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Bell, Archer Lead Pirates To Series Victory With 6-1 Win Thursday Afternoon

Moran and Polanco each Homer as Pirates improve to 30-31 as they start a road trip in Milwaukee on Friday

June 06, 2019 - 5:19 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Pirates Starting Pitcher Chris Archer pitches into the 7th inning as he strikes out 6 and only gives up 1 run and First Baseman Josh Bell Doubles three times with two RBI as Pittsburgh wins the series over Atlanta with a 6-1 victory Thursday afternoon at PNC Park.

Braves First Baseman Freddie Freeman opened the scoring for the ballgame with a solo home run in the top of the 1st, but Archer was able to lock it down after that and the Pirates offense gave him a lead to work with after plating three in the bottom of the 2nd.

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"He (Archer) basically doubled up, same kind of concept pitching off the fastball, opened up some lanes, slider's playing much better because they are having to gear up and get ready to hit the fastball," said Manager Clint Hurdle. "Threw a couple hooks, threw the changeup as well so it's a four pitch mix and basically the fastball established everything, four quadrants, up, down, in and out. Two seamer, along with the four seamer, his first pitch strikes got him in a pretty good spot, he retired 11 I think on three pitches or less. And only ran three 3-ball counts the entire day, so he was on point and again when you see the swing and miss, the six punchouts, his stuff was very, very fresh and very efficient today."

After going 1-3 against Milwaukee to open up this homestand, the Pirates take 2 of 3 from Atlanta and are now 30-31 as they head to Milwaukee for a weekend series beginning tomorrow. Archer talked about the fight in this team and ignoring all the noise outside of the club when they do lose a couple in a row and keeping the belief up inside the clubhouse.

"It's a long season, one out of 162 or a handful of 162 is not going to bring us down," said Archer. "We have some veterens in this clubhouse who know that and we have some young dudes in this clubhouse who don't know the difference. It's a nice blend and one bad game where we played poorly doesn't really have a lingering effect on us."

Both Archer and Joe Musgrove have been very complimentary of Jacob Stallings and the work he puts in with the pitching staff even on days he is not in the starting lineup.

"I think the trust factor just puts the pitcher at ease with the starting catcher back there," said Stallings. "Trusting the fingers that are being put down and I think he and I are starting to build a lot of trust and so it's fun when we're on the same page and then it works."

One of the big reasons the Pirates were able to finish up this homestand on a positive note is that the offense is starting to click and help pick up the pitching the past couple weeks and that could mean very good things if the pitching returns to how it was early on the season when the pitching carried the offense.

"It's been going on for awhile, so it's not just one thing, it's guys working, their working, it's not like we're facing bad pitching all of a sudden," said Hurdle. "We're facing quality guys and we're not chasing, we're nailing balls that in the strike zone and barreling them up and we're using the entire field. It's really good to see us jump some velocity and hit some off spead stuff as well and we've done a combination of the two."

After struggling at the plate at the end of the Milwaukee series, Josh Bell unplugged over the off day and Hurdle gave him the opening game of the series against Atlanta off to kind of reset after the month of May he had.  And that time off seemed to pay off in big dividends in the second game of the series and the series finale. What did he do during his time off?

"Working with Eckstein and watching video, seeing what was going right when I was on there for a little bit and then just trying to get back there," said Bell.

With Thursday afternoon's win, the Pirates are now 30-31 on the season and are now 4.5 games back in the NL Central and 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot heading into the weekend. After the series in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh will travel to Atlanta for 4-games and will wrap up the road trip in Miami with 3-games before returning home to open a homestand against Detroit.

Pirates Outfielder Corey Dickerson was back in the clubhouse today and is really close to returning, but still no word on if he could return at some point on this upcoming road trip. Listen to what Dickerson had to say after the game below:

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