Falter hits stride from stretch, but bats take step back

April 17th, 2024

NEW YORK -- One thing the Pirates showed during their three-game series against the Mets: They have quality starting pitching and Wednesday afternoon was no different.

Left-hander provided five solid innings, but one pitch proved costly in the Bucs’ 9-1 loss at Citi Field. The Pirates were swept in the series and have lost five of their last seven games since starting the season 9-3.

Falter said he didn’t feel right pitching from the windup when the game started, then decided to pitch from the stretch.

“I just felt like my arm was a little out in front of my body,” Falter said. “I made some simple corrections. I had some pretty good results [from the stretch].”

Falter was given a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning as Henry Davis scored on an infield single from Bryan Reynolds. But Falter lost the lead in the bottom of the inning when Starting Marte hit a two-run homer. That was Falter’s only blemish of the game.

“He was solid again,” manager Derek Shelton said of Falter. “We got him through. He did a nice job. We got to hold that game to 2-1.”

But New York added four-more runs after Pirates reliever Hunter Stratton entered the game in the sixth. Tyrone Taylor added a two-run single, while Harrison Bader bashed a two-run homer.

While the Bucs received great starting pitching, the offense was missing in action. During the series against New York, Pittsburgh went 13-for-89 [.146], while going 3-for-18 [.167] with runners in scoring position.

‘We have to have better at-bats,” Shelton said. “Up until this series, we’ve had pretty consistent at-bats. This series, we got pitched to. We need to make an adjustment. It’s probably a good time for an off-day. I think we have to be more aggressive. We are taking too many balls in the zone for strikes.

“When you have some young hitters and they are getting into the fact that they are getting pitched to, their nature is to get the perfect pitch. We don’t have to get the perfect pitch. We have to get back to what we were doing earlier in the year and that’s moving the ball forward."

The Pirates hope to get back on track in the batter’s box and return to their winning ways when they open a three-game set against the Red Sox on Friday night at PNC Park.

“It’s a long season. You are going to have your ups and downs,” first baseman Rowdy Tellez said. “Sometimes, you have to give credit to the other side. They came up with some big situations. It’s three games.

“We are going to enjoy our off-day tomorrow and get back at it with Boston. I don’t think you can read too much into it. Everybody struggles. It’s tough when the whole lineup is struggling. But I think we’ll be good. It’s a long season.”