The Pittsburgh Pirates extended their winning streak to six games on Monday night, defeating the Oakland Athletics 5-4 in a tiebreaking sacrifice fly by Andrew McCutchen in the eighth inning. This also marked the Athletics’ 15th consecutive road loss, matching their record since 1968 when they moved from Kansas City. The Athletics (12-50), currently the major league’s worst team, have now lost five games in a row, and are on pace to finish the season at 31-131, exactly 100 games under .500.
McCutchen, who had two RBIs, also drew three walks and singled. His career hit count now stands at 1,998. The winning run came after Ji Hwan Bae led off the eighth inning with a single off Sam Moll, advanced to third on Austin Hedges’ one-out single, and then was plated by McCutchen’s sac fly.
Angel Perdomo retired both hitters he faced, and Colin Holdeman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save, despite the first three batters reaching base. Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Oakland left-hander JP Sears held the Pirates without a hit until Mark Mathias’ leadoff single in the fifth, before being unable to make it through the inning, and was charged with one run in 4 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out six. Consecutive bases-loaded walks keyed Pittsburgh’s three-run sixth inning that put the Pirates 4-3 ahead.
The Athletics opened the scoring in the first inning when rookie Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher’s interference, stole his MLB-leading 30th base of the season, and then scored on Ryan Noda’s single. Seth Brown doubled in a run in the third, and came home on Carlos Perez’s sacrifice fly to give Oakland’s a 3-0 lead. Connor Joe hit an RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth.
During Monday night’s game, the Pirates drew 10 walks, their most in a game in almost two years. Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said, “We didn’t play well enough to win the game. I don’t want to say we gave the game away but there were a lot of instances where we had a chance to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t do it.”
Promising Pirates catching prospect Henry Davis was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona. The 23-year-old hit .284 with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases in 41 games at Double-A this season. Davis was chosen as the first overall selection in the 2021 amateur draft from the University of Louisville, and Pirates general manager, Ben Cherington, said, “He was performing offensively at a level where we felt like he was more than ready to meet the challenges. Defensively, he’s made strides too.”
Athletics RHP James Kaprielian (0-6, 8.12 ERA) will make his first start in June after taking the loss in all four starts in May, and will face RHP Mitch Keller (7-1, 3.25) in the upcoming game. Keller has eight or more strikeouts in seven consecutive starts, marking the longest streak by a Pirates pitcher in the modern era since 1901.