Pirates, D-backs prepare for back-to-back series finale

THE Pittsburgh Pirates and visit Arizona Diamondbacks both will be looking for a series win when they play the rubber match of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon

Pittsburgh beat Arizona ace Zac Gallen 13-3 on Friday.

“I felt good,” Gallen said. “I wasn’t very sharp.”

THE Diamondbacks on Saturday in a 4-3 victory as it was Arizona’s turn to face opposing ace Mitch Keller as the National League Player of the Week. Keller had not allowed a run in his previous two starts, totaling 16 innings

Keller appeared to respond to the challenge, but was pulled after six innings after giving up two runs on three hits and striking out eight on 84 pitches. Substitute Robert Stephenson delivered the decisive hit in the seventh, Pavin Smith’s two-run homer.

“He lost his delivery a little bit in the sixth inning.” Pirates Manager Derek Shelton said he was determined to pull Keller. “We have seen that the events on the tracks are not the same.

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The loss comes after Pittsburgh has won three of four as it tries to regain its footing after a stretch that saw it lose 11 of 12 games.

Arizona has won six of its last eight.

On Sunday, both teams depleted the bullpen a bit. THE Pirates used four relievers on Saturday, including David Bednart. Arizona also used four relievers, including Kyle Nelson, who earned the win

Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (4-3, 2.92 ERA) faces Pittsburgh right-hander Roansy Contreras (3-4, 4.40) in the series finale.

Kelly is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA over his past four starts.

In last Monday’s game against Oakland, Kelly did something he had never done before – he got sacked.

Kelly was lifted shortly after Arizona quarterback Torey Lovullo’s sack in the eighth inning. The two disputed a check, which was called a strike.

“That was my first rejection,” Kelly said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been thrown out of a game in my life. But I just felt it was a terrible call. I thought it was a very, very obvious swing. I saw the video and I thought it was a very obvious swing.”

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The heat of the moment probably won’t last. Instead, it will be Kelly’s performance. In seven-plus innings, he gave up two runs (one earned) and four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.

“(Monday) was probably the most in control of my delivery, my rhythm, everything I’ve felt all year,” Kelly said.

Kelly is 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA in three career starts Pirates

Contreras has lost three straight starts, giving up at least one homer in each.

Most recently, Contreras gave up two runs, both home runs, in seven innings and no offensive support in Pittsburgh’s 2-0 loss to Baltimore on May 13.

“I think (May 13) was probably the best thing Ro has done all year,” Shelton said of Contreras’ tough loss. “He gives up two solo homers … but other than that, I thought he was excellent. Other than that, he was pretty much in control. He didn’t make a lot of contact, he got fly balls and he did a really nice job.”

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Contreras has faced Arizona once in his career, taking a no-decision after allowing one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings on June 4, 2022.

— Field Level Media

Source: https://deadspin.com/pirates-d-backs-brace-for-finale-of-back-and-forth-ser-1850459134