Mitch Keller rocked as Pirates drop 2nd game of doubleheader to Reds
CINCINNATI — Jose Iglesias has been drawing rave reviews all season for his nifty glove work.
He contributed nicely at the plate Monday, too.
The slick-fielding Iglesias hit his first career grand slam off Mitch Keller in the right-hander’s major league debut, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 Monday for a split of their day-night doubleheader.
“Every time you get such a lead, it doesn’t hurt,” Iglesias said. “I put a good swing on it to put my team in position to win the game. It feels good. I did it with the bat this time.”
Iglesias’ homer was part of a six-run first. Derek Dietrich and Yasiel Puig added back-to-back homers in the seventh against Alex McRae.
Pittsburgh rallied for an 8-5 victory in the opener, going ahead to stay when Bryan Reynolds hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the Pirates’ four-run eighth inning.
Kyle Crick (2-1) got four outs for the win, and Felipe Vazquez earned his 14th save.
The doubleheader was scheduled after the Pirates-Reds game March 30 was rained out.
Cincinnati jumped all over Keller (0-1). Nick Senzel walked, Jesse Winker singled and Eugenio Suarez walked to load the bases with no outs in the first.
After Dietrich struck out, Puig singled in a run and Iglesias hit a drive to left-center for his fourth homer this season. Senzel also had an RBI single in the inning as the Reds sent 11 batters to the plate while Keller was throwing 41 pitches.
“We knew we had an opportunity in the first inning,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The grand slam was huge. Their pitcher settled down and actually did a good job for them.”
Keller, one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects, allowed seven hits, struck out seven and walked two in four innings.
“The first inning didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but I thought I responded well,” the 23-year-old said. “The first inning, I was a little amped up and my offspeed pitches weren’t as crisp as they were in the second, third and fourth innings.”
“He got punched hard early,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The hole he dug was awful deep. He got better as he went on. He held his poise and stayed aggressive.”
Cincinnati’s fast start was more than enough support for Sonny Gray (2-4), who pitched six innings of one-run ball. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his second straight win.