Mitch Keller shined on the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-1 at Fenway Park on Wednesday to complete the three-game sweep.
Keller (1-0) completed seven innings for the third time in his big league career. He allowed just a single run on four hits, a pair of walks and recorded seven strikeouts. He threw a career-high 107 pitches, 78 of which were strikes. Keller’s 78 strikes were the most by a Pirates’ pitcher in a game since Gerrit Cole in 2015.
Keller didn’t find himself in hot water until his final inning. With two outs in the seventh, Triston Casas doubled and ultimately scored on a Christian Arroyo infield single.
Initially, it looked like Boston (2-4) would tie the game later in the inning with what was originally ruled a three-run home run by pinch hitter Reese McGuire. After an umpire meeting, they ruled it a foul ball which was upheld by a quick review. Keller later struck out McGuire to preserve a 4-1 lead.
Carlos Santana lined a solo homer around Fenway’s iconic Pesky Pole in right field in the top of the fourth inning to put the Pirates ahead 1-0. It was Santana’s first home run of the year and it snapped an 0 for 13 skid.
The homer was the only one Red Sox starter Corey Kluber (0-2) allowed in his five innings of work. Kluber allowed two hits, walked one and struck out a pair.
Santana drove in Oneil Cruz for his second RBI of the game in the seventh inning with a two-out double into the right field corner.
With runners on the corners in the top of the sixth inning, Ke’Bryan Hayes laid down a perfect bunt which allowed Bryan Reynolds to score. Hayes won a footrace to the first base bag and reached with a single.
Reynolds doubled to begin the inning, extending his hitting streak to now six games. In the seventh, Reynolds drove in Jason Delay with a sacrifice fly to left field to extend the Pirates lead to 3-0.
Duane Underwood Jr. collected his second career save to preserve the victory.
Andrew McCutchen recorded his first two-hit game of the season with a pair of singles and was also hit with a pitch.
After an off day Thursday, the Pirates (4-2) will return to PNC Park on Friday for their home opener against the Chicago White Sox. Rich Hill (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will square off with right-hander Lucas Giolito (0-0, 3.60 ERA). First pitch: 4:12.
- Tip Of The Cap To the Staff: The Red Sox came into the series against the Pirates on a roll at the plate. Boston scored nine runs in each of their first three games against the Baltimore Orioles. After scoring five in the opening frame in the first game of this series, the Pirates’ pitching staff limited Boston to only three runs the rest of the way.
- Left Stranded: The Pirates had the bases loaded with one out in first and six innings but failed to push home a run. In the first, Hayes and Jack Suwinski each popped out as Corey Kluber was able to dance out of an early jam. In the sixth, Rodolfo Castro struck out while Ji Hwan Bae lined out to short to end the inning. The Pirates will need to cash in on these chances moving forward.
- A.L. Again, And Again: The Pirates may have wrapped up their series with the Red Sox, but get used to watching some more interleague games. The Pirates first homestand of the year consists of two, three-game series against American League opponents. After their weekend series with the White Sox, the Pirates will host the reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros for three games next week.