Mitch Keller keeps torrid May going by keeping Atlanta in check in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over Braves

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mitch Keller pitched into the seventh inning, Nick Gonzales delivered an RBI double and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Saturday.

Keller (6-3) kept Atlanta in check for 6 2/3 innings to win his fourth consecutive start. The right-hander gave up one run on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Keller is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts in May and has worked at least five innings in each of his last 42 starts, the longest active streak in the majors.

Bryan Reynolds had two hits for Pittsburgh, including a run-scoring single in the seventh that gave the Pirates a little breathing room on the day they celebrated the 45th anniversary of the 1979 team’s World Series title.

Several players from that club — including Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, reliever Kent Tekeulve and two-time National League MVP Dave Parker — were honored before the first pitch.

Nick Gonzales doubled and scored for the Pirates. The second baseman, a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, is hitting .333 (15 of 45) with 12 RBI over his last 12 games.

Pittsburgh’s bullpen, which struggled in a pair of late collapses to San Francisco earlier in the week, avoided a meltdown against the Braves. Colin Holderman retired four of the five batters he faced after replacing Keller. David Bednar induced Ronald Acuna Jr. into a game-ending fielder’s choice with two on in the ninth to pick up his 11th save.

Atlanta’s Reynaldo López (2-2) wasn’t quite as sharp as he’s been during the best two-month stretch of his nine-year career. The right-hander — who began the day with a 1.54 ERA, third-lowest in the majors — only retired the Pirates in order once and was dinged by the bottom half of the lineup during 4 2/3 so-so innings.

The Braves offense managed just one extra-base hit off Keller, a double by Ozzie Albies in the first. Jarred Kelenic provided an RBI single in the fourth but Atlanta did little else while suffering a second straight loss.

Pittsburgh’s Jared Triolo led off the third with a double and scored on a RBI single by Ji Hwan Bae. López walked Oneil Cruz to start the fourth and the towering 6-foot-7 shortstop then scored from first by getting an excellent read on Gonzales’ double off the 21-foot-high Clemente Wall in right. Gonzales then gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead when he sprinted home on Olivares’ sacrifice fly to left.

López exited after a 30-minute rain delay interrupted the bottom of the fifth. He gave up three runs, two earned on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings as his ERA ticked up to 1.75.


Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (back) has resumed full baseball activities. It’s unclear whether the Gold Glove winner, out since May 7, will need a rehab assignment before returning. … C Jason Delay (knee) is scheduled to begin a rehab stint at Triple-A Indianapolis next week.


The series wraps up on Sunday when Atlanta’s Chris Sale (7-1, 2.22 ERA) goes for his seventh win in as many starts. Martín Pérez (1-3, 4.80), winless since April 4, gets the nod for Pittsburgh.