to leave the ground by a little.
Crowe had survived a pair of two-out walks in a 24-pitch first inning. He got a break in the second when Dylan Carlson overslid second on a leadoff single, then another in the fourth when Carlson got caught stealing. In the fifth, Edman blasted a two-run home run, following a walk to pinch hitter Matt Carpenter. Crowe now has a fifth-inning ERA of 9.45. (He’s been very good in innings one, three and four, but for some reason is also terrible in the second inning.) Edman now has 15 RBIs against the Pirates. The most he has against any other team is four.
The Pirates were mostly helpless against Kwang Hyun Kim and the Cards’ bullpen. Kim was making his first start since August 7 and went four innings, allowing just three hits and a walk. Three relievers followed over the next four innings, allowing no hits and a walk.
Those three hits all came in a row in the fourth inning. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Colin Moran started the inning with singles, loading the bases with nobody out. The Pirates managed only one run out of that, on a sacrifice fly by Tsutsugo.
Crowe left after five and the Pirates’ bullpen shut the Cards down. Chad Kuhl, who’s doing just fine in relief, allowed just a hit and a walk, and fanned three, over two innings. David Bednar threw a perfect eighth and Chris Stratton struck out the side in the ninth.
That all set the stage for Tsutsugo in the ninth. In 31 plate appearances with the Pirates, he now has two doubles, a triple, five home runs and 11 RBIs. Stratton got the win to go 5-0.
One important note: Hayes left the game with a right hand contusion. He’s considered day-to-day.