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Pirates 6, Twins 2: Split so far

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After winning the first game of the set, Pittsburgh forces a rubber match.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Minnesota Twins David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

It was a good Michael Pineda start for a minute — a three-run second was exacerbated by bloop doubles and errors a like — but solid contact and back-to-back homers in the middle innings sent the Pittsburgh Pirates en route to a series-evening victory, 6-2 over the Twins on Saturday afternoon.

It was the first time all season Pineda failed to complete five full innings. Despite five strikeouts and just one walk, the Pirates plated five runs (four earned) over the course of Big Mike’s 90 pitches. It started on this weird joint error in the second, after Jorge Polanco’s errant throw and Willians Astudillo’s inability to hang onto the baseball opened the scoring.

It was something of a sloppy day for both defenses, who combined for three errors in the contest. Pittsburgh’s error accounted for one of the Twins’ two runs on the day, as Josh Donaldson sac fly’d a runner home in the eighth, which would have been the third out of the inning had left fielder Phillip Evans not lost the ball in the sun a batter prior.

In addition to that station-to-station scoring effort, the Twins would stage a brief two-out rally in their half of the second, capped off by Jake Cave’s second double of the young season. Minnesota wound up with just three total hits this afternoon against Trevor Cahill and Duane Underwood, Jr.; the rest of the Bucco staff was basically perfect.

Pineda had settled down a bit in the middle innings, executing some pitches and demonstrating good control, but saw his start unravel in the fifth after Michael Perez and Kevin Newman went back-to-back to both sides of the ballpark.

Kevin Newman would help add Pittsburgh’s sixth run in the sixth inning to finish off their scoring. Perez, batting before him, ended his day 3-for-3 with a trio of rib-eyes.

And for the second straight game, the Minnesota offense was propped up entirely by Jake Cave and Willians Astudillo, who accounted for all of the Twinkie hits. You can make the call on whether or not that kind of offensive output is enough to rely on!

STUDS:

Jake Cave (2-for-3, R, RBI)

This catch by Byron Buxton:

DUDS:

Front five of the order: (0-for-19, 3 K, E)

ROBOT ROLL CALL:

COMMENT OF THE GAMETHREAD:

In a relatively quiet thread, I think SooFoo Fan more or less sums up how Twins fans are feeling in the early going.

The series ends at the same time tomorrow, with Minnesota looking to end their micro-homestand with a winning record.