ST. PETERSBURG – On a day when the Pirates’ young talent showed plenty of promise, they still couldn’t reach the finish line with a win.
Jack Suwinski had a sixth inning to remember. He hit a 443-foot three-run homer that bounced off of the advertisement video board in right field to give the Pirates a two-run lead. In the bottom of the inning, the left fielder had an amazing catch over the short wall in foul territory.
“We just continue to see these guys grow and these guys get better,” manager Derek Shelton said. “There are going to be bumps, but we saw some good things out of our kids today.”
The top of the sixth inning showed plenty of growth at the plate. With one out in the inning, the Rays went to left-handed Jalen Beeks to counter the Pirates' left-handers in the middle of the lineup.
Designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who was batting .111 (5-for-45) against lefties, drew a walk and Madris hit a high fly ball to right that hit the B ring on the Tropicana Field roof and bounced in front of Josh Lowe for a single.
“I hit it like 103 mph on a 48-degree line. Talk about barrelling it straight up in the air,” Madris said. “I’m just lucky it landed in for a hit.”
Suwinski, who was batting .169 (10-for-59) against lefties, smashed a 2-0 pitch from Beeks to give the Pirates the lead.
“He got that one pretty flush,” Shelton added.
Suwinski wasn’t done. In the bottom of the sixth, Luke Raley hit a fly ball that hooked into foul territory and Suwinski battled the short wall and a group of fans to make the highlight-reel catch.
"I thought the catch was pretty cool since I dropped that other one,” Suwinski said. “Thankfully [the wall] is kind of small, as opposed to a bigger wall where you have to time your jump. I think I landed right on top of that guy."
The good breaks did not extend to the bullpen. Chase De Jong was one strike away from getting out of the eighth inning when he allowed a solo home run to Isaac Parades that brought the Rays to within 5-4.
Bednar entered in the ninth with the one-run lead. He struck out Lowe and retired Randy Arozarena on a groundout before he lost command of the zone. Bednar then walked Ji-Man Choi and Vidal Bruján and pinch hitter Jonathan Aranda hit one off Bednar’s glove for an infield hit to load the bases. Parades then roped a single to right field on an 0-2 count that scored two runs.
"I just didn't have great fastball command today and put myself in bad counts,” Bednar said. “"It's just frustrating, [JT] Brubaker pitches his [butt] off. [Will] Crowe came in, De Jong...they threw great. It's not good to … not finish it up."
Brubaker allowed two runs in the first inning but settled down to put himself in line for his second win of the season. He allowed three runs and nine hits over six innings, striking out six.
“I stuck with the same game plan, there were some soft hits that fell in,” Brubaker said. “There was no need to flip the script or jump off the game plan. Just keep attacking them and go after them.”