Musgrove pitches into 9th, Pirates top Braves 7-4

PITTSBURGH (AP) Joe Musgrove knew something was off.

It wasn't just the back-to-back losses he took in late May - it was the way he worked in those games. His typically smooth delivery got funky. The crispness that comes when he's rolling vanished.

So the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander pored over video. He dissected his bullpen sessions with backup catcher Jacob Stallings. And then Musgrove went out and shut down the Atlanta Braves, pitching into the ninth inning for the first time in his career in a 7-4 victory Wednesday night.

Musgrove (4-6) retired 14 straight during one stretch and struck out six against one walk to give Pittsburgh's weary bullpen a break as the Pirates ended a three-game slide.

''Any athlete will tell you, you hit that point in the game where you get in the zone, there's no real stopping you,'' Musgrove said. ''You're not thinking about anything. You're seeing the glove and throwing to it.''

Musgrove was knocked around by the Dodgers and Brewers in his previous two starts, giving up 11 runs in 11 innings against two of the better offenses in the majors. There were no such issues against the Braves. Working quickly following a rain delay of more than two hours, he threw 65 of 99 pitches for strikes before being lifted for closer Felipe Vazquez after giving up back-to-back home runs to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Dansby Swanson in the ninth.

Vazquez allowed an RBI double to Nick Markakis but avoided major damage as the Pirates won for just the fifth time in 16 games.

''The two homers, it doesn't feel good to leave on that note, but I'm more happy with how I feel going into my next start,'' Musgrove said. ''I feel like this is something I can build on and something that can turn my season around.''

Elias Diaz hit his first home run of the season. Colin Moran added his seventh for the Pirates, who jumped on Atlanta starter Kevin Gausman (2-5) to give Musgrove plenty of wiggle room. Diaz sent a two-run shot to the left field bleachers in the second and Moran drilled one into the Atlanta bullpen just beyond the center field wall in the fifth.

Gregory Polanco went 3 for 4. Starling Marte added three hits and Josh Bell returned from his first day off this season to deliver an RBI double for Pittsburgh, which touched up Gausman for seven runs.

''I think it's just me not making pitches when I need to,'' Gausman said. ''I feel like I am right where I need it to be, but the results really aren't saying that I am.''

Atlanta rookie left fielder Austin Riley produced his 26th RBI in his 19th career game, a sharp single in the second, but otherwise the Braves did little against Musgrove until it was too late.

The start was held up for 2 hours, 4 minutes, due to rain, though the grounds crew didn't even have the tarp on the field when the delay began and the precipitation was only moderate at best. Not that the Pirates were complaining. Better to wait out any showers than have Musgrove start, then see his night end early because of a potential rain delay.

When the skies cleared, the Pirates wasted little time getting to Gausman. A week removed from giving up eight runs in just one inning of a loss to Washington, Gausman again ran into trouble early.

Polanco singled with one out in the second and the deluge began. Diaz, making his 15th start in the last 20 games while catcher Francisco Cervelli deals with concussion-like symptoms, ripped a liner to the seats in left for his first home run since last September.

Musgrove, Kevin Newman, Bryan Reynolds and Marte followed with singles. Bell sliced a ball down the left field line to score Reynolds. The barrage would have continued if Marte hadn't tried to score from first on the play, only to be thrown out by 20 feet.

''Just not doing a good job of keeping the big innings from happening and just really had to grind out there today and you give them a five spot in the second, definitely not what you're trying to do,'' Gausman said.

When Gausman slowly made his way to the dugout, the Braves trailed 5-1. He hung around for five innings to help save Atlanta's bullpen a night after the relievers worked five innings in a 12-5 comeback win.

There would be no rally this time. When Moran's home run in the fifth sailed over the fence, the Pirates led by six and Musgrove was cruising.

ROTATION MOVES

The Pirates are shuffling their injury-ravaged starting rotation ahead of a weekend series in Milwaukee. Rookie Davis will get his first start since 2017 on Friday. Davis, who has appeared in four games as a reliever since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis last month, went 1-3 with an 8.59 ERA in six starts for the Reds in 2017. Davis replaces Nick Kingham, who posted an 11.05 ERA in six appearances since May 3.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (right side strain) was scheduled to throw a bullpen. If there are no setbacks, he will pitch a simulated game Saturday. ... RHP Jameson Taillon (right arm strain) and RHP Keone Kela (right shoulder inflammation) are both heading to Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida, to start rehabilitation. ... SS Erik Gonzalez (fractured collarbone) has been cleared to start hitting.

