If not for the last two innings, this would’ve been a pretty similar story to last night. Only one Pirate had multiple hits tonight (in this case it was Russell Martin, and his second hit was what turned out to be the game-deciding home run), but they took advantage of a Rays’ error and made the most out of their eight hits to put six runs up on the board. It helped that four of those eight hits came in the third inning, which is where three of the Pirates’ runs came from.
For most of the game, it looked like that would be plenty. Jeff Locke cruised through seven, holding the Rays to one run on six hits. He got into trouble with a two-run Evan Longoria homer in the eighth, though, and so the bullpen took over from that point. Mark Melancon made things exciting in the ninth, but eventually got Longoria (who was the go-ahead run) to pop out to end the game.
The bad news, of course, is that Starling Marte was injured on a scary-looking slide into second base where he went head-first into Sean Rodriguez’s knee. There’s no news on the injury to this point (he’s going for a CT scan after the game), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the seven-day concussion disabled list. The Pirates can, of course, afford to be cautious here since they know they can use Josh Harrison in his place if necessary. Marte’s recent hot streak has been a huge part of this offensive surge, though, and so beyond the obvious concerns over his health (he really did take a long time to get up, and just watching the replay now was pretty rough), the Pirates are going to miss him if he’s out even for just a week.
In the end, though, the Pirates pulled out the win and they’ve now won four in a row and five of six and they’re 13-8 in June and they’re 39-38 on the season. They’ve still got their work cut out for them, but it’s hard to deny they’re playing good baseball.