Osuna's homer powers Bucs to twin-bill split

Pirates' 26th man sets early tone, backs Kuhl's strong start

April 25th, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- 's stay with the Pirates was short, but he made an immediate impact to help end their five-game losing streak.
Osuna, the Bucs' 26th man, crushed a three-run homer in his first Major League at-bat of the season to support 's solid six-inning start as the Pirates split the doubleheader with an 8-3 win over the Tigers in Game 2 on Wednesday night at PNC Park. In the opener, the Bucs dropped a 13-10 decision.
"I think we leveraged the 26th man about as good as we could have," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Those things never get old. If they get old, you need to get out. It's special."
Osuna learned late Tuesday night, after the series opener was rained out, that he'd be making an early-morning trip to Pittsburgh. He knew it would only be for one game, but he was determined to make the most of it. The Bucs officially added him to their roster between games and slotted him into the No. 6 spot against Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd. Osuna slammed a three-run homer to center off Boyd in the second inning, giving Kuhl an early lead.

"It felt really good to come back with the team and help the team win tonight," Osuna said. "I was prepared. They told me yesterday it's maybe just for one game and that happened. That's part of the game. This is my job, so I have to do it."
Kuhl put together his second straight six-inning start and leaned heavily on his slider as he tied a career high with eight strikeouts while walking only one. He gave up three runs, two of them on 's fifth-inning homer. After was knocked out in the fourth inning of Game 1, Kuhl wanted to finish six innings and set up the Pirates' late-inning trio of , and Felipe Vazquez. But he was particularly proud to put an end to Pittsburgh's recent losing streak.
"That's all you can want as a starting pitcher. You want that reputation. You want to be a winner," Kuhl said. "It's just nice, especially with the weird game we had earlier, to be able to go and have a good start and come away with a win. It feels great."

After getting outslugged in Game 1, Hurdle said he hoped the Pirates' hitting was more contagious than their work on the mound. That turned out to be the case in Game 2. Everyone in the starting lineup, including Kuhl, recorded at least one hit.

drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth and doubled in another run in the sixth. Osuna singled and scored on reliever 's throwing error in the seventh. doubled home in the eighth, and chipped in with a pinch-hit RBI single. After scoring only five runs over four games in Philadelphia last weekend, the Pirates put up 18 runs on 29 hits in Wednesday's doubleheader.
"Steadfast. We were stubborn. We were hunting pitches," Hurdle said. "There was a pack mentality from top to bottom. There was some progress made."
The Tigers missed a scoring chance in the fourth inning. Niko Goodrum doubled to center, advancing to third base with none out and the Pirates ahead, 3-1. hit a line drive right at second baseman for the second out and Goodrum was caught too far off second base, as shortstop Mercer beat him back to the bag to complete the double play. Kuhl retired to escape the inning unscathed.

"He had a lot of uphill work," Hurdle said of Kuhl. "He stayed on the gas pedal. He stayed aggressive tonight, and he gave us a very good start when we needed one."
Before Wednesday, the last time Detroit played in a doubleheader in Pittsburgh was on Sept. 25, 1888. That day, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys split a pair of games with the Detroit Wolverines at Recreation Park.
came close to tying the game in the seventh, smoking a ball just foul off Feliz. He nearly tied it when he put the ball in play, too, smoking a 100.1-mph fly ball to the warning track in left. tracked down the ball, which had a 72 percent hit probability, and reeled it in for the second out of the inning. Rodriguez slammed into the wall after making the play, which earned a round of applause from the Pirates' dugout.

"Sean's catch is special. It's just special at that point in time of the game," Hurdle said. "They hit two foul homers by, what, 4 feet, I'm guessing? Maybe that's more than it was. … We make that play out in left field running into the wall."
"I hit that ball really good. When I hit that ball, I said, 'OK, it's gone.'" -- Osuna, on his 404-foot home run to center. The three-run shot had an exit velocity of 107.6 mph and a 95 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™.
Right-hander will start the Pirates' 12:35 p.m. ET series finale against the Tigers on Thursday at PNC Park. Nova, lined up to face Detroit righty , allowed only one run over six efficient innings in a no-decision on Friday in Philadelphia.