Reynolds' career-high 5 hits lead resurgent Bucs offense

May 14th, 2024

MILWAUKEE -- ’ career night at the plate breathed much-needed life into a scuffling Pirates offense on Monday night against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Reynolds went 5-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and a pair of singles to lead the Pirates past the Brewers, 8-6. The first career five-hit game in the Majors for Reynolds came after he went hitless in five at-bats against the Cubs on Sunday.

“I got some pitches to hit,” Reynolds said.

No hit was bigger than Reynolds’ leadoff homer in the ninth after the Brewers cut the Pirates’ lead to a single run in the eighth on Jake Bauers’ first career grand slam, which came off Josh Fleming.

Reynolds’ solo shot off Joel Payamps gave the Pirates a two-run cushion after they nearly surrendered the lead.

“I didn’t feel any added pressure. I just got in a good count and took a bet that I’d get a heater and I did,” he said.

In 37 career games at American Family Field, the switch-hitting Reynolds is hitting .352/.438/.584 with 10 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 17 RBIs with 17 runs scored and 15 walks.

“This guy’s a good hitter,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Today, he showed why he’s one of our best players. He’s a good hitter from both sides and we saw that.”

Jack Suwinski -- inserted into the cleanup spot -- and Yasmani Grandal also homered for the Pirates. Suwinski came into the game batting .175 but his two-run blast in the first off Brewers starter Colin Rea gave the Pirates an early lead.

“He hammered that ball and got the offense going early,” Reynolds said.

Shelton said it’s necessary that Suwinski contribute at the plate.

“Jack’s a big part of our offense and it was nice to see him have some good at-bats,” Shelton said.

Andrew McCutchen, who entered batting .191, added a pair of hits. Oneil Cruz connected for a 118.5 mph double and a 116.3 mph single, marking just the fifth time a player has had two hits at 116 mph or more since Statcast’s inception in 2015.

Cruz has reached safely in 12 of his last 13 games against the Brewers.

“Offensively, we did a really good job and prevailed,” Shelton said. “I thought we swung the bats really well.”

After averaging 3.49 runs per game through their first 39 games, the Pirates have tallied 22 runs over their last three games (7.3 runs per game).

Coming off a 4-5 homestand that included an extra-innings loss to the Cubs on Sunday, the Pirates jumped in front on Suwinski’s first-inning blast and pushed the lead to 3-0 in the third when McCutchen led off with a single and scored on Reynolds’ double.

The Pirates pushed across two more runs in the seventh on run-scoring hits from McCutchen and Cruz to grow the lead to 5-0. After the Brewers tallied a pair of runs in their half of the seventh, a two-run homer by Grandal in the eighth, just his second of the season, pushed the Pirates’ advantage back to five runs before the Brewers scored four in their half of the eighth.

The Pirates got a quality start from Mitch Keller (4-3), who gave up 8 hits over six scoreless innings. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter while throwing 100 pitches (71 strikes). He remained in the game after being struck on the inner part of his left leg by a liner off the bat of Willy Adames leading off the second.

Keller managed to pitch out of trouble, as the Brewers left two runners on base in four of the six innings. He tossed a complete game in his previous outing on May 6 against the Angels, giving up just one run and five hits. The righty has worked five or more innings in 40 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in the Majors.

The Pirates, who had lost 21 of 30 games entering Monday night’s contest after starting the season 9-2, improved to 10-11 on the road and are 3-2 against the Brewers this season.

Since 2022, the Pirates and Brewers have played 23 games that have been decided by two runs or fewer, the most such games between any two National League teams.