PITTSBURGH — Amid the cold, chilly, wet conditions at PNC Park on Wednesday, Bryse Wilson found a way to shine.
Wilson orchestrated one of the best starts of his career in the Pirates’ 4-3, 10-inning win over the Reds, firing a career-high eight shutout innings and collecting six strikeouts. When asked where the outing ranks, Wilson assessed that the performance was “definitely up there.”
“I was able to keep the pitch count low, work very efficiently,” Wilson said. “They came out aggressive and we were just getting a lot of weak contact. We kept executing pitches.”
Wilson’s lengthy outing was a function of his ability to quickly retire batters. He sat down 13 Reds on three or fewer pitches and six on just one pitch. Those quick at-bats allowed Wilson to remain fresh deep into the game.
“Going into the sixth, seventh and even eighth inning with the pitch count that I had, my body still felt good,” Wilson said. “There was no exhaustion or tiredness at all. Having that comfort in those late innings is really, really nice.”
“His tempo was incredible,” said second baseman Kevin Newman, who delivered the walk-off single in the 10th inning. “He was making his pitches. He was keeping guys off-balance. I don’t think anybody really hit the ball that hard off of him all day. Just an all-around really phenomenal effort.”
Wilson’s only stressful inning of the afternoon was his last. After allowing a single to Jose Barrero and hitting Donovan Solano with a pitch — Wilson said the wet conditions may have played into control issues at that point — manager Derek Shelton strode to the mound. He has pulled the managerial mound visit card several times in past weeks and did so again on Wednesday, electing to keep Wilson in the game. Wilson rewarded that trust by retiring TJ Friedl on two pitches to end his afternoon on a high note.
“He’s pitched well against us before,” said Reds manager David Bell. “He just pitched a really good game, made it tough. It kind of shows you what location, mixing your pitches, hitting your spots [can do]. Just really not a comfortable at-bat, so you’ve got to give him credit there.”
At 90 pitches through eight innings, Wilson, who has never thrown more than 100 pitches in a single game, appeared to be in prime position to record the first complete game of his career. Instead, Shelton gave the ninth inning to Chase De Jong, who allowed three runs on a pair of back-to-back home runs.
Kyle Farmer launched a two-run home run after Spencer Steer led off the inning with a single, then Jake Fraley followed up with a solo home run to knot the game up at three. Following the game, Shelton elaborated on his decision to end Wilson’s afternoon after eight frames.
“Number one, he hadn’t been up that many times,” Shelton said. “Number two, we felt he was at the end of his rope. I went out and talked to him in the eighth, and he kind of emptied it there. So, 3-0 lead, he had done his job and Chase has been really good for us all year. It’s kind of hard to fault a guy that’s probably been our most consistent performer out of the bullpen.”
For as gut-wrenching as the ninth inning ended up being, the Pirates completed the sweep thanks to Newman’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th.
“It’s unfortunate the way [the ninth inning] went down, but obviously, that’s baseball,” Newman said. “For us to come back up there and get guys on and then get a knock and get the win is huge for us.”