The Pittsburgh Pirates found a way to beat the Chicago White Sox Tuesday, but it might not be so easy to replicate the formula when the teams meet for the fourth and final time Wednesday at PNC Park.
After losing two games in Chicago earlier this season, including getting no-hit by Lucas Giolito, Pittsburgh had to come back, fend off the White Sox and scrap out a 5-4 win Tuesday when Kevin Newman hit a bases-loaded chopper in the bottom of the ninth, and Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped a toss from reliever Jimmy Cordero, allowing pinch runner Jason Martin to score.
It was the Pirates’ second straight walk-off win.
“We’re resilient. We like to fight,” Newman told AT&T Sportsnet. “Late in games, we never really think we’re out (of it). We just go up there and play for each other.”
The Pirates (14-26) have won four of their past six games and are 10-9 in their past 19 after their rough 4-17 start.
In the White Sox (26-16), Pittsburgh to some extent slew a dragon with Tuesday’s comeback win. Chicago is in a tight race for the American League Central crown, had won four straight while running up a 15-6 road record. Chicago had been 22-5 when scoring first until Tuesday’s loss.
The Pirates matched the White Sox with 10 hits in pulling out the win.
“Really big bats,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said of Chicago. “They’re aggressive. They swing the bats.”
In a matchup of rookie arms Wednesday, Chicago right-hander Dane Dunning (0-0, 3.86 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander J.T. Brubaker (1-0, 3.96).
Brubaker, who will be making his sixth big league start and eighth appearance, is coming off his first win. He gave up two runs (one earned) and seven hits, with five strikeouts, in matching a career-high five innings in a 6-2 win Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
Confidence apparently allowed him to work out of a couple jams that game, including a couple strikeouts to end the third after the Cubs had runners at second and third, partly because of defensive lapses behind him.
“Really, it was just attack mode,” Brubaker said. “It was a limit-damage mode. It was limit the damage, keep the ball on the ground. Not too many runs can score when the ball’s on the ground, even if it gets through the infield. I was just (in) attack mode and going right at them with my stuff and saying, ‘Here it is. Hit it.'”
Brubaker has never faced the White Sox.
Dunning, likewise, has yet to face Pittsburgh. He will be making his fourth career start. He gave up three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings, with four strikeouts and four walks, Friday against Kansas City and did not get a decision.
“Definitely, I felt really comfortable on the mound, felt in my groove,” Dunning said. “Felt really good. My first start, the debut, the nerves were a little bit high. In this outing, the first inning, nerves are there a little but as the game went on it kind of came back to me. It felt really comfortable and it felt good.”
Dunning, who missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, threw 88 pitches and feels he is ready to increase that total.
“I feel like I’m capable of doing it,” he said. “I’ve been built up. … I’ve been throwing longer outings and I feel good. I feel I can go long.”
–Field Level Media