BOSTON — Mitch Keller struck out seven, Carlos Santana Howred and Brian Reynolds knocked in his seventh home run of the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday.
Ke’Bryan Hayes drove in a run with a perfectly placed bunt in the sixth, and Santana added an RBI double in a two-run seventh that put the Pirates up 4-0.
It was the Pirates’ first hit against an American League opponent since Pittsburgh picked up three in Detroit in 2018.
“This is a good Red Sox team and they score a bunch of runs. I’m 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 temperature was 41 degrees. The Red Sox fell to 2-4.
Keller (1-0) was short-handed despite the conditions and held Boston to one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking two in seven innings. He pitched a shutout seventh when Triston Triston Casas doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Christian Arroyo.
“We had used a lot of our leverage guys and we were missing a little bit,” Shelton said of Keller. “It was really important for him to give us seven strong and finish. An exceptional exit from it.
Boston’s Corey Kluber (0-1) held the Pirates to one run on three hits over five innings. Kluber’s only run came in the fourth when Santana pounced on an infield cutter and ripped it to right for his first homer of the season, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
“It’s good. I feel much better last night and today. said Santana, who was hitless in his previous 13 at-bats before the homer. “When you focus, something positive happens.”
Jon Schreiber started the sixth for Boston and faced Reynolds, who had homered in three straight games. He lined Schreiber’s first hit for a double to left. Reynolds took third on a single by Andrew McCutcheon and scored easily when Hayes dropped a bunt just a few feet down the first base line and fired it for an infield hit.
Dwayne Underwood threw just five hits in the ninth for his first save.
Keller and the Pirates had to endure a brief scare when a grounder to right by pinch hitter Reese McGuire with two outs was initially called a home run that would have tied the game. The refs met briefly and ruled it a foul, which was confirmed by 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, winning 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’re showing some flashes of good things, but overall, like today, it wasn’t good. When you’re not scoring, like the last two days, you have to be level. Even when you score runs, you have to play better defense. I think we just made some bad decisions.”
Although his homer streak ended at three, Reynolds continued his hot start in the first week of the season and completed a stellar streak. Reynolds was 7 for 12 in the three games and had 24 total bases in 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 he tangled with Rafael Devers while sliding to third on a throwing error in the seventh. Cruz stayed in the game for the remainder of the top half of the inning, but was replaced at shortstop by Radolfo Castro as Boston rallied.
Red Sox: RHP Brayan Bello (right elbow inflammation) threw 72 pitches Wednesday in a rehab start in Fort Myers, Fla., and reported no issues, the Red Sox said.
Pirates: After a day off Thursday, Pittsburgh plays home on 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 in 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.