PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ke’Bryan Hayes drove in three runs for the third straight game, Liover Peguero knocked in two and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the Atlanta Braves 7-5 on Thursday.
Pittsburgh salvaged a split of a four-game series with the NL East leaders by overcoming an early four-run deficit behind Hayes and a strong effort out of the bullpen by Thomas Hatch (1-0).
Hatch, claimed off waivers from Toronto on Sunday, worked four scoreless innings in relief of Bailey Falter to earn his first victory in nearly three years. Colin Holderman worked around an RBI single by Ronald Acuña Jr. in the ninth to earn the second save of his career.
Matt Olson hit his 40th home run of the season for Atlanta to move into a tie with Shohei Ohtani for the major-league lead but struck out looking as the tying run in the ninth to end it.
Orlando Arcia also homered for the Braves. Austin Riley added three hits, but Atlanta’s scuffling starting pitching couldn’t hold an early 4-0 lead.
Pittsburgh touched Bryce Elder (8-4) for three runs in the third to get back in the game, highlighted by a two-run single by Hayes. Henry Davis led off the sixth with a single and Jack Suwinski chased Elder with a double. Joe Jimenez came on in relief but gave up an RBI single to Peguero that tied the game and Jason Delay’s fielder’s choice put the Pirates in front.
Elder gave up five runs and six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Atlanta is cruising as it chases a sixth straight division title but the starting pitching has hit a rough spot, posting an ERA of 10.59 over the club’s past six games.
The Braves’ bullpen stepped in capably, including in one-run wins over Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Not this time around.
Bryan Reynolds led off the seventh with a single and Hayes followed with a triple to the gap in right-center field to become the first Pirate to drive in three runs in three consecutive games since outfielder Jason Bay did it from May 24-27, 2006. Hayes later scored on a single by Peguero to give the Pirates a little breathing room.
Pirates: INF Tucupita Marcano had surgery for the torn ACL in his right knee on Wednesday. He is expected to be out 9-12 months. … SS Oneil Cruz (fractured ankle) began a running program recently. Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said the team remains hopeful that Cruz — who has been out since April 9 — will return before the end of the regular season.
RHP Paul Skenes, the top overall pick in the 2023 draft, tossed a perfect inning in his professional debut with Pittsburgh’s Florida Complex League team. Skenes needed just 10 pitches to get three outs against Minnesota’s FCL club, ending his appearance with a strikeout of Minnesota’s first-round pick Walker Jenkins.
Braves: Will spend the weekend in New York facing the Mets. Charlie Morton (10-10, 3.86 ERA) starts the opener for Atlanta.
Pirates: Continue a week-long homestand on Friday when Cincinnati visits to start a three-game series. Johan Oviedo (6-11, 4.18) starts for Pittsburgh against Andrew Abbott (6-3, 2.93).