UP NEXT

Braves: Mike Foltynewicz (1-4, 6.10 ERA) gets the ball for Thursday's series finale. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.88 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh.

Pirates: Chris Archer (2-5, 5.66 ERA) earned his first victory since April 7 when he beat the Brewers last Friday. Archer has won consecutive starts just twice since the beginning of the 2017 season.

---

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Copyright 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
ATL33-28
010000003461
PIT29-31
05101000X7140
  • W: J. Musgrove (4-6)L: K. Gausman (2-5)
  • HR: ATL - D. Swanson (13), R. Acuna (12), PIT - C. Moran (7), E. Diaz (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
R. Acuna CF41111010.280.365.474.8395.5
D. Swanson SS41211020.270.323.509.8327.0
F. Freeman 1B31000111.306.392.570.9621.5
J. Donaldson 3B41100021.253.370.444.8152.0
N. Markakis RF40110001.270.360.417.7773.0
A. Riley LF40110001.320.363.7071.0692.0
B. McCann C30000001.269.333.409.7420.0
a- J. Camargo PH10000011.219.264.342.607-0.5
O. Albies 2B20000101.259.318.403.7221.0
K. Gausman P20000010.050.050.050.100-0.5
J. Tomlin P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- M. Joyce PH10000001.278.371.481.8520.0
J. Blevins P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-struck out for McCann in the 9th
  • b-grounded into a double play for Tomlin in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
K. Newman SS51100011.305.357.410.7661.5
B. Reynolds LF51110011.341.401.550.9522.5
S. Marte CF30310000.284.328.459.7868.0
J. Bell 1B40110004.330.393.6781.0713.0
C. Moran 3B42211010.278.339.462.8018.5
G. Polanco RF41310000.260.319.449.76810.0
E. Diaz C41121002.291.315.359.6747.0
A. Frazier 2B40000012.249.312.355.667-0.5
J. Musgrove P41200012.125.192.125.3172.5
F. Vazquez P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    BATTING
    • 2B - D. Swanson (9), J. Donaldson (14), N. Markakis (15)
    • HR - R. Acuna (12), D. Swanson (13)
    • RBI - R. Acuna (35), D. Swanson (43), N. Markakis (29), A. Riley (26)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - F. Freeman, J. Camargo, O. Albies
    BATTING
    • 2B - S. Marte (13), J. Bell (22), C. Moran (8), G. Polanco (7)
    • HR - C. Moran (7), E. Diaz
    • RBI - B. Reynolds (18), S. Marte (26), J. Bell (54), C. Moran (30), G. Polanco (16), E. Diaz 2 (15)
    • 2-Out RBI - B. Reynolds (4), S. Marte (11), J. Bell (15)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - B. Reynolds, J. Bell 2 (2), J. Musgrove 2 (2)
    BASERUNNING
    • SB - S. Marte (10), G. Polanco 2 (2)
    FIELDING
    • Outfield Assist - A. Riley
    • DP - (Swanson-Freeman)
    • E - F. Freeman (3)
    FIELDING
    • DP - (Frazier-Moran-Bell)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    K. Gausman (L, 2-5)5.012770326.151.47-7.5
    J. Tomlin2.01000003.940.975.0
    J. Blevins1.01000205.191.963.0
    PITCHERSIP
    K. Gausman (L, 2-5)5.0
    J. Tomlin2.0
    J. Blevins1.0
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Musgrove (W, 4-6)8.05331624.441.1928.0
    F. Vazquez1.01111202.421.151.0
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Musgrove (W, 4-6)8.0
    F. Vazquez1.0
    PITCHING
    • HBP - K. Gausman (4)
    • Pitches-Strikes - K. Gausman 88-61, J. Tomlin 27-21, J. Blevins 17-11
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - K. Gausman 7-4, J. Tomlin 5-1
    • Batters Faced - K. Gausman 27, J. Tomlin 7, J. Blevins 4
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Musgrove 99-65, F. Vazquez 18-12
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Musgrove 8-9
    • Batters Faced - J. Musgrove 29, F. Vazquez 5
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    ATL33-28
    010000003461
    PIT29-31
    05101000X7140
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    R. Acuna CF41111010.280.365.474.8395.5
    D. Swanson SS41211020.270.323.509.8327.0
    F. Freeman 1B31000111.306.392.570.9621.5
    J. Donaldson 3B41100021.253.370.444.8152.0
    N. Markakis RF40110001.270.360.417.7773.0
    A. Riley LF40110001.320.363.7071.0692.0
    B. McCann C30000001.269.333.409.7420.0
    a- J. Camargo PH10000011.219.264.342.607-0.5
    O. Albies 2B20000101.259.318.403.7221.0
    K. Gausman P20000010.050.050.050.100-0.5
    J. Tomlin P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    b- M. Joyce PH10000001.278.371.481.8520.0
    J. Blevins P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    Total324642288-----
    • a-struck out for McCann in the 9th
    • b-grounded into a double play for Tomlin in the 8th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    K. Newman SS51100011.305.357.410.7661.5
    B. Reynolds LF51110011.341.401.550.9522.5
    S. Marte CF30310000.284.328.459.7868.0
    J. Bell 1B40110004.330.393.6781.0713.0
    C. Moran 3B42211010.278.339.462.8018.5
    G. Polanco RF41310000.260.319.449.76810.0
    E. Diaz C41121002.291.315.359.6747.0
    A. Frazier 2B40000012.249.312.355.667-0.5
    J. Musgrove P41200012.125.192.125.3172.5
    F. Vazquez P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    Total37714720512-----
