Can Lyles help Pirates solve Arizona's late-inning magic?

Field Level Media

The Pittsburgh Pirates are finding out the hard way what makes the Arizona Diamondbacks tick. The Pirates will have two more games of a four-game home series to do something about it.

The Diamondbacks have made a habit of coming from behind to win games, including each of the first two games of this series.

There were fireworks Monday in a 12-4 win behind seven runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth for the Diamondbacks. It was much tighter Tuesday, a 2-1 win on a go-ahead run in the sixth that needed a challenge and reversal of a play at the plate before the run counted.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

"We have to play every inning, every at-bat, battle every at-bat," Arizona's David Peralta told reporters after the game.

The Diamondbacks have scored 53 runs in seventh inning, a big part of those comebacks. Tuesday, they didn't get any in the seventh, but got a quality start from Luke Weaver and help from the bullpen.

"I think it's just a tribute to the guys we have," Christian Walker said after the game. "Our pitchers are out there battling, keeping us in games, and we want to do everything we can to score runs and obviously win and all that, but it's a credit to the characters in the clubhouse, and never feeling like we're down and out no matter how many runs we're down."

The Pirates have lost three straight for the first time this season and continue to have injury issues.

Tuesday, rookie outfielder Bryan Reynolds left with quadriceps tightness after he ran to first. That came a night after reliever Nick Burdi collapsed in pain after a pitch. Burdi, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was placed on the injured list and will receiver further evaluation.

Now it's Pittsburgh righty Jordan Lyles' turn to try to keep the Diamondbacks at bay. Lyles (2-0, 0.53 ERA) will go up against Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (1-2, 4.37).

Kelly will be making his fifth major league start and playing his first game against the Pirates.

Friday in a 5-1 loss against the Cubs, Arizona was the victim of some difficulties on defense on a blustery day in the 40s at Wrigley Field. Kelly racked up 109 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and walking seven while striking out five.

"It also could have been a different day for me if I didn't walk seven people," Kelly told reporters after the game. "That's what I'm taking away more than the wind, more than anything. The elements are going to be the elements. I can't control those. But I can control pounding the zone. And I can control throwing strikes and being better at owning counts and being ahead in counts, and I think that was probably what came back to hurt me the most."

For Pittsburgh, Lyles began the season on the injured list but has been gangbusters in three starts as the Pirates' fifth starter. He has given up just one earned run in 17 innings pitched.

Last Friday, he not only pitched six four-hit, scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk, but he also beat Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants 4-1.

In that game, he might have pitched longer had he not gotten clipped in the pitching hand on a comebacker. And how charmed is this: That play still went for a double play behind him.

Lyles declared himself "good to go" for his next start, and, perhaps unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, that is the case.

"He's been fun to watch," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.

Against Arizona, Lyles is 2-6 with a 7.23 ERA in 19 career games, nine of them starts.

--Field Level Media

What to Read Next