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Pitching was the great equalizer in Pirates 1-0 win over Dodgers on Tuesday night

It may have been the Pirates vs. the Dodgers in Game 1 of a three-game series at PNC Park on Tuesday night, but metaphorically speaking, it was David vs. Goliath.

It was the team with the $228 million payroll vs. the one with an $83 million payroll. It was 38-23 vs. 27-32. It was the lineup with a .255 batting average vs. one with a .228 batting average. It was 77 home runs vs. 54. It was 297 runs scored on offense vs. 239.

It was an extreme mismatch, no? Maybe on offense, but not in terms of pitching. In that regard, it was a 3.19 ERA vs. 3.85. It was a 1.11 WHIP vs. 1.26. It was 520 strikeouts vs. 498.

Distilling the pitching down to the individual starters for the contest, it was Tyler Glasnow, the former Bucco who came into the night with a 3.04 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 74 innings, vs. Jared Jones, a rookie who took the mound with a 3.55 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.

They say that good pitching beats good hitting, and it did on Tuesday night, as Jones threw six shutout innings and allowed three hits while striking out six–including a strikeout of Shohei Ohtani in the top of the first inning on a pitch that was clocked at 101 mph (he struck him out twice on the night)–and walking three. The bullpen, led by Colin Holderman, Aroldis Chapman and David Bednar, combined to pitch three more scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory.

Glasnow may have been even more dominant than his mound opponent, as he pitched six innings while giving up three hits, striking out nine batters and walking one. He even lowered his ERA to 2.93. Unfortunately, Glasnow needed to lower his ERA a bit more to avoid taking the loss. Jack Suwinski, who was recently called up from the minors after being sent down due to a horrid start to his 2024 campaign, hit a line-drive home run over the Clemente Wall in right field with one out in the bottom of the third inning to give Pittsburgh the only run it would need on the night.

With the way the Pirates have struggled to hold late leads recently and how inconsistent the offense has been for most of the 2024 season, one couldn’t blame fans if they were expecting the worst down the stretch of the game on Tuesday night.

But while the offense continued to struggle with consistency before and after Suwinski’s home run, the bullpen performed in the ideal fashion most had envisioned when general manager Ben Cherrington inked the veteran Chapman to a one-year deal in the offseason.

Holderman took care of the top of the seventh despite allowing a leadoff double. Chapman held down the fort in the top of the eighth despite allowing a single and a walk. And Bednar set the Dodgers down in order in the top of the ninth to earn his 12th save of the year.

Speaking of Pirates rookie pitching phenoms, Paul Skenes will take the mound on Wednesday night for Game 2 of the series and will oppose LA’s James Paxton, who is 5-0 on the year with a 3.29 ERA.

Let’s see if pitching continues to level the playing field for the Pirates (28-32), as they look to take the second-straight game vs. their Goliath opponent with the gigantic payroll.


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