Reeling Twins shut out for second straight game by Pirates

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PITTSBURGH — Rowdy Tellez homered and drove in three runs and six Pittsburgh relievers kept the Twins in check as the Pirates beat Minnesota 4-0 on Saturday.

Tellez, who has been frequently booed at home of late while in the throes of a season-long funk, turned on a changeup from Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1) and dropped it just over the center-field wall with one out in the seventh for his first homer since March 31.

The crowd that jeered Tellez when he was introduced before the game-turning at bat then asked for a curtain call. Tellez, who signed a one-year deal with the Pirates in the offseason, obliged after boosting on a day his batting average rose to .208.

The first baseman added a two-run single in the ninth to provide some breathing room as the Pirates won for the fourth time in five games.

Hunter Stratton (2-1) picked up the win thanks to a spectacular catch by second baseman Nick Gonzales to end the seventh. Minnesota had two on with two out when pinch-hitter Manuel Margot hit a flare into shallow center field that Gonzales tracked down to make a sliding over-the-shoulder grab.

Michael A. Taylor, back from paternity leave following the birth of his son on June 2, delivered an RBI single in the ninth. Andrew McCutchen had three hits for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds had two to extend his hitting streak to seven games.

The Twins have dropped five straight after being shutout for the second consecutive game. Minnesota will take a 22-inning scoreless streak into Sunday’s series finale. The Twins had six hits — all singles — and only one player reached third base.

The lack of offense spoiled another solid start by Wood Richardson (2-1). The 23-year-old rookie struck out six against one walk and made just one real mistake that Tellez turned into a cathartic blast.

The Pirates, who have three starting pitchers — Martin Perez, Marco Gonzales and Quinn Priester — on the injured list, were forced to go to a bullpen game.

Carmen Mlodzinski got the first five outs before giving way to Luis Ortiz, who was in the mix to earn the fifth spot in the starting rotation during spring training before being sent to the bullpen.

Ortiz, who has thrived in a relief role, entered and held Minnesota scoreless for 4 1/3 innings. Justin Bruihl, Stratton, Colin Holderman and David Bednard also put up zeros as the Pirates recorded their third shutout victory in five days.


The series concludes on Sunday when Pittsburgh rookie Jared Jones (4-5, 3.25 ERA) faces Minnesota’s Bailey Ober (5-4, 4.94). Jones is coming off an impressive performance in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he tossed six shutout innings.


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