Game #143: Pirates 1, Rangers 0

Looking to stop their four-game losing skid and potentially win #82, the Pirates took on one of the top pitchers in the American League, Yu Darvish, on Monday night.

However, Darvish wasn’t the only pitcher on display… You have to tip your cap to Gerrit Cole. The Bucco rookie went out and dominated a tough Texas lineup, cruising for seven innings of shutout ball. His final line: 7.0 IP, 0 runs, 3 hits, 9 K, 2 BB. One day after turning 23, Cole totally silenced the Rangers. He would only need one run, and that’s exactly what the Pirates provided in the seventh inning.

Although Adrian Beltre was protecting the third base line in the “no doubles” defense, Marlon Byrd slipped a liner into the left field corner for a two-out two-bagger. Pedro Alvarez, who hasn’t been too hot recently, smoked Darvish’s 2-2 fastball into the left-center gap to bring home the Byrdman. 1-0, good guys.

Tony Watson shut down the Rangers in the eighth, then Mark Melancon came in the ninth to close it out. With two outs and Beltre on first, designated hitter A.J. Pierzynski fittingly grounded one to Pittsburgh native Neil Walker for the final out.

Greg Brown on the call:

Twenty years of misery and heartbreak are finally behind us. The Pittsburgh Pirates are winners again.

Pirates (82-61) – Rangers (81-62)

Win: Cole (7-7)
Loss: Darvish (12-8)
Save: Melancon (12)

BOX SCORE

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Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates @ Rangers

preview TEX

Pittsburgh Pirates (81-61) @ Texas Rangers (81-61)

September 9th, 2013 – 8:05 pm
September 10th, 2013 – 8:05 pm
September 11th, 2013 – 2:05 pm

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington – Arlington, TX

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Resources: Pirates Depth Chart | Bullpen Workload | Statistics

The Bucs and Rangers will meet for the first time since 2010; both teams are 81-61 and sit 1.5 games out of first in their divisions. Can the Pirates finally pick up win #82?

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Probable Starters:

Game 1 – Gerrit Cole (6-7, 3.74) vs. Yu Darvish (12-7, 2.91)

Game 2 – Francisco Liriano (15-7, 2.98) vs. Martin Perez (9-3, 3.41

Game 3 – A.J. Burnett (7-10, 3.31) vs. Matt Garza (3-3, 4.31)

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Batting Leaders (Among Qualifiers):

Pirates

Rangers

AVG

Andrew McCutchen (.322)

Adrian Beltre (.318)

HR

Pedro Alvarez (32)

Beltre (28)

RBI

Alvarez (87)

Beltre (84)

SB

Starling Marte (35)

Elvis Andrus (37)

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Pitching Leaders (Among Qualifiers):

Pirates

Rangers

Wins

Francisco Liriano (15)

Yu Darvish (12)

SO

A.J. Burnett (176)

Darvish (240)

ERA

Jeff Locke (3.23)

Darvish (2.91)

Saves

Jason Grilli (30)

Joe Nathan (39)

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Opponent Blogs: Lone Star Ball, Nolan Writin’

Yu Darvish Pitches GIF

GIF Credit: Drew Sheppard

Player to Watch: Yu Darvish, who pitches for Texas on Monday night. The 27-year-old All-Star who hails from Japan leads all of Major League Baseball with 240 strikeouts, and now he gets to face a hit-or-miss Pirates’ offense. We don’t get to see Darvish too often, so be sure to tune in to ROOT Sports tonight.

Go Bucs

Awards Week: Rookie of the Year

The Baseball Writer’s Association of America announced the winners of the 2012 American League and National League Rookie of the Year Awards on Monday night.

The American League winner is Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Trout, 21, won the award by unanimous vote. The New Jersey native was an absolute beast for LA this season; he was spectacular both offensively and defensively. He is up for the AL Most Valuable Player Award as well. Trout beat out Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes and Texas’ Yu Darvish for Rookie of the Year. While Cespedes and Darvish put together nice rookie seasons, Trout had one of the best ever.

The National League winner is Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.

Harper, 20, led the Nationals to their first postseason appearance. He hit .330 down the stretch, crushed 22 bombs, stole 18 bases, and made the All-Star team. The other finalists were Arizona’s Wade Miley and Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier. A strong case could be made for any of the three players, though Harper is definitely deserving.