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Jun 7, 2024 3:42 am

Twins look to halt Pirates starter Mitch Keller’s win streak

Mitch Keller

Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller will look to win his sixth straight start on Friday night when the Pirates open a three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins.

The Pirates were unsuccessful in their bid for a three-game series sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, taking an 11-7 loss on Thursday. The Twins, meanwhile, fell 8-5 to the host New York Yankees, who completed a three-game series sweep and a six-game sweep of the teams’ season series.

Keller (7-3, 3.42 ERA) has yielded just five runs on 26 hits with 27 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings over his past five starts. He also has been remarkably consistent, pitching at least five innings in 43 consecutive starts dating back to March 30, 2023.

“I mean, even coming up through the minor leagues, that was the thing,” Keller said. “Starters go as deep as possible, that was the M.O. Three pitches or less to every batter, go as deep as you can into the game. I think that really helped me when I got to the big leagues and started seeing success. Like, OK, I can do this and be efficient.”

Keller, 28, was successful in his lone career start against the Twins. He struck out 12 batters and allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings of a 7-4 win in Minneapolis on Aug. 19, 2023.

Twins right-hander Joe Ryan (4-4, 3.38 ERA) will look to atone for his worst outing of the season when he provides the opposition on Friday.

Ryan will bid to keep the ball in the park after allowing season highs in homers (four), runs (five) and hits (eight) in five innings of a 5-2 setback to the host Houston Astros on Saturday. That effort came on the heels of Ryan keeping the ball in the park in each of his previous two outings, during which he fanned a total of 15 batters in 14 innings.

“It’s just frustrating. I don’t know where the (pitch to Kyle Tucker) was located, but all the other ones were exactly executed where we wanted them to be,” Ryan said, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Command was there, and we executed the game plan pretty much to a tee. It’s definitely frustrating.”

Ryan, 28, will be facing the Pirates for the first time in his career.

Minnesota’s Carlos Correa and Christian Vazquez each belted a solo homer on Thursday night. Royce Lewis, who sat out the series finale vs. the Yankees, has hit safely in nine straight games dating back to last September.

Pittsburgh’s Nick Gonzales belted a two-run homer in the third inning on Thursday to boost his RBI total to 22 in 24 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on May 10. Oneil Cruz went deep in the eighth inning, launching a three-run homer that sailed 462 feet and landed in the Allegheny River.

Ke’Bryan Hayes collected three hits in the finale against the Dodgers to improve to 9-for-23 (.391) with one homer, four RBIs and five runs in his past six games.

–Field Level Media

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