The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-4 on Saturday. Twins’ right-hander Sonny Gray retired the first 16 Pirates he faced but the wheels fell off from there. Pittsburgh (55-68) scored seven runs in the last four innings, including a massive home run blast from Andrew McCutchen.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double from right fielder Max Kepler. Neither team managed another base runner until the fifth, when the Twins doubled their lead to 2-0 on a single from Michael A. Taylor.
Peguero broke up the perfect game on an infield single with one out in the sixth. Jason Delay singled and Ji-Hwan Bae walked to load the bases, setting the table for McCutchen to tie the game with a single. Ke’Bryan Hayes put Pittsburgh up 3-2 with a knock of his own.
Keller loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame, then fought back with three consecutive strikeouts to hold on to the lead.
Bae added a run in the seventh on an RBI double. Pirates’ reliever Colin Holderman let the Twins close the gap to 4-3 on a sacrifice fly, running into trouble and loading the bases. Thomas Hatch entered and forced a flyout on the first pitch he threw to end the threat.
Twins’ designated hitter Royce Lewis nearly tied the game in the eighth with a high fly ball that curved just foul. David Bednar entered with two outs in the frame to attempt a four-out save.
Bednar allowed the first three batters he faced to reach in the ninth as Minnesota closed the game to 7-4, bringing the tying run to the plate.
He forced Carlos Correa into a double play, then induced a foul out to Hayes to preserve the save.
Keller pulling a Houdini with the bases loaded, ending his day on a high note and preserving the lead.
Star of the Game:
Mitch Keller struck out 12 batters across six innings, allowing two earned runs.
Stat of Interest:
The Pirates walked as many times as they struck out (nine).
Keller has consecutive quality starts after his rough patch following the All-Star Break.
McCutchen racked up five RBI with his first home run since June 30: the dinger put him at 298 for his career.
Andrew McCutchen’s five-RBI game vaulted him to No. 9 on the Pirates’ all-time leaderboard for the category.
The Pirates look to take the series with Minnesota at 2:10pm Sunday. Pittsburgh will send Osvaldo Bido (2-3, 5.05 ERA) to the mound. Minnesota counters with left-hander Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 9.45 ERA).