Phillip Evans had been swinging a hot bat early in the season, but it pays to be lucky, too. He was fooled by Brandon Woodruff's sinker, but his swinging bunt went just far up the third base line for him to beat out an infield single.
That would be the only hit the Pirates had all night. Just about all the offense, too, as their only other base runner was Evans again, drawing a walk in the seventh. They barely even threatened to get something going, only driving two balls out of the infield.
Woodruff deserves most of the credit for shutting the Pirates down, striking out 10 over 6.1 innings in the Brewers' 3-0 win Wednesday.
"Pretty dominant," Derek Shelton said about Woodruff. "Executed all four pitches. Obviously kept us off-balance throughout the night."
But the Pirates' offense hasn't been able to muster much offense against starters so far this year. In the first six innings in games this year, they have scored just eight runs. That's the third fewest in baseball, ahead of only the Diamondbacks (7) and Rangers (6). The trade off is they have done quite well late in games, scoring 15 runs from the seventh inning on, six of which came Tuesday in their comeback victory. That is among the most in baseball.
Shelton has talked about how relievers were still ramping up compared to their starter brethren, Hitters are usually a bit behind pitchers entering spring training, so after a short summer camp, it is reasonable to think that starting pitchers could be at an advantage.
It should also be taken into consideration that so far, the Pirates have faced some pretty good starting pitching from the Cardinal and Brewers.
"I think one of the key points here is, especially this game and the [Jack] Flaherty game [opening day], is they just pitched really well." Shelton said. "They execute pitches really well and because of that made it challenging. Then when you get a really small sample size in six games, if you want to you can really magnify it out. I just think tonight we got pitched well, and their bullpen guys came in and threw the ball well, too."
But unless the Pirates start generating some offense early, the conversation will shift from the opposing pitchers to their hitters.