Red Sox walk the plank, 9-1
The Pirates are in a down to the wire battle for a playoff slot while the Boston Red Sox attempt to elevate the remainder of the season to any level of respectability.
Respectability lost out, 9-1 at PNC Park behind a persistent Pittsburgh offense that included three home runs and gritty pitching by Francisco Liriano.
The Red Sox had a brief attempt at a lead in the top of the first as a Mookie Betts single and two walks loaded them up for Thomas de Torquemada, disguised as Will Middlebrooks, who hit a nondescript ground ball to short. Another three LOB attached to Middlebrooks’ stat line.
In the last of the first, Gregory Polanco, a potential star, launched a Clay Buchholz pitch fifteen rows deep into the right field seats for a quick 1-0 Pirates lead.
Rusney Castillo (1-4) opened the Sox second with his first MLB at bat – a simple 15-foot slow roller that Russell Martin did a grab and toss out on. Let the skepticism begin.
The second provided a run scoring bounty for Pittsburgh.
Mike Napoli picked up an error on a toss to first by Xander Bogaerts and quick back-to-back doubles by Ike Davis and Clint Barmes got two runs in. Liriano then singled to demonstrate just what level of pitching pathos captured Buchholz. The final tally had the Pirates up 4-0.
Sep 17, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (47) delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
In the fourth inning Castillo got his first MLB hit – an infield hit to second baseman Neil Walker.
The book on Buchholz (8-9) was also closed after four innings with five runs (four earned), on six hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
In the top of the fifth another Red Sox highlight happened with Bryce Brentz, hitting for Buchholz, shooting a double to left for his first MLB hit. Eventually a Bogaerts ground out brought in a run for Boston, thus ending 13 innings of frustration against Pirates pitching.
The Pirates, bolstered by a Davis’ (3-4, 4 RBI) three-run shot, bagged four more runs in the fifth off Steven Wright to go up 9-1 and put an early closure on the Red Sox.
Liriano (6-10), bored with toying with the Boston offense, was removed after six innings with a lone run allowed on three hits while walking five and striking out two.
The series concludes Thursday with Boston’s Brandon Workman (1-9, 5.27) against Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.92) for the Pirates.