There were no late inning heroics last night, but the Pirates did win in impressive fashion. Newly acquired pitcher, Ivan Nova, made his first start outside of a Yankee uniform and lead to Pirates to a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Ivan Nova, who has replaced Francisco Liriano in the pirates rotation, made a very strong first impression with the Black and Gold last night. While he arrived with a 4.90 ERA, it seemed quite possible that his stuff could translate into a J.A. Happ turnaround this season, and he showed this possibility to the ‘Burgh last night.
Lasting 7 full innings, which is a feat for this Pirates team alone, Nova gave up 3 earned runs on six hits and an impressive zero walks. The extent of the damage came off of two home runs to Brandon Phillips who had not homered in his last 72 games. Home runs have plagued Nova’s season this year, so this certainly wasn’t a move in the right direction there.
At one point, Nova retired 11 batters in a row and showed great command of his pitches. He struck out a total of five batters and provided the Pirates a win. With just two innings to go in the contest, the relievers were again able to close out the victory. Neftali Feliz entered the game in the 8th allowing two baserunners, while Tony Watson entered the save situation and closed out the side.
On top of Nova’s impressive start, Starling Marte continued his tremendous breakout season. Marte had two RBI’s on two hits, one being his team high 27th double (8th ranked in the N.L.), and another stolen base. On the season he is now hitting .321 (5th in N.L.) with 39 stolen bases (2nd in N.L.) and has totaled 122 hits (8th in N.L.).
Josh Harrison was the only other player to have a multi hit game. John Jaso, Francisco Cervelli, and Andrew McCutchen each drove in an RBI. Cutch went 1-3 today while drawing his third walk in these last two games.
Making his second start from returning from Tommy John, Homer Bailey had his worse outing on the season. He only was able to last 3 innings while giving up all five earned runs in the game. He allowed a total of eight hits in that small amount a time and also walked Matt Joyce in the third inning.
With their first series win since the Phillies series on July 22-24, they’ll meet up for the third game of this series today at 1:35. Geri Cole (2.73 ERA) will face Dan Straily (3.80 ERA). A win could possibly get them within one game of the Wildcard.