      BATTING
      • 2B - D. Swanson (9), J. Donaldson (14), N. Markakis (15)
      • HR - R. Acuna (12), D. Swanson (13)
      • RBI - R. Acuna (35), D. Swanson (43), N. Markakis (29), A. Riley (26)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - F. Freeman, J. Camargo, O. Albies
      BATTING
      • 2B - S. Marte (13), J. Bell (22), C. Moran (8), G. Polanco (7)
      • HR - C. Moran (7), E. Diaz
      • RBI - B. Reynolds (18), S. Marte (26), J. Bell (54), C. Moran (30), G. Polanco (16), E. Diaz 2 (15)
      • 2-Out RBI - B. Reynolds (4), S. Marte (11), J. Bell (15)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - B. Reynolds, J. Bell 2 (2), J. Musgrove 2 (2)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - S. Marte (10), G. Polanco 2 (2)
      FIELDING
      • Outfield Assist - A. Riley
      • DP - (Swanson-Freeman)
      • E - F. Freeman (3)
      FIELDING
      • DP - (Frazier-Moran-Bell)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      K. Gausman (L, 2-5)5.012770326.151.47-7.5
      J. Tomlin2.01000003.940.975.0
      J. Blevins1.01000205.191.963.0
      Total8.01477052---
      PITCHERSIP
      K. Gausman (L, 2-5)5.0
      J. Tomlin2.0
      J. Blevins1.0
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Musgrove (W, 4-6)8.05331624.441.1928.0
      F. Vazquez1.01111202.421.151.0
      Total9.0644282---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Musgrove (W, 4-6)8.0
      F. Vazquez1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • HBP - K. Gausman (4)
      • Pitches-Strikes - K. Gausman 88-61, J. Tomlin 27-21, J. Blevins 17-11
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - K. Gausman 7-4, J. Tomlin 5-1
      • Batters Faced - K. Gausman 27, J. Tomlin 7, J. Blevins 4
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Musgrove 99-65, F. Vazquez 18-12
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Musgrove 8-9
      • Batters Faced - J. Musgrove 29, F. Vazquez 5
      • 9TH INNING
        Markakis doubled to left center, Freeman scored47
        Swanson homered to right center37
        Acuna homered to center27
      • 5TH INNING
        Moran homered to center17
      • 3RD INNING
        Polanco doubled to left center, Moran scored16
      • 2ND INNING
        Bell doubled to left, Reynolds scored, Marte out at home15
        Marte singled to left, Newman scored, Reynolds to second14
        Reynolds singled to center, Musgrove scored, Newman to third13
        Diaz homered to left center, Polanco scored12
        Riley singled to left center, Donaldson scored10
      • 9TH INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • R. Acuna: Strike swinging, Ball, Acuna homered to center
        • D. Swanson: Foul, Swanson homered to right center
        • Felipe Vazquez relieved Joe Musgrove
        • F. Freeman: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Freeman walked
        • J. Donaldson: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Donaldson struck out swinging
        • N. Markakis: Markakis doubled to left center, Freeman scored
        • A. Riley: Strike looking, Riley lined out to third
        • Johan Camargo hit for Brian McCann
        • J. Camargo: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Camargo struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 9th (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • B. McCann: Strike looking, Strike looking, McCann grounded out to first
        • O. Albies: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Albies walked
        • Matt Joyce hit for Josh Tomlin
        • M. Joyce: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Joyce grounded into double play second to third to first, Albies out at second
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Jerry Blevins pitching
        • A. Frazier: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Frazier fouled out to third
        • J. Musgrove: Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Musgrove singled to shallow center
        • K. Newman: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Newman struck out swinging
        • B. Reynolds: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Reynolds struck out swinging
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • J. Donaldson: Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Donaldson struck out swinging
        • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Markakis flied out to left
        • A. Riley: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Riley fouled out to catcher
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Tomlin Pitching:
        • C. Moran: Moran grounded out to second
        • G. Polanco: Ball, Polanco grounded out to second
        • E. Diaz: Strike looking, Ball, Diaz lined out to left
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • R. Acuna: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Acuna struck out looking
        • D. Swanson: Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Swanson struck out swinging
