The Pittsburgh Pirates will enter Thursday’s home opener on a hot streak as they finished their first road trip of the season with a 4-1 win and series sweep of the Boston Red Sox.
Mitch Keller turned in the best outing of his career after allowing just one earned run over seven innings while collecting seven strikeouts. The 27-year-old fired 107 pitches, 78 strikes, over 26 batters faced. Rob Zastryzny earned his second hold with a spotless eighth inning and Duane Underwood Jr. put a lid on the game with a save in the ninth.
The Pirates’ scoring started in the fourth inning as Carlos Santana avoided Pesky’s Pole and earned his first home run of the season.
Carlos Santana's first home run in Black & Gold. pic.twitter.com/8jBBQmEuFC— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 5, 2023
Ke’Bryan Hayes followed that in the sixth with a bunt single to first which allowed Bryan Reynolds to score.
When you look up 'perfect bunt' in the dictionary, you'll see this. pic.twitter.com/qpPuyEKURm— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 5, 2023
Reynolds added the team’s third run in the top of the seventh as a sacrifice fly drove in Jason Delay. The play ended on a somber note, though. Oneil Cruz advanced to third on an errant throw from Red Sox left fielder Masataka Yoshida but took a shot to the face by Rafael Devers.
Cruz stayed in the game and was brought in a couple hitters later on a double to right by Santana, but he would leave the game after that. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said he is being evaluated for a face injury.
The Pirates look to continue their winning streak on Friday as they welcome the Chicago White Sox to PNC Park for their home opener. First pitch is scheduled for 4:12 p.m.