The Pittsburgh Pirates (22-19) avoided the sweep against the Baltimore Orioles (26-14), thanks to Mitch Keller’s (5-1, 2.38 ERA) brilliant outing and an offensive push in a 4-0 victory.
The main takeaway from Sunday’s game has got to be Keller showing just how dominant he has been this season.
Keller achieved a career-high 13 strikeouts against a top-five offense in the Orioles. Keller’s multiple versions of his fastball were on point Sunday afternoon.
Six strikeouts occurred on his four-seam, and then another four were registered on his sinker.
When it was all said and done, Keller had now achieved 16-straight scoreless innings pitched and had struck out 21 batters in those 16-straight innings.
As a little tidbit to Sunday’s game, Keller became the first Pirates’ pitcher to have a start of at least seven shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and no walks.
Keller’s final line Sunday afternoon reads seven innings pitched, four hits, no earned runs, no walks, and 13 strikeouts.
The Pirates’ offense finally broke through Sunday afternoon against the Orioles and achieved some much-needed firsts over the past few weeks.
The first achievement occurred in the first inning of Sunday’s contest, as the Pirates scored in the first inning for the first time since April 29 against the Washington Nationals.
Carlos Santana drove in the first run with Andrew McCutchen on third and Bryan Reynolds on first base. Santana beat out a potential double play after video review, and the Pirates took an early 1-0 lead.
The next achievement occurred in the third inning, where the Pirates scored more than three runs in a game since April 29.
It all started with a strikeout of Reynolds, but thanks to a wild pitch and a failed attempt to hold on to the ball for Kyle Gibson (4-3, 4.67 ERA), Reynolds reached base safely.
Jack Suwinski then drew a two-out walk with Ke’Bryan Hayes coming to the plate.
Hayes then smacked a single to right field allowing Reynolds to score easily, and the Pirates took a 2-0 lead with runners on first and third.
Tucupita Marcano then bunted over Hayes to second base, which then set up a Ji-Hwan Bae two-out, two-RBI single to right field, and the Pirates took an immense 4-0 lead.
The Orioles’ best offensive chance came in the eighth inning with Cedric Mullins on third and Gunnar Henderson on second base with two outs, and Colin Holderman on the mound.
Holderman then recorded his second strikeout of the inning against Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle wore the golden sombrero Sunday afternoon.
David Bednar appeared in his first game since May 10, and only his third appearance in May. Bednar allowed a hit, and Hayes had an error, but the righty shut the door to complete the Pirates’ fifth shutout of the year.
The Pirates’ pitching staff struck out a combined 17 Orioles batters, and all, but two starters (Anthony Santander, and Austin Hayes) had at least one strikeout on the afternoon.
The Pirates welcome an off day on Monday in Detroit, before they begin a short two-game series with the Tigers, before heading home on Friday.