The Pittsburgh Pirates dropped their series-opener to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night in 10 innings. As disappointing as the defeat was, it paled in comparison to the potential loss they could have suffered.
Mitch Keller threw a first-pitch cutter to Brandon Marsh in the sixth inning, then stepped off the mound, shaking his arm with a grimace on his face. It turned out to be a familiar “zinger” that occasionally happens to the right-hander, who insists he is fine.
Assuming that’s the case (let’s hope and pray), let’s get back to the game. After shutting the Phillies down through the first five innings, Keller surrendered a pair of runs in the sixth inning. All-in-all, it was a solid start for Pirates’ No. 1 pitcher, giving up two runs on three hits with two walks in six innings. The four-arm attack of the bullpen battled to the very end, but David Bednar gave up the game-winning hit in the 10th inning, suffering the loss (3-3).
Aaron Nola started for Philadelphia, giving up one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings. With the victory, the Phillies clinched a playoff spot, while the Pirates fell to 74-83 on the season.
A couple pitches after Keller’s scare on the mound in the sixth inning, he gave up a solo homerun to Marsh, his 11th of the season, breaking the scoreless tie and giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper scored Kyle Schwarber to make it 2-0.
As they have done all season long, the Pirates battled back, scoring a run in the seventh and eighth innings on two solo homeruns. Bryan Reynolds connected on his 24th long ball of the year in the seventh to cut Philadelphia’s lead in half, and Henry Davis tied the game with his 7th homerun of the season in the eighth inning.
But the hero of the night for Philadelphia was Johan Rojas, who singled home Cristian Pache in the bottom of the 10th to send the Phillies crowd into a frenzy, and the team into the postseason.
This was a tough loss for the Pirates, falling in extra innings to their cross-state rivals. Hopefully all is, indeed, fine with Keller, while the team can even this series with a victory in game two on Wednesday evening. Johan Oviedo will be on the bump for Pittsburgh against Ranger Suarez for the Phillies.
Record vs. Phillies: 2-2
Record vs. N.L. East: 14-14
Record on the Road: 36-43
Overall Record: 74-83
Let’s Go Bucs!