SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mitch Keller tossed shutout ball into the sixth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates slipped past the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Keller (2-3) kept the Padres off balance by mixing his pitches effectively. He allowed two hits over 5 2/3 innings and struck out five.
“Trusting my stuff, going with the game plan,” Keller said. “I felt really good with my fastball.”
The right-hander entered with an 8.20 ERA after his first five outings this season.
“You have to tip your cap (to Keller),” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said. “It’s tough getting runs right now. We just don’t have a lot of guys feeling it.”
Keller also got his first major league hit, a single to right field in the fifth.
“It felt great,” he said. “I have been searching for that one since 2019 when I first got called up.”
Four relievers combined to give up one run in 3 1/3 innings for the Pirates. Richard Rodriguez earned his fifth save by working a scoreless ninth.
“We have all the confidence in the world in our ‘pen to get us out of stuff,” Keller said. “It’s a great feeling.”
With two outs and the bases empty for San Diego, left fielder Ka’ai Tom made a jumping catch against the wall on a hard smash by Austin Nola that would have gone for extra bases.
The Padres activated right-hander Dinelson Lamet to make the start and he was on a strict pitch count. Lamet left his season debut after just two innings on April 21 with right forearm tightness. He lasted two innings and threw 30 pitches this time, giving up no runs and four hits.
“I’m back and I am building back up and that is what is important,” Lamet said through a translator. “Everything is a process. At the same time, I am taking everything day by day. I’m honestly not trying…