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Saturday March 17 2018
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Pirates win final home game of the season

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Josh Bell and the Pirates closed their home schedule on a high note Wednesday night, beating the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.


After a three RBI night where he also homered, Josh Bell’s rookie season may be one of the best in Pirates history. His 25 home runs are one off the Pirates’ rookie record set by Jason Bay in 2004. His 87 RBI are the most by a Pirates’ rookie since Maurice Van Robays in 1940. After a slow start and slump over the past two weeks, he has turned it on late after making adjustments to keep his head steady.

Now with a club record in sight, he says he feels good about the end of 2017 and beyond.

“I feel like I’m in a good spot,” Bell said. “It’s tough to follow what Cutch did last night, but I’m happy with what I’m bringing to the table, and it’s cool to be a one-two punch there.”

“I definitely have a foundation now,” Bell said later. “Something that I can work off of this offseason. Continue to grow, continue to learn, and hopefully next year come out strong instead of how I came out this year.”


Bell put the Bucs on the board with an RBI single in the bottom of the first, plating Adam Frazier. The Orioles struck for three in the second, with Chance Sisco driving home the tying run on a double before J.J. Hardy give Baltimore the lead with a run scoring groundout. Anthony Santander made it 3-1 when he drove home Sisco with a double of his own.

Gregory Polanco pulled the Pirates to within one with a home run to leadoff the second. Bell made it 4-3 Bucs with a two run homer that hopped into the Monongahela. Andrew McCutchen also came home to score on the dinger.

Starling Marte added an insurance run in the seventh when he beat out an infield single which allowed Sean Rodriguez to come home.


Pirates’ starter Chad Kuhl ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing two singles before being pulled with nobody out. Jack Leathersich got Chance Sisco to pop to left on the only pitch he threw, and Edgar Santana got two fly outs to maintain the one run Pirates lead.


Chad Kuhl improved to 8-11 after surrendering three runs on eight hits over 5+ innings. He walked a batter and struck out five. He picked up 12 whiffs in his 80 pitch performance, seven of them coming on a slider he threw 21 times in total.

Kuhl threw 10 first pitch strikes to his 23 batters faced, had three 3 ball counts and retired six on three pitches or less.

Kuhl was relieved by Leathersich, who retired the only batter he faced on one pitch. Edgar Santana finished the sixth unscathed, and Dovydas Neverauskas worked around a single in the seventh. George Kontos struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth, and Felipe Rivero hit 103 MPH on the radar gun while picking up his 20th save of the year.

Orioles’ starter Gabriel Ynoa was pulled after just three innings. He allowed four runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out three and falls to 2-3 on the year.


The standing ovation for Kent Tekulve before the seventh inning stretch. Wednesday was the final home game for the longtime Pirate reliever and broadcaster. His final broadcast will be this Sunday’s postgame show.


Josh Bell: 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, R


“I’m used to it. I’ve been around a lot of guys and I’ve seen a lot of guys leave. It’s a part of the game. It felt really good to see him.”- Andrew McCutchen on if it felt weird to talk to Pedro Alvarez on his trips to first base today. Alvarez made his return to PNC Park and started at first for Baltimore.


The Pirates will travel to Washington D.C. Thursday for the final series of the season. Ivan Nova (11-14, 4.14) will start the four game set against Edwin Jackson (5-6, 5.40) at 7:05 p.m..


1. The Pirates finish the year 43-37 at PNC Park and 44-37 in home games (they played one “home” game at Williamsport on Aug. 20). It is the fifth time in the last six years the Pirates posted a winning record at home.

2. The Pirates hit multiple home runs in both games this series against Baltimore. They are 29-5 in games where they go deep twice.

3. The Pirates finish the year with a home attendance of 1,919,446: a drop of 14.7 percent from 2016.

We miss what we never had. In 2013-15, the sample cart finally swung around the Pittsburgh Pirates fanbase, and it sprinkled on the palate what these devoted enthusiasts have been missing out on since the early ‘90s: glory.
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