Pirates finish sweep of Red Sox behind Keller and Santana

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON – Mitch Keller struck out seven, Carlos Santana homered and Bryan Reynolds knocked in his seventh run of the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 4-1 win Wednesday.

Ke’Bryan Hayes drove in a run with a perfectly-placed bunt in the sixth and Santana added an RBI double during a two-run seventh that put the Pirates up 4-0.

Pittsburgh improved to 4-2 on a cold, gray and blustery afternoon at Fenway Park, where the game-time temperature was 41 degrees. The Red Sox fell to 2-4.

Keller (1-0) braved short sleeves despite the conditions and held Boston to one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking two. He carried a shutout into the seventh, when Triston Casas doubled with two out and scored on a single by Christian Arroyo.

Boston’s Corey Kluber (0-1) held the Pirates to one run on three hits over five innings. The only run charged to Kluber was in the fourth, when Santana pounced on an inside cutter and drove it out to right for his first homer of the season, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

John Schreiber started the sixth for Boston and faced Reynolds, who had homered in three straight games. He lined Schreiber’s first pitch for a double to left. Reynolds took third on an infield single by Andrew McCutchen and scored easily when Hayes dropped a bunt just a few feet inside the first-base line and ran it out for an infield hit.


Keller and the Pirates had to weather a brief scare when a drive to right by pinch-hitter Reese McGuire with two on was initially called a home run, which would have tied it. The umpires briefly met and concluded it was foul, which was confirmed on a video review.


Pirates: SS Oneil Cruz needed a few minutes with a trainer after getting tangled up with Rafael Devers while sliding into third on a throwing error in the seventh. Cruz remained in the game through the rest of the top half of the inning, but was replaced at short by Radolfo Castro when Boston came to bat.

Red Sox: RHP Brayan Bello (right elbow inflammation) threw 72 pitches Wednesday in a rehab start in Fort Meyers, Florida, and reported no issues, the Red Sox said.

UP NEXT Pirates: After a day off Thursday, Pittsburgh plays its home opener 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 at Detroit on Thursday afternoon against Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull (0-1, 27.00). Sale lasted only three innings in his season debut Saturday, allowing seven runs on seven hits against Baltimore.

Nationals blow 6-run lead, rebound to beat Phillies 8-7

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WASHINGTON (AP) Lane Thomas singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals sent the Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight loss, winning 8-7 after blowing a six-run lead.

The defending NL champion Phillies have just five victories in their last 18 games and are tied with the Nationals at the bottom of the NL East at 25-32.

“We’ve got to overcome it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We’ve got to play better, get consistent in all phases and keep moving forward.”

Alex Call drew a two-out walk against Connor Brogdon (2-1) in the eighth, stole second on a low pitch that catcher JT Realmuto couldn’t make a throw on and scored on Thomas’ single to right center.

“The way Lane’s swinging the bat, if you can get on second base, we can win the game,” Call said. “I look over and the ball’s in the dirt, he doesn’t catch it. Now I’m saying: ‘All right, Lane. Come on!’”

Kyle Finnegan (3-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory, stranding the tying run on second in the ninth.

Nick Castellanos homered twice, singled, doubled and drove in five runs for Philadelphia, which had scored just three runs in its past three games.

“There’s definitely a lot of positives as a group,” Castellanos said. “Showing some fight. It would have been really, really easy to lay down and allow the way the game started to be the way that it finished.”

Down 7-1 after four innings, Philadelphia tied it at 7 in the eighth. Brandon Marsh worked a nine-pitch walk against Mason Thompson leading off, and Drew Ellis singled with one out. Finnegan came on to face Kyle Schwarber, who hit a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop CJ Abrams fielded it behind it behind second base, touched second for one out, but threw wildly to first and Marsh came home with the tying run.

Castellanos’s second homer, a two-run shot to center in the sixth, pulled the Phillies to 7-3 and Marsh added an RBI single in the inning.

In the seventh, Schwarber doubled with one out and Bryson Scott reached on an infield single. Hunter Harvey came on and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. Castellanos singled to center scoring two runs to make it 7-6.

Luis Garcia homered and Jeimer Candelario doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who have won seven of 12.

Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler, coming off eight shutout innings against Atlanta, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“This one’s on me really,” Wheeler said. “Guys battled back. Just couldn’t finish it out. We know who we have in this room and what we’ve got to do.”

Josiah Gray gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings for Washington.

Candelario doubled just beyond the reach of left fielder Schwarber to drive in the first of Washington’s two runs in the first.

In the second, Abrams hit a one-out drive to deep center that Marsh misplayed into a double. With two outs and two on, Candelario doubled off the wall in right center to make it 5-0.

Garcia ended Wheeler’s night with a solo homer in the fourth.

“When you come out the way we did, you’ve got to tack on,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It didn’t happen tonight, but we got one more than the other guys.”


Candelario is 9 for 26 (.346) with four doubles, a home run, nine RBIs, five walks, and seven runs scored in his last seven games.


Phillies: Thomson said RHP Taijuan Walker played catch Friday and there are “no worries about his next start.” In a four-inning outing against the Mets on Thursday, Walker’s sinker velocity averaged 90.6 mph, down from 92.7 mph for the season. His fastball, splitter and curveball velocity also dropped.

Nationals: OF Victor Robles (back spasms) took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the injured list. … LHP Sean Doolittle (elbow) gave up a run on two hits and struck out two batters in 2/3 of an inning working his second straight night for Class A Fredericksburg.


Phillies: LHP Matt Strahm (4-3, 3.20) will start a bullpen game on Saturday.

Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.57) went seven innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters in his previous outing – a no decision against the Royals.

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