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The Pittsburgh Pirates faced a disheartening 9-5 defeat in a 10-inning game against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park. Despite an initial lead, the Pirates’ bullpen struggles led to a loss that Pirates manager Derek Shelton described as a missed opportunity. “It was a game that we should have won,” Shelton said. “We were right there and we just didn’t finish it.”

The game began promisingly for the Pirates, with Bryan Reynolds hitting a grand slam during a five-run fourth inning, which seemed to set the team on a path to victory. However, the Giants’ bullpen impressively retired 19 consecutive Pirates batters, allowing them to slowly close the gap.

Pirates starter Jared Jones provided a quality start, pitching six innings and allowing three runs. However, a pivotal moment came with Matt Chapman’s two-run homer in the sixth inning, bringing the Giants within reach. Reflecting on the pitch, Jones acknowledged his mistake. “I threw the pitches I needed to throw when I needed to throw them,” Jones said. “Obviously, I need to get better at throwing certain pitches in tight spots where that could end up costing us the ballgame. I don’t give up that home run to Chapman if I throw a better pitch, [and]we probably walk away with a win.”

With key relievers David Bednar and Luis Ortiz unavailable due to recent game appearances, the Pirates had to rely on less experienced bullpen arms in the critical late innings. This included Aroldis Chapman, who struggled significantly, walking three consecutive batters to load the bases in the eighth inning. His performance highlighted ongoing control issues, as he has the highest walk rate among all pitchers with significant innings this season.

Colin Holderman was called upon to manage a tough situation, attempting his first six-out save in the majors. Although he navigated through the eighth inning with minimal damage, the ninth proved challenging. Luis Matos’s base hit, followed by a single from LaMonte Wade Jr., tied the game. Carmen Mlodzinski, who took over in the tenth, then conceded four runs, sealing the Pirates’ fate.

Reflecting on the bullpen’s performance, Shelton emphasized the need for improvement. “We have to put the ball on the plate more,” he said. “The walks are something that hurt us. And I know we gave up the hits but the reason we were in those situations was because of the walks.”

As the Pirates look to the series finale on Thursday, they face both the challenge and the opportunity for redemption. Holderman summed up the team’s resilience: “We had some late-inning magic yesterday and they did today,” he said. “We live and die by it. We’ve got a series [finale]tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes and try to take the series.

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