A night after scoring just one run and striking out 16 times, the Pittsburgh Pirates again struggled at the plate for most of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on Friday.
After largely being shutdown through the first seven innings, the Pirates put up a pair of runs in the eighth inning on an Oneil Cruz two-run homer to center field. The Bucs came up short against the Mets in New York’s 4-3 win.
Up until the eighth inning, the Pirates only had three hits. In the eighth, Tyler Heineman singled and Cruz followed with a two-run home run to dead center.
The home run came against Mets starter Taijuan Walker (12-4), and the move promoted Mets’ manager Buck Showalter to go to All-Star closer Edwin Diaz, who picked up a five-out save.
Walker gave up three runs on five hits in 7.1 innings, didn’t walk a batter and punched out five for the Mets (91-55).
In the third inning, Eduardo Escobar scored all the way from first on a hit and run after Tomas Nido dumped a single into shallow right field.
Daniel Vogelbach continued to haunt his former team this series, as he slugged a solo shot to left-center to put the Mets up 2-0 in the fourth.
The Mets added another run in the sixth inning on a Pete Alonso sacrifice fly. Brandon Nimmo scored on the play.
They tacked on a run in the seventh inning when a ball off the bat of Nimmo fell in between shortstop Cruz and left fielder Jack Suwisnki in shallow left. Cruz was assessed with an error, and Escobar scored on the miscue for New York.
It was another quality start for Mitch Keller (5-11), who allowed three runs over six innings. Keller allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six Mets’ batters. Keller’s season ERA sits at 4.03.
Michael Chavis drove in a run for the Pirates for the second straight night. He plated Ke’Bryan Hayes with an infield single in the top of the fifth to cut the Mets’ lead in half.
The Pirates will look to get back on track on Saturday night at 7:10 against the Mets. Bryse Wilson (3-8, 6.03 ERA) will duel Mets right-hander Chris Bassitt (13-8, 3.44 ERA).
- Quite A Streak: After beginning the game with a pair of scoreless frames, Keller extended his scoreless inning streak to 17 straight innings, which is the right-hander’s career-high, before allowing a run in the third. That is the longest streak by a Pirates’ starting pitcher this season and the longest for any Bucs’ starter since Trevor Williams in 2018.
- Walker Figures Out Bucs: Entering play, Walker had struggled in his career against the Pirates. In four career starts in his career against the Pirates, Walker was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA. This included a rough outing against the Bucs earlier this month at PNC Park, when he took the loss after allowing four earned runs in five innings. On Friday night, Walker had Pittsburgh’s number.
- Quietly Streaking: Heineman’s eighth inning single extended his hitting streak to now seven games, giving him hits in all seven games on the month. Over that stretch, the Bucs’ backstop is 8 for 20 (.400) with a pair of doubles.