Game Recap: Keller Melts Down Again, Pirates Lose Rain-Shortened Game

Mitch Keller failed to survive the third inning and the Pirates went on to lose to the Dodgers, 6-3, in a game shortened by rain to seven and a third innings.  The Pirates have now lost four straight, their seventh losing streak of three or more games.  The Dodgers swept the three-game series and have now beaten the Pirates 13 straight times.

Keller was shaky from the start as he fell behind the game’s first hitter, Mookie Betts, 2-0.  Betts then drilled a fastball for a home run to center.  Keller had to leave the bases loaded in the second after a single and two walks.

The Pirates tied the game in the bottom of the second when Erik Gonzalez looped a double to right, driving in Phillip Evans, who’d singled.  Gonzalez got to third with nobody out on a wild pitch.  He tried to score when Ka’ai Tom flied out to right.  The fly ball was shallow, but Betts had to run a long way toward the line to get it.  Betts made a thoroughly Clemente-esque throw, a perfect strike to the plate, to get Gonzalez.

And that was the high point for the Pirates.  In the third, Dodgers quickly loaded the bases with a single and two hit batsmen.  A sacrifice fly brought in one run, but Keller seemed about to escape when his mound opponent, Julio Urias, came up with the bases loaded and two out.  Urias, though, lined a two-run single to right to bring the latest Keller disaster to an end.  The only positive was that he found a way to melt down more efficiently, as hit batsmen take fewer pitches than walks.

The Pirates got back in the game quickly.  Adam Frazier hit his thousandth or so double with one out in the bottom of the third.  Frazier got himself caught off second when Ke’Bryan Hayes bounced back to Urias, but Bryan Reynolds made it moot with his tenth home run.  Reynolds has gone deep six times in his last 13 games.

And that was it for the Pirates’ offense.  They got only one baserunner, on Evans’ second single, over their last 14 batters.  They finished with six hits over seven innings, including a double by Hayes, and failed to draw a walk for the first time all season.  With RISP they were 0-for-6 and are batting 207/298/300 in those situations.

Once Keller was out, Chris Stratton stranded his last two runners.  Stratton left in the next inning with one out, one on and five left-handed hitters due up.  Derek Shelton went with Chasen Shreve and it worked out well, as Shreve retired five straight.  Duane Underwood, Jr., threw a scoreless sixth, then left in the seventh with a run in, the bases loaded and one out.  David Bednar stranded all three runners.

Kyle Crick had a rough time in the eighth.  Two singles sandwiched around a walk produced a run with nobody out.  Crick got Cody Bellinger to pop up, and then the rain put a merciful end to things.