Pittsburgh Pirates: Tyler Anderson Earns First Win of Season With 5 1/3 Solid Innings

Photo Credit: AP

 Baseball is a long season, and if there is anything you can count on is that things have a way of balancing out. After one of the ugliest, hard to watch victories on Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates won a picture perfect outing to earn at least a split of their series against the San Diego Padres.

Tyler Anderson went 5 1/3 innings of four hit, one run baseball earning his first victory as a Pirates. He did so matched up against former Bucco Joe Musgrove, who less than a week ago threw the first no-hitter in Padres history.

Musgrove only allowed four hits and one run, but the Pirates patience at the plate drew two walks and forced the Padres starter out after just four innings pitched.

In true feast or famine fashion for Gregory Polanco, he finally made clean contact with a ball and launched it out into the stands, his first of the season. Adam Frazier drove in two runs on three hits, two doubles, returning to the top of the order with a right-handed pitcher back on the mound.

After walking 13 batters the night before, the Pirates' pitchers only allowed three free passes Wednesday night.

Some observations from Wednesday night's victory

You can see the back of the bullpen slowly starting to form. All though they were always noncommittal to Richard Rodriguez being the closer, it was obvious from the get go he'd get the ninth inning.

Acquired from the Chicago Cubs during Spring Training, Duane Underwood Jr. has been great early on in the season. He recorded three more strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings Wednesday night. The 26-year old righty has 13 strikeouts now in 8 1/3 innings this season.

The great thing about Underwood so far has been his versatility. He definitely has shown he has the stuff to pitch in the later innings when the heat is on, but he has also pitched multiple innings in four of his five outings this season.

He even went into his third inning of work (finished with 2 1/3) on April 6 against the Cincinnati Reds.

Then of course there is Sam Howard, who was featured on this site earlier on Wednesday, about his elite slider that has been generating plenty of swing and misses. 

Howard didn't generate any swing and misses, but going into the game, the lefty ranked sixth among receivers in SwingingStrike%. 

Being able to go Underwood-Howard-Rodriguez (Chris Stratton got the ninth inning after the Pirates padded the lead) doesn't happen if the starter doesn't get them to that situation.

So awesome on Anderson for pitching such an effective game, and he is the only Pirates starter to finish at least five innings in each of his starts this season. 

Phillip Evans looked rather human tonight, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. I'd be willing to bet he bounces back tomorrow in a big way.

I don't think Dustin Fowler is a great upgrade overall from Anthony Alford, but I do believe there is more upside in getting the former more at bats. He has made some good contact, and with the shorter right field fence, it's only a matter of time before one goes over.

Up Next

The Pirates and Padres wrap up their series on Thursday with the home team having the opportunity to take three-of-four. Mitch Keller (1-1, 4.50 ERA) gets the nod for the Pirates against Padres righty Chris Paddack (0-1, 5.63 ERA).

What were your thought on the game? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top of the site, and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.

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