Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang will admit that this season has been a very disappointing one, but an eighth-inning home run ended the Pirates’ eight-game losing streak and secured a 4-3 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kang entered this Wednesday night contest having hit two home runs the night before against the Cardinals, and he added another, blasting a 1-2 pitch left in the upper-middle portion of the strike zone for his 17th home run of the season.
Equally as impressive was relief pitcher Trevor Williams (1-0), the Triple-A Indianapolis pitcher who was only recently called up and who allowed just one unearned run in three innings.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said last Sunday that Williams could provide some length, which could contribute to the 2016 team. And, in this game, he did just that.
An emotional Williams embraced his father after the game and presented him with the game ball.
Williams entered the game after starter Jameson Taillon was lifted after five innings pitched and two runs allowed on six hits. Taillon first allowed a run in the opening inning when Matt Adams hit an RBI single and flinched again in the second inning, giving up a Jhonny Peralta double. After this, Taillon set down seven consecutive Cardinals batters.
Taillon hasn’t won a decision since Aug. 11.
The Pirates matched the early Cardinals’ offense, scoring two first-inning runs on Gregory Polanco and Kang RBI singles.
A Josh Harrison sacrifice fly gave the Pirates their second lead of this game.
Then, Kang’s decisive eighth-inning home run led off the bottom half of the frame.
For the second straight night, Tony Watson came in for the save, but this time he recorded a 1-2-3 inning, good for his 11th save of the season.
Both Watson and catcher Francisco Cervelli showed some emotion on the mound after the last out, a Matt Carpenter fly out. (Carpenter represented the potential final in Tuesday’s game, too, before Watson blew the save.)
Not only is Pittsburgh’s winless streak over, but the Pirates corrected their mistakes from a night ago.
The 68-69 Pirates will conclude their homestand with a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. Pittsburgh’s Ivan Nova (11-6, 4.34 ERA) will take on the Reds’ Dan Straily (11-7, 3.83 ERA). Nova is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three career starts against the Reds.
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