The Pirates (43-41) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Cardinals 5-2 for their sixth straight win and a perfect 5-0 in July. The Bucs have now won seven-out-11 games against the Cards this season and pulled within a half game of the Cards for second place in the NL Central.
LHP Steven Brault, the Pirates No. 17 prospect, made his ML debut and despite racking up a high pitch count (82 pitches, 51 strikes) in just four innings, he pitched well and kept the team in the game. Brault’s final line was 4.0 innings, four hits, two runs (one earned), two walks and five strikeouts. He continued to battle on many deep counts and made a couple of players, including Matt Carpenter, look silly on a strikeout pitch.
Was it not for Polanco dropping a ball that hit his glove in the bottom of the 2nd inning, only one run would have crossed the plate against Brault. Despite the two runs allowed, there were no hard hit balls against him all night as the four hits were all singles.
Another impressive stat from Brault last night was that he recorded his first hit of his ML career as well with a single up in the middle off Mike Leake in the top of the 3rd inning in his first at-bat. It was his only at-bat of the game for the .400 career hitter (22 plate appearances) in the minors.
My guess is Brault is only in the rotation until Cole gets back up and that will depend on if they’ll want Cole to get another rehab start after 3.0 scoreless innings last night in Indianapolis. Or the sources are true and Tyler Glasnow gets the call this weekend for the Bucs. Cole gave up two hits while striking out six batters. Brault’s next start would be set for Sunday against the Cubs in the final game before the All-Star break. Whether Brault makes his next start in Pittsburgh or Triple-A Indy, it was an impressive start to what should be a promising career for Brault, who is just one prospect in the long line of talented arms in the minors.
As for the offense, look out for catcher Eric Fryer! Just recently added to replace Chris Stewart who hit the DL, Fryer ripped an RBI single to tie the game in the top of the 5th inning and then broke the game open next inning with a two-RBI double that was the final runs in this game. For the second time this season, the Pirates flipped the script on Leake after his career of mowing down the Bucs. David Freese continued his impressive season of doing whatever the Bucs need of him as he recorded two hits, a double, scored two runs and drove in the go-ahead run of the game in the 6th inning. Leake surrendered nine hits and five runs in 6.0 innings of work.
The bullpen worked its sudden magic again as tossed five shutout innings with Juan Nicasio pitching two of those and getting credited with the win. NL All-Star Mark Melancon slammed the door shut in the bottom of the 9th inning for his 25th save of the season.
The streaking Buccos will look to continue their winning ways and success against the Cards tonight with the third game of the series at 8:15PM. Jeff Locke will go for the Pirates against St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia.