Pittsburgh Pirates: Mitch Keller Deals, Team Falls Short in Finale


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In the final game of the homestand, the Pittsburgh Pirates come up empty again despite a strong start from Mitch Keller

On a cold and rainy day, the Pittsburgh Pirates lost the rubber match of the series against the San Diego Padres to finish the homestand 1-5. A pitching duel between Mitch Keller and Joe Musgrove carried the game through 6 innings before the Padres opened up their lead in the 7th and never looked back.

Mitch Keller Looked Impressive

After not having his best stuff in round two against the Brewers, Keller came out looking sharp, striking out Trent Grisham with 5 fastballs and Manny Machado on three pitches, both swinging strikeouts. He carried that momentum through the second inning before giving up a few softly hit singles that brought around the game’s first run in the third on a single from Machado.

Keller bounced back, however, and put the Padres down in order in the 4th inning. He followed that with another solid fifth inning, limiting the Padres to an infield single and getting the final out on a 99.8MPH fastball.

Keller then took the mound in the 6th, only the second time he’s done so this season. Keller entered the day with a career 8.31 ERA the third time through the order, so matching up Keller against Machado for the third time took a lot of faith from manager Derek Shelton. The move worked, and Keller got Machado on a comebacker, then put down the Padres in order.

Final line: 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 ER, 5Ks, 85 pitchers (56 strikes)

Cole Tucker Error Leads to 2 in the 7th

Chase De Jong took the mound in the 7th inning looking to keep the game at a 1-run deficit. After getting the first two outs of the inning, a misplaced throw by shortstop Cole Tucker allowed the inning to continue. De Jong gave up a double to right followed by a 2-run single to make the game 3-0.

Pirates Strike in the 7th and 8th

After a quiet 6 innings, the Pirates’ offense was finally able to get to former teammate Joe Musgrove. In the 7th inning, Jack Suwinski got things going with a single to right field before being moved to second on a Tucker ground out to first. Roberto Perez followed that with an RBI single off of the Clemente wall.

Despite that Musgrove made easy work of his former team, scattering 7 hits and fanning 8 across 7 innings of work. The one extra-base hit of the day came from Ben Gamel, who roped one off of Musgrove in the 4th inning, and Suwinski had 2 hits as well.

In the 8th inning, Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes followed each other with walks to start the inning. Then Yoshi Tsutsugo roped a fastball up the middle off of opposing pitcher Robert Suarez’s glove, loading the bases and knocking Suarez out of the game without getting an out. Michael Chavis, pinch-hitting for Gamel, made it a one-run game with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Bullpen Struggles in 9th Inning; Pirates Fall Short

Down 3-2 in the 9th, the Pittsburgh Pirates called upon reliever Chris Stratton to hold the game at a one-run deficit. After getting the first out of the inning on a swinging strikeout, Stratton went on to give up two singles and a sacrifice fly. He was replaced by Miguel Yajure after giving up the second infield hit of the inning. Yajure gave up an RBI single before getting Machado to line out to right.

Next. Pittsburgh Pirates: These Two Lefties Have Killed the Bullpen. dark

The Pittsburgh Pirates went down in order in the bottom of the 9th to end the game at 5-2. After being .500 at the beginning of the week, a 1-5 homestand drops the Pirate record to 9-13. The Pirates have an off-day tomorrow before heading to Detroit to face the Tigers at 7:10pm on Tuesday night to begin a two-game series. Bryse Wilson (0-0, 4.70 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Bucs against Michael Pineda (1-1, 3.60 ERA).