With another brilliant performance by Ivan Nova today, the Pittsburgh Pirates put on a four game sweep. All three runs came off of solo home runs by John Jaso, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte, which sealed the 3-1 victory for the Buccos.
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As the Pirates have played extremely poorly against the Brewers especially at Miller Park (17-64 since 2007), sweeping them there was probably more surprising to fans than a backup quarterback making many headlines over this weekend. With today’s win, the Pirates have won 9 out of 10 away games and have gone 14-8 since the Atlanta series.
This latest trend of successful Pirates baseball has set them nicely with their quest or their fourth playoff berth in four years. With the losses of St. Louis, Miami, and New York, the Pirates are now just a half game back of the Wild Card standings trailing just the Giants and Cardinals.
The game started off pretty slow as both pitchers were very effective. The scoring broke with Nova gave up a solo shot to Jonathan Villar in the 3rd inning for his 11th homer on the season. This was Nova’s 26th home run allowed on the year and third with the Pirates.
Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson was cruising along this game until the top of the 6th came and he allowed two solo home runs to John Jaso and then Gregory Polanco. Jaso’s home run lead off the inning on a 2-1 count and traveled 391 feet over the right field wall. After Andrew McCutchen flied out to Hernan Perez, Gregory Polanco took a 1-0 pitch himself 379 feet over the right field wall as well to give Pittsburgh the 2-1 lead.
Chase Anderson would leave the game after allowing two earned runs on two homers, five hits, and a walk in 5.1 innings. It was a solid start fore the 28 year old who was acquired in a trade with Arizona. He did manage to strike out five batters, but his command was shaky and needed to throw 101 pitched to get through the 5.1 innings he pitched today. His season’s ERA currently stands at 4.92.
With the bullpen taking over, Starling Marte faced Carlos Torres in the 8th inning. After already collecting two hits in the game with his 44th stolen base, Marte saw a 92 MPH fastball low in the middle of the zone and took it 411 feet in dead away center over former Pirate, Keon Broxton. This gave Marte just his 8th home run on the year, but gave him his 140th hit on the year, good for 13th in the National League. After having a mini slump in August, Marte is now on a five game hit streak.
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Ivan Nova’s performance tonight has now given him a 2.89 ERA in 31.1 innings with the Pirates which he has gone 4-0 with the Pirate winnings all five of his starts. In today’s game, he went just 6 innings while allowing just three baserunners and striking out six. Though he only threw 75 pitches, he was pulled in the 6th due to hamstring tightness. It was reported today that he should make his next scheduled start as it was just some discomfort today.
Pittsburgh will now go into Chicago this week to play a three game series. Tomorrow will feature a matchup between Chicago’s ace Jake Arrieta pitching against Pittsburgh’s Steven Brault. Brault will be making a spot start to replace Gerrit Cole‘s turn in the rotation. Brault pitched in two games this season for the Pirates allowing 4 earned runs in 10 innings while going 0-1. For his season in Indianapolis, he owns a 3.70 ERA in 75.1 innings.