April 19, 2024

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The Buccaneers start 5-0 for the first time.  Time since 1983

The Buccaneers start 5-0 for the first time. Time since 1983

The Pirates signed a victory over the Nationals on Monday that allowed them to reach a five-game winning streak.

WASHINGTON — Allow others to downplay the way the Pittsburgh Pirates started 2024.

Manager Derek Shelton is excited that his club is 5-0 for the first time in 41 years, and has scored at least six runs per at-bat at this point in the season for the first time in at least 124 years.

“It's important that we get off to a good start,” Shelton noted Monday night after the Pirates beat the host Washington Nationals 8-4 to follow up a four-game series against the Miami Marlins. “Coming out of spring training and all the things you talk about that you want to implement, we talked a lot about what our intention should be and what our intent should be, (and) we did that in the top five.” games.”

Pittsburgh is coming off a 76-86 record a year ago and finished fourth in the NL Central. The team has not finished with a winning record since 2018 and has not won a postseason game since 2013.

So that kind of early success, the least that usually means in a 162-game major league marathon, might actually carry some weight.

“I was nervous not to blow it,” said left-hander Marco Gonzalez with a smile after his first outing for the Pirates, a no-decision in which he allowed just one run in five innings. “I'm glad I can get it out of the way and keep going. I don't think anyone here really realizes it now. We're just having fun. That's the best part of this.”

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Heading into Wednesday's game at Washington after Pittsburgh's first day off arrives on Tuesday, the Buccaneers have outscored their opponents 39-21 so far, which averages out to about 8-4.

There are contributions from the entire lineup. On Monday, for example, Michael A. Taylor with three songs, while Brian Reynolds, Andrew McCutcheon, Alika Williams and Henry Davis each contributed a pair.

Davis, the former No. 1 overall pick, appears poised to stay with the big club, but there are other prospects in Triple-A Indianapolis who could also join the party later this season, including No. 1 overall pitcher Paul Skines, and Infielder Nick Gonzalez, who was hitting .400 as of Sunday.

Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead, suddenly found itself tied 3-3 in the seventh, then immediately responded, scoring three runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth.

“We're doing a lot of things very well…we're doing a lot of things right,” said Connor Joe, who drove in his eighth-run double.

“Everyone realizes it's still early, right? We don't want to get ahead of ourselves here, but the atmosphere is good. Everyone supports each other. Everyone takes advantage of the pressure we put on the shooters. Right?” Joe added. “That goes to the next guy and the next guy. We just hit the bats. We're playing gritty baseball now and that's contagious.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.