Pirates Finish Sweep of Red Sox Behind Keller and Santana
Mitch Keller struck out seven, Carlos Santana homered and Bryan Reynolds knocked in his seventh run of the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 4-1 win Wednesday.
Ke’Bryan Hayes drove in a run with a perfectly-placed bunt in the sixth and Santana added an RBI double during a two-run seventh that put the Pirates up 4-0.
It was the Pirates' first road sweep of an American League opponent since Pittsburgh took three at Detroit in 2018.
“That’s a good Red Sox team and they score a bunch of runs. I was really proud of our pitchers and how they did a good job of neutralizing them,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said.
Pittsburgh improved to 4-2 on a cold, gray and blustery afternoon at Fenway Park, where the game-time temperature was 41 degrees. The Red Sox fell to 2-4.
Keller (1-0) braved short sleeves despite the conditions and held Boston to one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking two in seven innings. He carried a shutout into the seventh, when Triston Triston Casas doubled with two out and scored on a single by Christian Arroyo.
“We had used a lot of our leverage guys and were a little short," Shelton said of Keller. "For him to give us seven strong and finish was really important. Outstanding outing by him.”
Boston's Corey Kluber (0-1) held the Pirates to one run on three hits over five innings. The only run charged to Kluber was in the fourth, when Santana pounced on an inside cutter and drove it out to right for his first homer of the season, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
“It’s good. Last night and today, I’m feeling much better,” said Santana, who was hitless in his previous 13 at-bats before the homer. “When you focus, something happens positive.”
John Schreiber started the sixth for Boston and faced Reynolds, who had homered in three straight games. He lined Schreiber’s first pitch for a double to left. Reynolds took third on an infield single by Andrew McCutchen and scored easily when Hayes dropped a bunt just a few feet inside the first-base line and ran it out for an infield hit.
Duane Underwood threw just five pitches in the ninth for his first save.
Keller and the Pirates had to weather a brief scare when a drive to right by pinch-hitter Reese McGuire with two on was initially called a home run, which would have tied it. The umpires briefly met and concluded it was foul, which was confirmed on a video review.
“That was kind of a crazy turn of events there,” Keller said. “I was watching the ball. I was kind of amazed that they called it fair.”
The Red Sox continued to struggle offensively, getting outhit 9-5 at home and going long stretches in the series without scoring. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning of Tuesday night's 4-1 loss, Boston didn't score again until the seventh inning on Wednesday.
“We didn’t play good baseball,” manager Alex Cora said. “We show some flashes of good stuff but overall, like today, that wasn’t good. When you aren’t scoring runs like the last two days, you’ve got to be on point. Even when you’re scoring runs, you’ve got to play better defense. I think we just made some bad decisions.”
Although his streak of consecutive games with a homer ended at three, Reynolds continued his torrid start in the first week of the season and wrapped up a stellar series. Reynolds was 7 for 12 in the three games and has 24 total bases through six games. The only Pittsburgh player with more in the first six games was Barry Bonds in 1988.
Pirates: SS Oneil Cruz needed a few minutes with a trainer after getting tangled up with Rafael Devers while sliding into third on a throwing error in the seventh. Cruz remained in the game through the rest of the top half of the inning, but was replaced at short by Radolfo Castro when Boston came to bat.
Red Sox: RHP Brayan Bello (right elbow inflammation) threw 72 pitches Wednesday in a rehab start in Fort Meyers, Florida, and reported no issues, the Red Sox said.
UP NEXT Pirates: After a day off Thursday, Pittsburgh plays its home opener Friday against the Chicago White Sox. Veteran LHP Rich Hill (0-1, 5.40 ERA) faces Chicago RHP Lucas Giolito (0-0, 3.60).
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (0-0, 21.00 ERA) gets his second start of the season as Boston opens a three-game series at Detroit on Thursday afternoon against Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull (0-1, 27.00). Sale lasted three innings in his season debut Saturday, allowing seven runs on seven hits against Baltimore