Pittsburgh Pirates Walked Off in Series Opener in Philadelphia

The Pirates kicked off their final road series of the season on Tuesday night in Philadelphia
Sep 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23)
Sep 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23) / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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A strong start from Mitch Keller was not enough for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they got walked off by the Philadelphia Phillies in 10 innings on Tuesday night

After starting their final road trip of the season by taking two of three from both the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled into Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Looking to continue their terrorization of teams contended for NL Wild Card berths, the Bucs kicked off a three-game series against their cross-state rivals.

After struggling on offense for much of the night the Pirates fell on Tuesday night, suffering their second consecutive loss. The Pirates lost to the Phillies 3-2 in 10 innings, dropping the Bucs to 74-83 on the season.

Strong start from Mitch Keller ends in concern

In what may be his final start of the season, Mitch Keller turned in a strong one against the Phillies. Throughtout the start Keller's breaking stuff was ridiculous and kept Philly batters off balances and looking silly.

Entering the 6th inning Keller had not allowed a hit. Following the first pitch of the inning Endy Rodriguez met him on the mound, being met by Derek Shelton and the Pirate training staff. With Keller seemingly being bothered by something in his elbow he threw a few pitches on the mound and then remained in the game.

Keller proceeded to allow a home run to Brandon Marsh to end his no-hit bid as the Phillies took a 1-0 lead. The Phillies then got runners on the corners with just one out, resulting in a sacrifice fly off the bat of Bryce Harper before Keller got the final out of the inning.

Overall it was a strong start from Keller. In 6 innings pitched Keller allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts while generating 12 swings-and-misses. It was also a historic start for Keller who now has 210 strikeouts on the season, breaking AJ Burnett's franchise record for strikeouts by a right-handed pitcher in a season.

At this point, the main concern is hoping that Keller is fine. To be honest, the Pirates probably should have pulled Keller as soon as he experienced any sort of discomfort.

It's game 157 of a season that is going to end with a sub-.500 record. Keller's 194.1 innings are nearly 40 more innings than his previous career high (159) set last season. Leaving Keller in the game was simply a big risk.

Bullpen steps up

Dauri Moreta was first up out of the Pirate bullpen. For a second conseutive outing, Moreta looked absolutely filthy. The first batter he faced reached on a fielding error by Moreta, although it was a high throw from Jared Triolo, but Moreta retired the next four batters he faced. This included a trio of strikeouts in 1.1 hitless, scoreless innings pitched.

Lefty Ryan Borucki followed Moreta and continued to pitch well. Borucki retired all three batters he faced, including a strikeout and getting Harper to ground out to start the 9th inning. Carmen Mlodzinski then continued his impressive rookie campaign by getting the final two outs of the 9th inning, including a strikeout looking to send the game to extra innings.

Off to extra innings..

Triolo walked to start the 10th inning putting two runners on base with no one out. Unfortunately, this golden opportunity would be wasted. Connor Joe popped out, Endy Rodriguez flew out, and then Davis struck out to end the threat.

David Bednar took the ball in the bottom of the 10th and would suffer the hard luck loss. After getting a strike out to start the inning, a weakly hit Johan Rojas ground ball found the outfield grass allowing pinch-runner Cristian Pache, who started the inning on second base as the extra inning's base runer, to race home giving the Phillies a 3-2 victory.

Long balls rally the Bucs

Trailing 2-0, the Pirates would rally with solo home runs in back-to-back innings. Leading off the 7th inning Bryan Reynolds launched his 24th home run of the season, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Then with one out in the 8th inning, Henry Davis hit a solo home run. His 7th long ball of the season tied the game 2.

The home run from Davis was one of two hits on the night for him and it continues his recent hot streak at the plate. After going 0-for-7 with 6 strikeouts in his first two games back from the injured list, Davis has since gone 7-for-20 with a walk, 2 doubles, and 2 home runs. Certainly a small sample size, but it's still good to see Davis finding his stroke at the plate again.

Next up

In what will likely be his final start of the season, Johan Oviedo (4.12 ERA, 4.39 FIP) will look to finish off his first full MLB season with a strong outing. Lefty Ranger Suarez (3.89 ERA, 3.95 FIP) is set to start for the Phillies. First pitch from Citizens Bank Park is scheduled for 6:40 PM ET.

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