Keller cruises through 6, Pirates score 5 times in 7th to beat Padres 7-1

Pittsburgh Pirates' Henry Davis singles off San Diego Padres relief pitcher Luis Garcia, driving in two runs, during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. The Pirates won 7-1. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mitch Keller allowed one run in six innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates scored five times in the seventh to rout the San Diego Padres 7-1 on Wednesday night.

Keller (9-3) gave up four hits and had five strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander has surrendered one run in three of his four starts since allowing 15 across his previous three.

The Pirates have won three of five after a season-worst 10-game losing streak. The five runs in the seventh all came before the first out was recorded. Josh Palacios had a pinch-hit RBI single, and Connor Joe and Henry Davis followed with two-run singles.

“It’s huge for confidence,” Keller said. “I think everyone that goes up to the plate there was eager and excited. Just to see it fall for us one time, see those balls fall into holes.”

Nick Martinez hit Jared Triolo, attempting to bunt, to load the bases ahead of Palacios. It was upheld following a challenge, leading to the ejection of Padres manager Bob Melvin for arguing with crew chief Chad Fairchild.

San Diego has lost four straight and seven of nine to fall to 37-43.

“It’s excruciating for everybody here,” Melvin said. “At a time where we should be playing better, it felt like we were going to, we’ve gone the other way. Now it’s not just offensively. We’re not playing good baseball across the board.”

Carlos Santana homered in a second straight game, driving a first-pitch fastball from Blake Snell (4-7) 427 feet into the left-field bleachers to put Pittsburgh ahead 2-0 in the first inning. He hit one of Pittsburgh’s three home runs in a 9-4 victory in the series opener Tuesday.

“We just kept going,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “This is a guy that hadn’t given up runs in a while and had been pitching really well in Blake. We just kept going. … We were able to keep griding and stayed with it.”

Snell allowed two runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts in six innings. He has been tagged for just four runs in 42 innings over his past seven starts since his previous loss May 19, when Boston scored six runs in four innings.

“Definitely not where we want to be,” Snell said. “Looking forward, if anyone could turn it around, it’s us. We’ve got all the talent in the world. So start believing, start putting it together as a team and we’ll be where we want to be. … I trust all these guys in here. I know we trust each other. It’s time to get it going.”

Keller labored through the first two innings, using 57 pitches to strand two runners in each. Ha-Seong Kim flew out with two men in scoring position in the second, the first of 10 straight batters Keller retired until Fernando Tatis Jr. started the sixth with a single to center.

“A lot of pitches there to get through those,” Keller said. “The mentality was just get some quick outs and get through as many innings as we can.”


Padres: RHP Reiss Knehr was placed on the 15-day injured list because of a strained right elbow. … LHP Ray Kerr was recalled from Triple-A El Paso.

Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes was placed on the 10-day IL, retroactive to June 25, because of low back inflammation. … Triolo was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, replacing Hayes at third in his major league debut. He singled in the eighth for his first hit.


RHP Joe Musgrove (6-2, 3.88) was set to take the mound for the Padres in the series finale Thursday, opposite RHP Luis Ortiz (2-3, 3.74). Musgrove has allowed one run in each of his three starts against Pittsburgh since being traded from the Pirates on Jan. 19, 2021.