Mitch Keller limited the St. Louis Cardinals to two hits in five innings as the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-1 Sunday.
The Pirates won for just the ninth time in their last 31 games against the Cardinals. They avoided a three-game sweep in their season-opening series and they earned new manager Derek Shelton his first victory.
Keller (1-0) held the Cardinals to their only run while matching his victory total for 11 starts last year. Relievers JT Brubaker, Michael Feliz and Nick Burdi followed with four shutout innings.
Jose Osuna ripped a two-run homer and Colin Moran hit a solo blast off losing pitcher Dakota Hudson (0-1), who lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits.
Keller had to work out of trouble in the second inning. He walked Paul DeJong and Matt Carpenter, but then he coaxed a double-play grounder from Yadier Molina and got Dexter Fowler to fly out.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third inning after a brief kerfuffle. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejected pitcher Derek Holland from the Pirates dugout for critiquing his balls and strikes calls. That brought Shelton onto the field for a socially distanced discussion.
Once things settled down, Kolten Wong hit a two-out single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored from there on Tommy Edman’s infield single.
But the Pirates responded in the fourth inning, taking a 3-1 lead on homers by Moran and Osuna.
Jacob Stallings led off the fifth inning with a double and moved to third on a groundout. Josh Bell drove him home with a sacrifice fly against reliever Austin Gomber to put the Pirates up 4-1.
Brubaker, who was making his major league debut, allowed Paul DeJong’s leadoff double and Molina’s one-out single in the seventh inning — but he stranded both runners.
Phillip Evans hit an RBI double in the eighth inning to push the lead to 5-1.
–Field Level Media