Ke’Bryan Hayes belted a two-run home run in the first inning and the Pirates went on to win easily over Miami, 9-2. The top third of the order combined for six runs and six RBIs, and the Pirates are now 3-0 when they have Hayes for a full game.
Hayes’ first-inning bomb, his second home run in his very brief season so far, followed a walk to Adam Frazier. It went to straightaway center.
That lead was shortlived, as Mitch Keller lost the plate in the top of the second. After a leadoff strikeout, Keller walked three straight. The Marlins’ pitcher, Cody Poteet, hit into a force play at the plate, but Josh Devers doubled in two runs.
Keller came out for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the second; with the Pirates’ short bench, Derek Shelton sent up Chase De Jong, who struck out. The official word had Keller coming out due to a “heat illness.” He’s being evaluated.
The Pirates took back the lead for good in the bottom of the third on a two-out, RBI single by Gregory Polanco. They added another run in the fourth after loading the bases with one out. Frazier singled in a run, but Hayes hit into an unusual double play. He drilled the ball into the ground and it died right at the plate. Catcher Sandy Leon grabbed the ball, stepped on the plate and threw to first.
The Pirates blew the game open with five runs in the sixth. Frazier, Hayes and Reynolds had RBI hits, and Jacob Stallings had a two-run single.
The Pirates’ bullpen shut the Marlins out over the last seven innings. Duane Underwood, Jr., followed Keller and threw two scoreless innings, fanning four. Chasen Shreve threw an inning and a third and Chris Stratton went the last three and two-thirds. Stratton retired all 11 batters he faced and picked up his first save. It was an unusual save, as Stratton qualified both because the tying run was at the plate when he came in and because he pitched at least the last three innings. Underwood got the win.
Frazier reached base four times, with two hits and two walks, and scored three times. Hayes had two hits and three RBIs. Reynolds had two hits, including a double. It’s very different watching a Pirate team with at least four good players — those three and Stallings — in the lineup. You have to wonder whether, instead of looking to trade everybody but Hayes, the Pirates should try to retain those four and try to add a few more good players.