The depth of future regulatory expectations for the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely have improved Saturday night. And not because of what any of their current junior followers have done.
In what is almost certainly one of his last two games with the organization, veteran Jose Quintana threw seven rounds of shutdown in lifting the Pirates to a 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
With the MLB 11-day trade deadline looming and Quintana on a shortlist of coveted goals for teams that need a left-handed player, the 33-year-old may have increased the value of his trade by continuing to mix ’90s low-speed ball, curve and change as he has done all season .
“I know (there are) a lot of rumors around me,” Quintana said after the match. “I’ve been in this situation before. I don’t care about that now. I just want to keep throwing the ball well. Today, I’ve been concentrating on executing my performances and trying to spend fewer pitches per hit. That’s all I have control over. I want to keep going. Focus on that.”
Quintana (3-5), the 2016 All-Star, made nine swings and missed among his 81 shooters (52 goals). All four of Miami’s hits against Quintana were singles. He didn’t walk, and the only runner who made it to third base while in the game was Luke Williams in the third inning. Williams arrived via one of two throw errors by Ke’Bryan Hayes.
With three double plays and two caught steals, Quintana faced only three players above the seven-game limit (24).
“It was really good,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton.
“He went out and got executed. He moved the fast ball around. He was very efficient. … a really good outing because this is a very good right-handed hitting club.”
During 11 of his 19 starts this season, Quintana has allowed two or fewer runs gained while working at least five rounds. His ERA season dropped to 3.70.
The Buccaneers endured 23 consecutive games on the playing board during the last seven rounds of an 8-1 loss on Friday and the first two hits on Saturday. But after Hayes walked with two naysayers in the first, Marlins player Max Meyer left the game due to what the team described as an elbow discomfort.
Miami was then forced to post a Bullpen, but that did little to spark a Pirates attack that had produced two or less times in five of their past six matches.
With the handling of Quintana, all a pirate needs is one. It came in sixth with a duet from Yoshi Tsutsugo, who came out of the doldrums 1 for 21 with a stroke in the middle from Tanner Scott’s Ben Jamal record.
“He was grinding a little bit,” Shelton said of Tsutsugo. “I thought he had three really good rackets tonight.”
The Pirates were limited to nine hits, and all but one (third-stroke double Kevin Newman) were singles. The only member of the starting lineup who didn’t make it was Hayes, whose nine-game hitting streak was cut short.
Wil Crowe worked around a hit and one solo during the eighth inning, and David Bednar earned his 17th block despite being issued a solo walk in the ninth.
The closing is the Buccaneers’ third this season, the first since June 5 and the second with a 1-0 score over the past four seasons.
Before Saturday, the Buccaneers (40-55) lost five of their six previous ones.
Quintana has improved his PNC Park ERA this season to 2.64. But will he make another start there? His next rotation role is scheduled for Friday’s home game against the Philadelphia Phillies. But by then another team might be dangling very attractively from a business deal that the Pirates’ general manager, Ben Chirington, couldn’t resist.
Cherington has shown a penchant for doing deals before deadline days, and a veterans sale is underway following Friday’s deal for designated hitter and RBI leader Daniel Vogelbach to the New York Mets.
Quintana, who is earning $2 million this season on a one-year deal he signed in November, the business talk has taken a step and instead focused his post-game notes on the win.
“It feels great to start the second half strong, and that’s what I had in mind today – tie the string, get the first win of the second half,” Quintana said. “And I really focus on the things I can control.
“I’ve been around for a long time and tried not to have anything to distract me, so just really focus on the things I have control over. So I’m really happy with this outing, that’s how I wanted to start strong and keep moving forward.”
Chris Adamsky is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Chris via email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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