        • F. Freeman: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Freeman struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Josh Tomlin relieved Kevin Gausman
        • K. Newman: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Newman grounded out to pitcher
        • B. Reynolds: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Reynolds safe at first on 1st baseman Freeman fielding error
        • S. Marte: Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Pickoff attempt, Marte singled to right, Reynolds to second
        • J. Bell: Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Bell grounded into double play shortstop to first, Marte out at second
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 1 Error)
      • 5TH INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • B. McCann: Ball, Foul, McCann grounded out to third
        • O. Albies: Ball, Ball, Albies flied out to center
        • K. Gausman: Gausman grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • K. Gausman Pitching:
        • C. Moran: Ball, Ball, Moran homered to center
        • G. Polanco: Ball, Polanco singled to shallow center
        • E. Diaz: Ball, Polanco stole second, Foul, Foul, Foul, Diaz lined out to center
        • A. Frazier: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Frazier grounded out to shortstop, Polanco to third
        • J. Musgrove: Foul, Strike swinging, Musgrove lined out to second
        • End of the 5th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • J. Donaldson: Strike swinging, Foul, Donaldson grounded out to third
        • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Ball, Markakis grounded out to second
        • A. Riley: Riley grounded out to second
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • K. Gausman Pitching:
        • K. Newman: Newman grounded out to third
        • B. Reynolds: Strike looking, Ball, Reynolds lined out to right
        • S. Marte: Ball, Marte hit by pitch
        • J. Bell: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Marte stole second, Bell grounded out to first
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • K. Gausman: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Gausman struck out looking
        • R. Acuna: Strike looking, Ball, Acuna grounded out to pitcher
        • D. Swanson: Swanson doubled to left
        • F. Freeman: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Freeman popped out to third
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • K. Gausman Pitching:
        • C. Moran: Moran doubled to deep right center
        • G. Polanco: Polanco doubled to left center, Moran scored
        • E. Diaz: Ball, Ball, Ball, Diaz grounded out to shortstop
        • A. Frazier: Frazier flied out to center
        • J. Musgrove: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Musgrove struck out swinging
        • End of the 3rd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • J. Donaldson: Ball, Ball, Donaldson doubled to left center
        • N. Markakis: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Markakis lined out to center, Donaldson to third
        • A. Riley: Riley singled to left center, Donaldson scored
        • B. McCann: Ball, Foul, McCann flied out to left
        • O. Albies: Albies flied out to left
        • Middle of the 2nd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • K. Gausman Pitching:
        • C. Moran: Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Moran struck out swinging
        • G. Polanco: Strike looking, Polanco singled to right
        • E. Diaz: Ball, Ball, Polanco stole second, Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Diaz homered to left center, Polanco scored
        • A. Frazier: Strike (foul tip), Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Frazier struck out swinging
        • J. Musgrove: Foul, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Musgrove singled to shallow left
        • K. Newman: Newman singled to shallow center, Musgrove to second
        • B. Reynolds: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Reynolds singled to center, Musgrove scored, Newman to third
        • S. Marte: Marte singled to left, Newman scored, Reynolds to second
        • J. Bell: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Bell doubled to left, Reynolds scored, Marte out at home
        • End of the 2nd (5 Runs, 7 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • J. Musgrove Pitching:
        • R. Acuna: Acuna flied out to deep right
        • D. Swanson: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Swanson struck out swinging
        • F. Freeman: Freeman flied out to left
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • K. Gausman Pitching:
        • K. Newman: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Newman grounded out to shortstop
        • B. Reynolds: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Reynolds grounded out to shortstop
        • S. Marte: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Marte doubled to left center
        • J. Bell: Ball, Bell grounded out to second
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)