As the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad.
The Pirates took the rubber match of the three-game series against the Tigers, 4-2 this afternoon at Comerica Park. No, they’re not at .500—in fact, I compared this season so far to the 2019 season, and believe it or not, the Bucs had an identical 9-10 record at this same time. And yes, it was the Tigers, who are looked at in the American League much the same as the National League looks at the Bucs.
But it’s a series win! We like those.
Starter Mitch Keller was an ... okay Mitch (good on those in the BD Commentariat who caught the Wizard of Oz references). A flurry of Pirates offense initially helped his cause to lead off the first inning. Adam Frazier, he of the current .329 batting average, took the very first pitch from Tigers starter José Ureña for a double. After Phillip Evans popped up, Bryan “I’m Always Good For RBI Singles” Reynolds did just that, lining one into center to score Frazier. Colin Moran advanced Reynolds on a groundout, then Erik Gonzalez, who has been getting some timely hits himself lately, also singled to center to get B-Rey home for a 2-0 lead.
Keller had a 1-2-3 first, then a 1-2-oops Niko Goodrum double in the second. Akil “My Sweet” Baddoo (sorry, that’s been in my head all day) tripled to score Goodrum to halve the Pirates' lead. He calmed down in the next two innings, only giving up a single to Jonathan Schoop in the fourth, but JaCoby Jones homered in the fifth to tie things up. A Robbie Grossman single and a Willi Castro forceout later, Keller’s day was done. He may have lost the lead, but overall his numbers were, as I said, okay—two earned runs on five hits with no walks and five Ks. Not world-on-fire numbers, but much better than the shipwreck of his last outing.
The Pirates secured the win in the eighth inning with the same guys that got the scoring party started. Adam Frazier (have to differentiate since Todd was DHing today) singled and advanced on a wild pitch by Charlie Soto. Reynolds walked, Moran singled to bring Adam home, and Erik Gonzalez was like, “let me get in on that sweet RBI single action,” and got Reynolds home.
Bucs relievers, as they have been of late, were reasonably solid. Duane Underwood Jr. gave up three hits but also struck out three with nobody scoring because Sam Howard, who got the win, bailed him out in the seventh with two on. Chris Stratton held things in the eighth, and Richard Rodriguez maintained his zip ERA with his third save.
Even though things didn’t turn out the way that he’d planned, Keller seemed a little more confident on the mound today. Timely hitting is helping too. And any time we can post #RaiseIt is a good time.