PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mitch Keller struck out 10, matching his career high, in six innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday to win the three-game series.
Keller (3-0) gave up two runs on five hits, getting out of a third-inning jam with runners on first and third and one out by striking out James Outman and forcing David Peralta to ground out. The right-hander also had 10 strikeouts in six innings last Aug. 30 in a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Peralta plated two runs with a two-out single in the first. Keller responded by striking out the side an inning later.
“I’m really happy with how I’ve been throwing it,” Keller said. “I’m really happy with how everyone’s throwing it in here, especially the starters. We’re doing all right. Then the back end of the bullpen is coming in and shutting the door, which is what you need in a winning team.”
The Pirates have won nine of 10, pushing their hot start to 18-8.
“You look at the quality of play, that’s the thing that stands out the most,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “If you’re consistent with what you do on the mound and you catch the baseball, you give yourselves opportunity. Because we are athletic, there are things that we can do that should be able to maintain it. It starts with playing defense and catching the ball.”
Julio Urías (3-3) allowed six runs on seven hits for the Dodgers, who dropped the last two of the three-game series after coming back from down five for an 8-7 win Tuesday.
“I just didn’t execute,” Urías said. “Obviously, there were a couple good inning in there. … It was just execution. There were pitches in there that should’ve been strikes, that should have gone for strikes, and weren’t strikes.”
Tucupita Marcano led off the first with a bunt single for Pittsburgh, getting to third when catcher Austin Barnes tossed it past first. He scored on a sacrifice from Rodolfo Castro before Jack Suwinski blooped a check-swing single into left field with two out, scoring two more.
Urías didn’t allow another hit until back-to-back homers in the sixth. A two-run blast from Connor Joe and a solo shot from Castro, each into the left-field bleachers, made it 6-2.
“We started off well, putting up two runs in that first inning,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We were in the game and then (Urías) just made that mistake to Joe on the curveball that just didn’t get to the dirt. That’s one that we would like to have back.”
Former Pirates shortstop Dick Groat died at the age 92 on Thursday. A Pittsburgh-area native, Groat was National League MVP in 1960, helping guide the Pirates to a World Series championship with a league-high .325 batting average. He won a second World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964. A two-sport star, Groat is one of 13 athletes to have played in both Major League Baseball and the NBA.
Drew Maggi started for the first time in the majors at third base for Pittsburgh. He was 0 for 3 but put a charge into one in the sixth with Outman making a running grab on the track in center. The 33-year-old made his big league debut Wednesday, when he struck out in a pinch-hit appearance during the eighth inning after playing 1,155 games across 13 minor league seasons.
Dodgers: RHP Dustin May (2-1, 3.07) takes the mound Friday in the first of a three-game set against the Cardinals.
Pirates: Begin a three-game series against the Nationals in Washington on Friday. A starter has not been announced.