The Cleveland Guardians’ bullpen rebounded from a rough series against the Rangers to shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates as the offense unloaded in an 11-0 win Monday night.
Pirates starting pitcher Quinn Priester, a 22-year-old rookie making his big league debut, breezed through the first three innings and only needed 25 pitches to do it. The Guardians failed to get the ball out of the infield, grounding out in eight of their first nine at-bats. Their fortunes started to change the second time through the order. Steven Kwan was the first to reach base, drawing a walk to lead off the fourth inning. Amed Rosario followed with a two-run homer to left-center, making him the first Guardian to get the ball out of the infield against Priester.
Priester’s day only got worse from there. Bo Naylor became the third player on the team to get the ball out of the infield, lining a two-out RBI double into the gap in left-center in the fifth inning to score Will Brennan from first base and make it a 3-0 lead in favor of Cleveland.
The sixth inning would be Priester’s last. After a leadoff single by Rosario, José Ramírez launched an RBI double off the top of the wall in right field. Josh Naylor followed with an RBI double of his own and then scored on a two-run homer by Andrés Giménez. Two batters later, Priester’s day was over, having surrendered seven hits and seven earned runs over 5.1 innings.
Josh Naylor extended the Guardians’ lead to 9-0 with a two-run homer off right-handed reliever Yohan Ramírez in the seventh inning. The second pitch of his at-bat was a sinker in the strike zone that he fouled off. With a 2-1 count, Ramírez tried to get away with the same pitch but Naylor was ready for it, depositing it into the stands in left-center.
Steven Kwan’s two-out RBI single in the eighth inning made it a double-digit lead. Cleveland’s final run came on a two-out RBI infield single by Myles Straw in the ninth.
Provided ample run support, the Guardians’ bullpen didn’t give the Pirates an inch.
Xzavion Curry set the table for Cleveland, holding Pittsburgh scoreless over the opening three frames. The only hit he allowed was an Andrew McCutchen flyball to right field that David Fry misplayed at the wall, gifting the veteran designated hitter a two-out double.
Michael Kelly, Sam Hentges, Nick Sandlin, Cody Morris, and Emmanuel Clase took turns keeping the Pirates at bay over the final six innings. When all was said and done, six relievers combined to limit Pittsburgh to four hits and three walks over nine shutout innings.
The win snapped the Guardians’ first four-game losing streak of the season.