Pirates’ starter JT Brubaker has averaged almost three walks (2.99 BB/9) per nine innings on the mound early in his big league career (36 starts between 2020-22), and the 28-year-old, 2015 6th Round pick walked three in three innings in his 2022 debut in Pittsburgh’s rotation earlier this month.
Brubaker walked three batters (César Hernández, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Bell) in the opening frame of tonight’s game, loading the bases with one out before singles by Keibert Ruiz (on a fly to the right field wall Bucs’ outfielder Hoy Park couldn’t reel in) and Yadiel Hernández (line drive to right field) put the visiting Washington Nationals up 3-0 in the top of the first inning.
Joan Adon took the mound in PNC Park with a 3-0 lead, and promptly surrendered a 419-ft. home run to the left of center field by Pirates’ slugger Daniel Vogelbach, who got all of the 1-1 fastball outside at 95 Adon threw him, and powered it out the other way, 3-1. Adon then issued back-to-back, one-out walks, but he stranded both runners in a 26-pitch frame...
A quick, efficient, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Adon at 37 pitches total after two, but the Bucs tied things up in the third, with Vogelbach singling to start the frame and coming around to score on a two-run shot to right field Bryan Reynolds, who got all of a middle-middle heater from the Nationals’ starter, 3-3.
Yoshi Tsutsugo and Ben Gamel connected for singles one out after Reynolds’ homer, and then both scored on a double by Kevin Newman, who scored on a triple to center field by Cole Tucker, 5-3 Pirates after a 24-pitch 3rd by Adon, which pushed him up to 61 pitches overall.
Adon returned to the mound in the fifth, after a 14-pitch fourth in which he worked around a two-out hit, and picked up back-to-back Ks, but a two-out walk and single ended his outing.
Joan Adon’s Line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 91 P, 55 S.
JT Brubaker held the Nationals off the board after the first, but a one-out walk to Josh Bell in the fifth ended his outing after 82 pitches in 4 1⁄3 IP.
Lefty Anthony Banda came on next and gave up a single to center by Keibert Ruiz, who got his barrel to a low changeup and lined it to center field in the Pirates’ home.
A base-loading single by Yadiel Hernández set Maikel Franco up with a big RBI opportunity, and the veteran slugger spit on a couple pitches down out of the zone from the changeup-heavy Pirates’ southpaw, then hit a 2-2 fastball to right for a sac fly, 5-4.
JT Brubaker’s Line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 82 P, 49 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
Hunter Harvey came on for the Nationals with two on and two out in the Pirates’ half of the fifth, and gave up a single to center by Bucs’ catcher Roberto Pérez, who drove in the sixth run of the game for the home team, 6-4.
Pirates’ righty Roansy Contreras retired the Nationals in order in an 11-pitch sixth to keep the club’s two-run lead intact.
Dan Vogelbach was a triple away from the cycle after he doubled to right off righty Andres Machado to lead off in the Pirates’ half of the sixth, and after a walk to Bryan Reynolds and groundout by Ke’Bryan Hayes moved him over to third base, Vogelbach scored on a sac fly off Yoshi Tsutsugo’s bat, 7-4 Bucs.
Contreras came back out in the seventh and retired the Nationals in order to complete his second impressive inning of work.
Patrick Murphy gave up a leadoff walk (to Roberto Pérez) and a single (by Jake Marisnick) in the first two at-bats of the Bucs’ seventh, then Dan Vogelbach singled to drive in Perez, 8-4, before a walk to Bryan Reynolds loaded the bases with Pirates, and the third walk he issued in the inning forced in run No. 9 for the home team, 9-4.
In his third inning of work, Contreras worked around a leadoff single by Yadiel Hernández and a walk to Lane Thomas for another scoreless frame.
Victor Arano worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep it a five-run game, but the Nats didn’t score in the top of the ninth.
Nationals now 3-5