Final Score: Pirates 2 Rockies 0
Why The Pirates Won: A great performance by Mitch Keller enabled the Pirates to snap their 7 game losing streak. He pitched a 4 hit complete game shutout, striking out 8 and walking only 1 batter on 103 pitches. He finished strong by retiring the last 10 batters he faced. The Pirate’s defense was solid for the game, looking much better overall with Chris Ownings at shortstop and Castro back at 2nd. The Pirates offense did put some runners on base with 7 hits and 4 walks but hit or ran into 4 double plays. All in all, another weak performance by the Pirate batters but great pitching saved the day. The bottom line is the Pirates snapped that 7 game losing streak.
The Key Play Of The Game: Simple the 2 run home run by Rodolfo Castro with no outs in the bottom of the 7th. Castro, who has been shaky defensively playing shortstop, hit an 0-1 fastball straight away over the centerfield wall for a home run and the Pirates finally took the lead 2-0. Keller was not about give up the lead and the Pirates were never threatened, winning 2-0.
Next Game: Tonight, Rockies in Pittsburgh. Luis Ortiz takes the mound for the Pirates, a 24 year old raw talent with a fastball that can reach 100 MPH. He made a few starts last year and looked pretty good except for 1 start. Exchanging Ownings for Mark ( You Mean I Have To Take The Field) Mathias may be a bigger move than it would first appear. I would assume they may platoon him with Marcano at shortstop and Castro’s days there are over. He may get even more playing time if Marcano gets into his usual hitting funk. Whatever the Pirates do, Ownings is certainly a defensive upgrade from Mathias. I wrote yesterday that scoring 3 runs was more important than winning. If the Pirates had lost yesterday, 6-5 I might have felt better than I do now, but getting past the losing streak was huge. It gives the offense one more day to come out of their slump. Let’s start a winning streak.