Following a disappointing 9-2 blowout loss to the MLB-worst Cincinnati Reds in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates responded with a convincing 8-5 victory in the second game, salvaging a twin-bill split against their division rivals.
The Pirates hit three homeruns in the first inning and put a lot of runs on the board for starter Mitch Keller, who, as it turned out, would need just about every one of them. Keller struggled again on Saturday, giving up five runs on six hits with three walks in 4.1 innings of work. Heath Hembree earned the victory (2-0) despite pitching less than an inning, and David Bednar tallied his fourth save of the season.
Bryan Reynolds’ third homerun of the season got the scoring started in the first inning, hammering a solo shot over the left field wall. A two run homerun by Yoshi Tsutsugo later in the inning and a solo blast from Diego Castillo gave the Bucs a 4-0 lead before the Reds even stepped to the plate.
When they did get their first change against Keller, though, Cincinnati responded with a pair of runs. A double by Brandon Drury got them on the board, a single by Mike Moustakas made it 4-2.
An RBI double by Cole Tucker and a two run homerun by Ben Gamel in the top of the fourth made it a 7-2 lead, and it looked as though the Pirates may run away with this one.
But as has been the case with the Reds over the years in Cincinnati, no lead is ever safe. A three run homerun by Drury put the home team right back in the game at 7-5. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, that would be as close as the game would get. A double by Jack Suwinski scored Daniel Vogelbach in the seventh to give the Bucs an insurance run, and they would hold on for the 8-5 victory.
This was a nice response by this Pirates’ team after suffering an embarrassing loss in game one earlier in the day. They now have two games left in this series, with the hope being that they are able to still win this series against the Reds, who are in the midst of one of the worst starts to a season in MLB history. The two teams will take the field Sunday afternoon, with Zach Thompson pitching for the Bucs against Tyler Mahle for Cincinnati.
Record vs. Reds: 1-1
Record vs. N.L. Central: 6-11
Record on the Road: 6-8
Overall Record: 11-15
Let’s Go Bucs!