PITTSBURGH — There was a time when Miguel Andujar’s presence on the Pirates would have been a big deal.
At one time, he was a top 100 prospect in the New York Yankees’ farm system. In past seasons, with the Yankees pushing for playoff spots and the Pirates still in a rebuild, a perusal of Twitter could uncover trade proposals from Yankee fans trying to send Andujar elsewhere in favor of a more consistent, major league entity. Bryan Reynolds for Andujar and some other prospects, for example.
Obviously, those moves never happened, and as it turns out, the Pirates got Andujar anyway. They claimed Andujar off waivers from the Yankees on Monday. On Tuesday, Andujar won the Pirates a game against the Cincinnati Reds, 4-1.
The 27-year-old, designated hitter stepped up in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and the bases loaded in a tie game. He worked a 3-1 count, then crushed a ball off the top of the wall in left-center. Oneil Cruz, Reynolds and Jack Suwinski all crossed home, giving the Pirates a commanding 4-1 lead.
If anything, Andujar may have to get accustomed to the dimensions of his new home ballpark. After making contact, Andujar stood to watch it fly, then had to pick up the pace to make it into second.
It also turned the Pirates’ luck with runners on base in the game. They stranded a pair in the second, another in the third — though that is when they scored their first run — one each in the fourth and sixth and left the bases loaded in the fifth. That last one would have been the most frustrating in a loss, considering they got their first three batters on base with their 3-4-5 hitters due up and still couldn’t score.
All’s well that ends well, though, and Andujar saved the day with his mighty lash to left.
Andujar’s effort also saved a pretty admirable outing from right-hander Mitch Keller. It was clear from the jump that Keller didn’t have his best stuff, walking the second batter he faced. He then allowed a single and the runner scored on a wild pitch.
Throughout the outing, Keller didn’t have a single clean inning. Yet, he didn’t give up another run. Twice, in fact, he stranded the bases loaded on the Reds and finished up with a dirty, but ultimately effective, five innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits while issuing three walks, two hit batters and a wild pitch. As any other starter would, though, Keller will take that.
Plus, the Reds’ traffic on the bases pretty much ended after Keller left. Right-hander Wil Crowe locked down the sixth and seventh in a much-needed strong effort after his ERA had ballooned to 4.50 with a couple rough outings this season. Right-hander Duane Unerwood Jr., tossed a 1-2-3 inning himself.
Then, the most welcome news for the Pirates: Right-hander David Bednar was called upon to pitch the ninth inning in a save situation, the first time that’s happened for him since July 29, before back injuries put him on the shelf for nearly two months. Bednar impressed, striking out the first two batters he faced in a 1-2-3 effort, locking down his 18th save of the season, but his first since July 23.
All of that was made more valuable by Andujar. The Pirates won’t ask questions about how he got here, they’ll just celebrate the fact that he arrived and made an instant impact, helping the Pirates to their second win in a row.©2022 PG Publishing Co. Visit at post-gazette.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.