After a second half filled with losses, suspensions, drama and even more losses, for nine innings in Anaheim Monday, all looked right in the Pirates’ world.
Josh Bell finally eclipsed the 30 home run plateau, Mitch Keller got the win and the Bucs snapped an eight game losing streak, beating the Angels 10-2.
Two costly errors in the first resulted in three early runs for the Pirates. The big play came from Albert Pujols, who short-hopped a throw home with the bases loaded, scoring a pair. That turned out to be all the offense Keller (1-1) needed.
The Pirates’ top pitching prospect allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks over five innings pitched. Keller started fastball heavy, throwing heat in 16 of his 20 first inning pitches, but stepped off the gas as the game progressed.
He finished with 55 fastballs thrown out of his 94 pitches, with four of the nine balls in play against it resulting in hits- all singles. Two of his four strikeouts on the night came on his four-seamer.
Keller had to pitch out of jams in the later innings of his outing, loading the bases in the fourth and putting the first two men on in the fifth. He escaped relatively unscathed, allowing a sacrifice fly to Max Stassi in the fourth and the other run scoring when third baseman Pablo Reyes flubbed a ball with two outs in the fifth.
After scrapping together their first few runs with small ball, the rest of the Pirates’ tallies came on extra-base hits. Kevin Newman opened the second inning with a home run, and Jacob Stallings pushed the lead to six with a two run double in the third.
Stallings launched a solo shot in the fifth, as did Bryan Reynolds and Josh Bell in the sixth. Jose Osuna made it an even 10 runs with a ninth inning double.
Jose Suarez takes the loss (2-4), allowing six runs, four earned, in three innings pitched.
Bell went 2-5 with a homer and a pair of runs scored and plated. He has seven hits, including three home runs, in four games this road trip after getting a three game break to unplug last week.
Stallings went 2-3 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI and a run scored. He was also hit by a pitch.
Chris Stratton struck out three in three scoreless innings of relief. Felipe Vazquez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Trevor Williams (4-5, 5.06) will try to make it two in a row Tuesday at 10:07 p.m.. Griffin Channing (4-6, 4.76) will go for the Angels.
1. Monday was Stallings’ first multi-extra base hit game of his career.
2. Vazquez’s final pitch was clocked at 100.7 MPH to strike out Shoehei Ohtani. That is the second hardest pitch he has thrown to end a game this year. He hit 101.4 MPH to conclude the May 7 contest.
3. Bell is just the second Pirate switch-hitter ever to homer 30 times in a season. Bobby Bonilla hit 32 in 1990.