Mitch Keller pitched eight scoreless innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs by a 2-1 score on Friday night at PNC Park.
The victory marked the Bucs’ first win over the Cubs this season, as Keller improved to 11-8 on the year. Giving up four hits and a walk while striking out six in eight innings, he lowered his ERA to 4.01. His mound opponent, Kyle Hendricks, suffered the loss (5-7) despite turning in a decent outing. He gave up two runs on six hits in 5.2 innings. David Bednar earned his 28th save of the season, despite giving up a run and making things very interesting in the ninth inning.
The Pirates scored their only two runs of the game in the first inning. Bryan Reynolds’ double to right field scored Ke’Bryan Hayes to make it 1-0. Later in the inning, Reynolds scored when Joshua Palacios slapped a ground ball to second base. The throw home was late and inaccurate, giving the Bucs a 2-0 lead.
The scored remained 2-0 until the top of the first inning, when Ian Happ hit a solo homerun off Bednar, his 15th long ball of the season, to cut the Pirates’ lead in half, 2-1. But the Bucs’ closer was able to set down the next three batters, including a strikeout of Seiya Suzuki, to end the game.
This was a tremendous start by Keller tonight. He has certainly had a roller-coaster ride of a season, but the All-Star pitcher showed tonight what he’s capable of doing on any given night on the bump. Pittsburgh will look to make it two straight victories over the Cubs when they take the field on Saturday night at PNC Park. Javier Assad will be on the mound for Chicago, while the Bucs have yet to name a starter.
Record vs. Cubs: 1-7
Record vs. N.L. Central: 17-21
Record at Home: 32-34
Overall Record: 58-71
Let’s Go Bucs!