Pirates outfielder Starling Marte saved a run for starter Gerrit Cole, venturing back to the wall in left field and bringing a Brandon Crawford fly ball back from beyond the fence in the second inning on Saturday afternoon at PNC Park. Cole had thrown an 0-1, 95 MPH fastball, which Crawford drove to the opposite field.
It proved to be a crucial play as the two teams would carry a 1-1 tie into the seventh inning. Jung Ho Kang provided the Pirates’ first run with a solo homer, and broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh with another solo blast. Marte would win it in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off solo home run off of George Kontos.
Watch Marte’s nice snag:
Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.
Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.
It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.
Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.