It wasn’t quite the comedy of errors the last game was, and Mitch Keller turned in a better performance than he has been. Newcomer Trevor Cahill, however, snagged the win, his first as a Pirate, as the Bucs beat the Orioles 6-5 in an eight-inning game at LECOM Park.
Keller went three and a third innings. He looked fairly sharp in the first inning, making Cedric Mullins ground out and fanning Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini. It helped that Kevin Newman’s bat remains hot; he doubled in his first at-bat, which was followed by an Erik Gonzalez single and a Phillip Evans sac fly that scored Newms to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Mountcastle singled in the top of the second, but Michael Perez caught him at second on a positive rope to Newman. “I can do that,” Keller must have thought after Austin Hays singled. Um, no. Keller threw the ball past Colin Moran to let Hays advance, and Freddy Galvis made him pay with a single that scored Hays and tied the game.
Although Keller gave up a walk to Santander and a single to Mancini, he managed to get out of the third inning without giving up a run. Not so much O’s starter John Means, who walked Tony Wolters, gave Newman a single, and an Evans single to center field that let both baserunners score to make things 3-1 Bucs.
The wobbly wheels on the Kellermobile finally came off in the fourth inning, with Hays singling and advancing on an error by Perez, then consecutive doubles by Galvis and Pedro Severino to tie the game 3-all. That ended Keller’s day at 71 pitches. Geoff Hartlieb finished the inning, but only after allowing a Mullins double that scored Severino and put the O’s ahead.
Cahill came into the fifth and proceeded to pitch two no-hit innings with a strikeout. The O’s were like “let’s help the new guy out” and went wild pitch/catcher throwing error/passed ball that turned a Gonzalez walk into a tying score. In the sixth, Perez doubled, Newman singled (again), and Gonazlez two-bagged it for a 6-4 Bucs lead. Other New Pitcher Guy Duane Underwood Jr. turned in a hitless inning, but Luis Oviedo made things exciting in the final inning by yielding a single to Stevie Wilkerson and a double to Rio Ruiz that scored Wilkerson. Still got the save, though. #RaiseIt
Notice I said Keller was “better” and not “great.” At least he lowered his ERA to … 16.20. As the guy who was supposed to come in to make up for the loss of Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon, any improvement is good, but his strides need to be way longer. Get to work, kid.