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Pirates Preview: Bucs Look to Stay Hot Against Braves

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Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates erupted for a season-high in runs in an 11-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at PNC Park.

Nick Gonzales drove in a career-high four runs, Jared Triolo homered and all nine Pirates’ in the starting lineup had at least one hit.

On the mound, Bailey Falter worked into the eighth inning for a second-straight start and continued to get good results as he’s done for the majority of the season.

The Pirates (24-28) will look to stay hot and clinch a series victory over the Braves (29-19) on Saturday.

First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 ET and the game will be aired on SportsNet Pittsburgh.

Weather

There’s a threat of storms in the late afternoon/early evening but they might be able to get this one in. Temperatures in the 80s and winds W at 8 mph.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out RHP Mitch Keller (5-3, 3.84 ERA)

Keller’s excellent string of starts continued against the Cubs in Chicago on Sunday when he allowed a pair of runs in six innings pitched.

The Pirates’ right-hander has worked at least six innings in each of his last three starts and has posted a 1.29 ERA over that span (3er/21ip). He’s won all three of those outings.

Thanks to his efforts of late, Keller has trimmed down his season ERA from 5.18 on the last day of April to a much-healthier 3.84 mark.

It’s been a struggle against the Braves for Keller in his career. In five previous meetings, Keller is 0-3 with a 9.97 ERA. That’s the highest ERA he has against any team he’s faced multiple times.

The Atlanta Braves Will Send Out RHP Reynaldo López (2-1, 1.54 ERA)

After spending essentially all of the last three years as a reliver, the Braves signed López as a free agent this winter to help in the rotation and the decision has paid massive dividends.

Among pitchers with 40-plus innings on the year, López ranks third in ERA behind left-handers Shota Imanaga and Ranger Suárez.

In five career appearances/two starts against the Pirates. López is 1-2 with a 4.86 ERA. His lone win came at PNC Park in 2016 while with the Nationals when they clinched the division.

Braves Hitters vs. Keller

  • Ronald Acuña Jr.: 6 for 15, three home runs, four RBIs, one walk, three strikeouts
  • Ozzie Albies: 2 for 11, one home run, two RBIs, one walk, two strikeouts
  • Austin Riley: 4 for 10, one triple, four RBIs, three strikeouts
  • Marcell Ozuna: 2 for 9, one strikeout
  • Joey Wendle: 4 for 8, one RBI, one strikeout
  • Matt Olson: 4 for 8. one double, one strikeout
  • Michael Harris II: 2 for 7, two strikeouts
  • Travis d’Arnaud: 3 for 6, two doubles, four RBIs, two strikeouts
  • Orlando Arcia: 4 for 5, one double, one RBI
  • Jarred Kelenic: 0 for 3, two strikeouts

Pirates Hitters vs. López

  • Michael A. Taylor: 0 for 6, two RBIs, two strikeouts
  • Rowdy Tellez: 2 for 4, one home run, one RBI
  • Andrew McCutchen: 1 for 3, one home run, one RBI
  • Yasmani Grandal: 0 for 3, three strikeouts
  • Edward Olivares: 1 for 2, one home run, one RBI

Tidbits

  • The Pirates collected 14 hits in their win and are now 15-0 on the season when they have 10 hits or more. They’re the only undefeated team in the majors in such games.
  • Bailey Falter didn’t allow any runs until the eight inning. His string of 19.2 consecutive scoreless innings is the longest by a Pirates’ left-hander since Francisco Liriano in 2014.
  • 11 runs for the Pirates are their most since scoring 13 against the Cincinnati Reds last September in an epic comeback that saw the Pirates storm back from a 9-0 deficit.

Links

Pirates Encouraged by Early Returns From Henry Davis at Indianapolis

Pirates Prospect Watch: Grasshoppers Twirl One-Hitter

Bailey Falter Passes Big Test Against Tough Braves’ Lineup

Falter Shines Again, Gonzales Leads Big Night for Pirates’ Bats in 11-5 Win Over Braves

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