The Pirates got a serviceable start from Mitch Keller and, of all things, a bunch of timely hits against the Reds. Best of all, they kept the Reds in the ballpark for nine innings, and picked up a 6-2 win.
Keller muddled through five and two-thirds innings. He gave up seven hits and four walks, but in a complete reversal of the Pirates’ usual pattern in the Great American Horrorpark, the hits were all singles. Keller repeatedly got outs when he had to have them.
Keller gave up a run in the second, but it came on a double play with runners on the corners and nobody out, so that was a good thing. In the third, Reds starter Tyler Mahle led off by lining a ball off the wall in right, but Ben Gamel played the carom just right and threw Mahle out at second. In the fourth, the Reds loaded the bases with nobody out, but got just one run, on a sacrifice fly.
Keller left with two outs in the sixth and runners at the corners again. Anthony Banda came on to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera.
By the time Keller left, the Pirates had a 3-2 lead. Their first run came in the fourth when Gamel hit his eighth home run of the year into the stands in right.
Gamel’s clout tied the game briefly, but after the Reds went up 2-1 in the bottom of the inning, the Pirates came back with two more. Hoy Park led off with a single and moved up on a bunt by Keller. Ke’Bryan Hayes, who had three hits in the game, singled Park home and took second on the throw. Cole Tucker singled Hayes in.
The 3-2 lead somehow survived a difficult bottom of the seventh. Nick Mears walked the first two hitters and a single loaded the bases with nobody out. But Mears came back to get the Reds’ very dangerous 3-4-5 hitters on a pop up, a fly to center that didn’t score a run, and a strikeout.
In the eighth the Pirates finally did some damage to the Reds’ bullpen. After a pair of one-out walks, Michael Perez singled in a run. That was Perez’ second hit in the game, vaulting his average over the coveted .140 mark. Park got another run home with a sacrifice fly and pinch hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo doubled in a third run. That put the Pirates up, 6-2.
Chasen Shreve, who I could swear has appeared in every game for the last month (he hasn’t), pitched around a leadoff double in the eighth. Chris Stratton gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but nothing else. The Reds went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, so it can happen to the other team sometimes.