Pittsburgh Pirates: Mitch Keller Gem Sets Tone in 5-1 Win

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

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Led by a tremendous start from Mitch Keller the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off their four-game series in Miami with a 5-1 victory on Monday night

After taking two of three from the Brewers in Milwaukee over the weekend the Pittsburgh Pirates continued their 10 game road trip leading up to the All-Star Break by beginning a four-game series at Marlins Park in Miami on Monday night. Led by a tremendous starting pitching performance the Pirates were able to continue the early success of the road trip with a 5-1 victory.

The win improved the Pirates to 3-1 through the first four games of their road trip. Overall on the season, the team now owns a 37-50 record. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates will continue to play well on this road trip and enter the All-Star Break on a high note.

1st inning rollercoaster ends in an early Pirate lead

The 1st inning was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kevin Newman singled to start the game and went to third base on an infield hit by Ke’Bryan Hayes that also included a Miami throwing error.

After this it appeared the Pirates were ready to pound on Trevor Rogers. Rogers would then rally to strikeout Michael Chavis, and while Daniel Voglebach battled his way to a 10 pitch at-bat, he also struck out.

While Hayes did steal second base with Vogelbach at the plate, the Pirates had gone from looking like they could post a crooked number to being on the verge of wasting a golden scoring opportunity. Diego Castillo would then pick his team up when he flared a base hit into shallow center field. Castillo’s hit scored Newman and Hayes, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

Strong game for Kevin Newman

His leadoff single was just the start of a strong night for Newman. It was the best combined game offensively and defensively that Newman has had since returning from the injured list late last week.

In Newman’s second at-bat he doubled into left-center field deriving in Jake Marisnick. This made the score 3-0 Pirates in the 2nd inning. Newman also made tremendous defensive play ranging far to his right and deep into the hole at shortstop, getting to the ball and making a strong throw to first base to retire Jesus Sanchez to end the 4th inning.

Newman was also victimized by some tough luck in the 7th inning. He hit a ball 98.6 MPH down toward third base. Miami third baseman Brian Anderson made a good play to stop the ball and throw out Newman, robbing him of another RBI and potentially a second double.

Mitch Keller throws a gem

In his last start Mitch Keller was cruising along before the wheels fell off the cart with two outs in the 5th inning. Looking to turn in a bounce back outing on Monday night, Keller achieved just that as he turned in his best start of the season thus far.

From the get go it was clear that Keller had not just his good stuff, but some of the best stuff he has had all season. His slider, which was filthy throughout the start, was fooling batters from the 1st inning on. His power fastball worked well up in the zone with a lot of rise to generate swings-and-misses.

Keller pitched 7 innings, allowing a run on 5 hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out 5, lowering his ERA on the season to 4.88. However, since he started to throw his sinker Keller’s ERA is just 3.86.

This start by Keller was the first in which a Pirate starter went at least 7 innings and allowed just one run or less without issuing a walk since Joe Musgrove in June 2019. He became he first Pirate pitcher to do it on the road since Gerrit Cole in August 2017.

Jake Marisnick puts it on ice in the 9th

Monday night saw outfielder Jake Marisnick return from the injured list. It also saw Marisnick make me look foolish for saying that he should not re-join the active roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates once healthy.

Marisnick went 2-for-3 in the game. He also drew a walk and stole a base. Marisnick scored twice, hit his 3rd double of the season and he launched his 1st home run as a Pirate. In fact, Marisnick had the two furthest hit balls of the night with his 419 foot home run and 371 foot double. His home run came in the 9th inning, making the score 5-1 Pirates to put the game on ice.

Yerry De Los Santos slams the door shut

Right-handed reliever Yerry De Los Santos has done nothing but impress since making his MLB debut last month. That continued on Monday night when he recorded the final four outs of the game, all of which came via the strikeouts. This outing makes him 3/3 on the season in save opportunities.

De Los Santos has now pitched 16 MLB innings, issuing just five walks and striking out 19 batters. He’s also allowed just 11 hits, although three of them have been home runs. De Los Santos appears to be budding into one heck of a high-leverage bullpen arm for the Pirates.

Next. Report: Pirates Rejected "Tempting" Offers for Reynolds, Bednar. dark

Game two of the series on Tuesday night will see the Marlins send righty Pablo López (2.91 ERA, 3.60 FIP) to the mound. Chris Stratton (5.14 ERA, 3.73 FIP) will start for the Pirates and serve as an opener. First pitch from Marlins Park is scheduled for 6:40 PM ET.