Home Pittsburgh Sports College Football Pirates earn series win over Braves, 4-2

Pirates earn series win over Braves, 4-2

The Pittsburgh Pirates used six pitchers Sunday to defeat the Atlanta Braves 4-2. The contest nailed down a three-out-of-four series victory for the Buccos (10-8) over the best team in baseball entering the weekend, and concluded a 7-2 homestand at PNC Park.

Shortstop Clint Barmes led the offense by registering hit No. 800 in his career in a 2-for-3 day with 2 RBI, each coming in a clutch situation. Russell Martin also recorded two hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the second inning.

“At this point, I’m still showing up and throwing the uniform on,” Barmes said about his milestone. “I’ll take every one of those I got.”

Atlanta (13-5) started the day’s scoring in the top half of the second. Chris Johnson, Reed Johnson, Gerald Laird, and Andrelton Simmons rapped out four consecutive singles with one out, with Laird and Simmons recording RBIs on their base knocks.

The Pirates answered right away in the bottom half of the inning. Pedro Alvarez led-off with a single and Martin followed with a double into the North Side Notch that scored Alvarez from first.

Barmes then laced a single over a leaping Ramiro Pena at second base, dropping the ball into the outfield to bring Martin home and tie the contest.

“He was out there grinding today, the first ball he hit well to the right side to drive in the run,” Hurdle said. “That was really important for us to be down-two quick and then three minutes, two minutes we’re back tied.”

Pittsburgh took the lead for good in the sixth, with Neil Walker leading off with a single and advancing to third on a deep fly-ball by Alvarez and a ground-out by Martin. Barmes came up and again came up big, rolling a ball over second base and legging out a RBI infield single to score Walker.

The basehit gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead, which the Buccos never relinquished.

In the next inning, Pittsburgh picked up an insurance run. With the bases loaded, Travis Snider scored on a wild pitch by Luis Avilan giving Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead heading to the eighth.

The back-end of the Pirate bullpen again shut the door on the opposition, with Tony Watson working a perfect eighth inning to set Jason Grilli up for his seventh save of the season. Additionally, the Pirates bettered their record to 9-0 when leading after six innings.

On the mound, Pittsburgh faced difficulty as mentioned before as Clint Hurdle needed to use five pitchers out of the bullpen. Starter Jonathan SPSR Piratesanchez only lasted three innings and allowed two runs on four hits, three walks, and struck out five.

But Sanchez threw a whopping 74 pitches through just those three innings, and Hurdle didn’t feel good about keeping Sanchez in the game any further than the third.

“Obviously, Jonathan, that’s short…He got us to a point we felt we could manage the game,” Hurdle said. “By no means was he sharp, by no means was he happy. I didn’t think it was in our best interests to keep on trying that vein.”

Jeanmar Gomez replaced Sanchez in the fourth, and pitched two and one-third shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks. Gomez lowered his ERA to 0.96 in 11 and two-thirds innings pitched.

Justin Wilson replaced Gomez in the sixth with trouble brewing and only one out, but promptly got [batter] to ground into an inning-ending double play. Wilson (1-0) followed with another two-thirds of an inning, enough to earn him his first career victory.

“We’re ready whenever the phone rings,” Wilson about the bullpen. “I’ll probably send [the ball] home, keep it in a safe place.”

Jared Hughes then entered in a tense situation and got a huge strikeout of Chris Johnson (hitting .418 entering the day) to end the seventh inning.

Hughes’ strikeout was one of many outs that Hurdle called “big outs” the Pirates’ relievers recorded Sunday.

“Every one of them got big outs,” Hurdle said. “Wilson’s double play ball…Hughes punching out Johnson, Watson to pitch the eighth, and Grilli with what he had left—it was a really well-done game by our bullpen.”

Hughes’ big strikeout came Sunday after Hughes allowed a two-run home run to Evan Gattis Thursday that decided a loss for the Pirates in the series opener. Overall, Hughes entered the day having allowed five runs in just seven innings of work.

“The game, it ebbs and flows it’s kind of an up-and-down game.” Hughes said. “You have to stay level with your mindset and go out there and compete every time you have a chance.”

Watson then came out for his perfect eighth and Grilli polished the victory off in the ninth, securing the series win and a 7-2 homestand against the PSR PiratesCincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, and Braves—three of the National League’s elite squads.

“We’re capable of playing good baseball, we just played good baseball pretty much this entire homestand,” Hurdle said. “We took out a pitching staff that was hot and a big-swing team, and we settled into our rhythm. Our pitchers out-pitched their pitchers, our hitters actually out-performed [their hitters].”

“This series, we beat ‘em. It’s good to beat good teams.”

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