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Two Homers and Mitch Keller’s Strong Start Lead Pirates to 7-4 Win Over Twins

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Ke’Bryan Hayes and Travis Swaggerty each hit home runs and Mitch Keller delivered a strong start as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-4 at LECOM Park on Saturday.

After Bryan Reynolds led off the fourth inning with a double, Hayes followed with a line-drive, two-run homer to left field. Hayes’ third home run of the spring put the Pirates out in front 2-1.

Swaggerty homered in the seventh inning on the first pitch he saw of the day. The solo shot was third homer of the spring for the 2018 first-round draft pick.

Mark Mathias doubled home Miguel Andújar to give the Pirates another run in the foruth inning, putting the Bucs ahead 3-1. In addition to his RBI-double, Mathias was hit by a pitch and stole a base.

Andújar later drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and also had a stolen base on his ledger.

Rodolfo Castro exrended the Pirates’ lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning after plating Canaan Smith-Njigba, who doubled two batters earlier.

Andres Alvarez padded the Pirates lead in the eighth inning with an RBI-double.

Pirates starter Keller held the Twins to one run in 4.2 innings. He allowed three hits, didn’t issue a walk but plunked two batters and struck out seven. Keller’s spring ERA currently sits at 3.45.

The Twins scored twice off of Carmen Mlodzimski in the seventh inning. Mlodzinski was lifted with two outs and the bases loaded in favor of lefty Cam Alldred. Alldred struck out both batters he faced to work out of the jam.

The Pirates? won the game on an automatic strike-three call after Twins’ catcher David Bañuelos was not alert to pitcher Colin Holderman in time. The victory is the third straight for the Bucs.

Up next, the Pirates will travel to Sarasota for a Sunday afternoon game with the Baltimore Orioles. Vince Velasquez is ecpected to start for the Pittsurgh.

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