Mitch Keller took a step backwards on the mound on Friday night, as the Atlanta Braves coasted to an 8-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park.
Keller fell to 11-9 on the season, giving up 8 runs on 12 hits in five innings. The Braves used a four-run third inning and a three-run fourth inning to put the game away early. Also of note was Mitch’s dip in velocity, which is a concerning trend for the Bucs’ top starter.
Eddie Rosario’s single scored the game’s first run in the third inning, and was followed by a two-run single from Travis d’Arnaud. Orlando Arcia’s RBI single completed the scoring in the third inning, and was followed by Ronald Acuna Jr’s solo homerun in the fourth, his 35th of the season, to make it a 5-0 score. Rosario then stepped to the plate and blasted his 21st homerun of the season, a two-run shot to right field, to make it 7-0. Acuna Jr’s RBI single in the fifth made it 8-0 Atlanta, and the rout was on.
The Pirates avoided the shutout by scoring two runs in the top of the sixth. Jack Suwinski hit a two-run homerun, his 24th of the season, to right field. The long ball also scored Ke’Bryan Hayes, making it an 8-2 score. The Bucs couldn’t get any closer, and the Braves easily shut things down in the latter innings.
Obviously, this is not the way we wanted to see this road trip open up for the Bucs. Coming off a stretch of solid play built some momentum behind this team, but the Braves are the very best in all of baseball, and they certainly showed that on Friday, on the mound and at the plate.
The Pirates will look to even the series when the take the field against Atlanta again on Saturday. Johan Oviedo will be on the mound for Pittsburgh against Dylan Dodd for the Braves.
Record vs. Braves: 2-3
Record vs. N.L. East: 10-11
Record on the Road: 31-39
Overall Record: 65-76
Let’s Go Bucs!