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|The Pittsburgh Pirates had to wait several weeks into the season to see just what they got with right-hander Joe Musgrove in an offseason trade with Houston.
It has been about a month since he came off the disabled list after a shoulder injury delayed his season debut http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-alex-iafallo-jersey , and Musgrove has proved fiercely competitive and fiercely loyal.
Musgrove is 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA for Pittsburgh (35-35) going into his sixth start Sunday, against right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.40) and the Cincinnati Reds (25-45) in a series finale at PNC Park.
With a 6-2 victory Saturday, the Pirates won their third straight, climbed back to .500 and ensured themselves of winning a series after dropping eight in a row.
The Reds have lost two straight after a three-game winning streak.
Not only is Musgrove averaging more than six innings per start, with 23 strikeouts in 25 innings and a 1.12 WHIP, but also has played with an edge.
“He’s a tough guy,” Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said last month. “When he’s on the mound, he’s mean. He’s the kind of guy that you want to have on the mound all the time.”
In his most recent outing, a no-decision Monday in Arizona’s comeback 9-5 win, Musgrove was cruising with a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning when he hit Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Owings in acknowledged retaliation.
An inning earlier, Diamondbacks right-hander Braden Shipley hit Pirates infielder Josh Harrison — who got plunked 23 times last year and spent time on the DL this season and last because of a broken hand after being hit by pitches — and Pittsburgh rookie Austin Meadows got knocked down by a pitch earlier.
“It’s nothing more than just protecting your teammates,” Musgrove said. “It’s baseball. That’s how the game is played. That’s how I was raised to play the game. You protect your teammates Authentic Artturi Lehkonen Jersey , especially when a guy gets hit high up and in.”
The Pirates appreciated Musgrove’s loyalty, despite the fact that his retaliatory move might have sparked Arizona’s winning rally.
“That wasn’t the turning point of the game in my eyes,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “You can’t control what other people are going to think.
“The importance of teammates taking a stand for one another, I think that is part of the game. Everybody can construct their own narrative afterward. But I know (Harrison) has been hit a ton, been hit a lot. … Just plunking our guys, whether it’s accidental or not, is just not OK.”
Harrison said “it felt good” to have his new teammate stand up for him.
Musgrove has never faced the Reds.
DeSclafani has made six career starts against Pittsburgh, going 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA, but not since Sept. 17, 2016.
DeSclafani missed all of 2017 because of an elbow injury and, like Musgrove, opened this season on the DL because of an oblique strain.
Last Sunday, in his second start this season http://www.officialcanadiensprostore.com/authentic-adidas-karl-alzner-jersey , DeSclafani picked up his first win since Sept. 28, 2016, 6-3 over St. Louis. He gave up two runs and 10 hits in five innings, with six strikeouts and two walks.
“I don’t think I was as good as I wanted to be,” DeSclafani said. “There’s definitely a lot of work from here on out. I was falling behind some guys and giving up too many hits.
“But it’s definitely something to build on.”
He has yet to get his setup pitch, his curveball, back to where it once was.
“Definitely still getting a feel for it. I only threw a few of them,” he said. “It’s definitely got to be incorporated. I need some kind of equalizer to (go along with) my fastball and slider. Once that comes around, it should make things a little bit easier.”
Jonathan Lucroy flied out in his first chance at getting the winning hit. The next time up, he didn’t miss. Lucroy hit an RBI single off the center-field wall with the bases loaded in the 11th inning and the Athletics capped their comeback Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
”They stacked the left side up, so you don’t want to roll into a double play right there,” Lucroy said. ”I was trying to stay inside the ball and hit it somewhere up the middle or the other way.”
The A’s rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it at 5, an inning that ended when Lucroy hit a flyball with runners on first and second.
Jed Lowrie led off the 11th with a single and Jake Jewell (0-1) hit Khris Davis with a pitch. After Matt Olson flied out http://www.officialpredators.com/authentic-adidas-ryan-hartman-jersey , Eduardo Paredes replaced Jewell and walked Mark Canha to load the bases.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought left fielder Justin Upton in for a five-man infield but it didn’t matter. Lucroy hit a deep drive to win it.
”We had a couple guys coming out of the bullpen just brought too many walks with them and hit batters,” Scioscia said. ”We put too many guys on base from the ninth inning on and those guys got it done.”
Canha hit an early two-run homer, and added a tying single with two outs in the ninth. Marcus Semien homered to begin the Oakland ninth.
Blake Treinen (4-1) got the win.
Angels slugger Albert Pujols hit his 625th career home run
It was another blown save for Scioscia’s bullpen, the 15th by the Angels this season.
Blake Parker gave up two runs in the ninth. He also had a blown save Wednesday in Seattle. Canha’s tying single came off Cam Bedrosian.
”We made them work early on and they picked us up every single time,” Angels starter Andrew Heaney said. ”They may be struggling now and some guys are having their issues and that’s part of baseball.”
Chris Young homered and Mike Trout reached base five times for the Angels.
Pujols’ drive off Daniel Mengden was his fourth this month and 11th overall this season. It also moved the Angels’ 38-year-old slugger within five home runs of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place all time.
Pujols also had an RBI single in the third.
Trout had homered in four of his previous six games. He had singles in the fifth and ninth, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
NICE BUT NOTHING TO SHOW
Heaney allowed Canha’s home run in the second and a sacrifice fly to Olson in the seventh. Beyond that, the left-hander was stellar with eight strikeouts in eight innings. ”One mistake to Canha that was a changeup down the heart of the plate,” Scioscia said. ”Outside of that he was dotting that outside corner, moving the ball in and changing speeds with his breaking ball all day.”
Mengden has issued 10 walks in his three June starts. He had only eight in his first 12 starts.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (right thumb contusion) added throwing to his regimen, one day before his scheduled visit with a hand specialist in Los Angeles. Chapman’s biggest hurdle remains swinging a bat. … LHP Brett Anderson (strained left shoulder) is headed for Arizona to pitch in extended spring training.
Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (5-2, 2.61 ERA) faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a two-game series Monday in Anaheim. Barria’s ERA is the lowest among all rookies with at least 40 innings this season.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05 ERA) starts against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to begin Oakland’s 10-game road trip.
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