Mitch Keller showed improvement, some very young prospects got into the game, and the Pirates’ home-run streak ended in a 9-2 blowout against the Rays.
Keller made his final start before the Pirates head north for the regular season. Keller had some bad luck a few times, but all in all, he made some significant progress. Keller went 3.2 innings, with eight strikeouts, two walks, eight hits, and four earned runs.
It doesn’t look good on paper, but we saw Keller with a new mindset. Case and point, in the 2nd inning, with the bases loaded and no outs. Keller induced a ground ball double play and then got a pop out to get out of the inning with just one run given up.
The Pirate’s offense got going with a leadoff triple from Greg Allen and a sacrifice fly from Diego Castillo in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Unfortunately, it looks like Allen strained his hamstring, tagging up and scoring. He was removed from the game and replaced by Diego Castillo in right field.
Dillon Peters replaced Keller in the top of the 4th and struggled against his first few batters, allowing a run to score. After the run scored, Peters settled down and pitched 2.1 innings. Peters line read 2.1 innings pitched, five hits, one earned run, one walk, and three strikeouts. Peters even induced five swings and misses from the Rays.
Chris Stratton had an extremely rough outing in the 7th inning, giving up back-to-back home runs to Harold Ramirez and Francisco Mejia. Stratton allowed one more run to score after a double from Oslevis Basabe, scoring Taylor Walls, making it an 8-2 deficit.
David Bednar looked electric on the bump in the top of the 8th inning; after a leadoff double, Bednar would get two strikeouts. One of those strikeouts was a beautifully painted splitter to get the backward K. Safe to say that Bednar looks ready for April 7th.
Cam Vieaux came on in the 9th inning to finish the Pirate’s side of pitching. The Rays would tack on yet another run to increase their lead 9-2. Vieaux got out of the 9th after a nice throw out at the plate by Pirate’s prospects Deion Walker and then a fly-out.
The offense, in general, didn’t produce much of anything other than a run scored on an error and the sacrifice fly we mentioned earlier. The Pirates amassed seven hits and a total of ten baserunners Sunday afternoon.