On a night defined by the bat meeting ball symphony, the Pirates tied their franchise record of seven home runs, beating the Mariners emphatically, 11-6, at T-Mobile Park in a certified classic performance.
“It was a great day, for everyone to come out and play the way they did,” said Suwinski fresh off his third career multi-home run game. “It’s a bit like what we saw at the start of the year. It just shows we’re a good baseball team. We can play at a very good level when we all play together, playing for each other.
Friday’s fireworks, an offensive display that coincided with the literal fireworks from T-Mobile Park after the game, marked the third time since 1901 that the Pirates have hit seven home runs in a single game, the other occasions being August 20, 2003 and August 16, 1947, both coming against the Cardinals. According to team historian Jim Trdinich, the Pirates also hit seven home runs on June 6, 1894 against Boston.
McCutchen started the gig by setting the tone with a commanding home run over the left field fence to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. With two hits on Friday, the other being a single, McCutchen is now 10 hits short of 2,000 in his career.
Santana, whose leadership was invaluable as the Mariners broke their two-decade playoff drought last season, snagged a solo shot over the right-field fence, his first homer since April 7. .
Suwinski and Hayes went back to back in the fifth inning, headlining a five-run frame that helped open the game. As George Kirby left the mound after the Hayes circuit, a refrain of “Let’s Go Bucs!” chants behind the third base dugout temporarily turned T-Mobile Park into PNC Park West.
Suwinski was part of another multi-homerun frame as he and Marcano left the building in the seventh inning with a bomb ballad. In the eighth, Reynolds capped homerun harmony with the night’s most aesthetically pleasing homerun, a 403-foot moonshot that sounded through the windows of the Hit It Here Cafe.
“At that time, some of us were laughing just because the game plan we had was not to hit the whole game like we did,” Suwinski said.
Mitch Keller added:[We were] kind of just looking around like, ‘Who’s next? Who’s next?’ It’s funny. This is very fun. Especially go back to back. Special night for the offense. I couldn’t be happier for all these guys.
Four of the Pirates’ seven homers came against Kirby, a particularly impressive feat considering Kirby’s skill at containing the long ball. Coming into play, Kirby had allowed only three homers all season; the only pitchers this year to give up three or fewer home runs are Hunter Brown (3), Nathan Eovaldi (3), Zac Gallen (2), Justin Steele (2) and Sonny Gray (0). Additionally, Kirby’s .46 HR/9 ranked fifth among starting pitchers.
“He’s a really good pitcher,” Reynolds said. “I’m proud of how we came up with a good approach and stuck with it. We were prepared. [Four] Home runs against anyone are awesome, but the fact that we can do that with a pitcher like him is really good.
Pittsburgh’s offensive wave was needed on a night when Keller, for the first time in several weeks, didn’t have his ace thing. Keller allowed a season-high six earned runs over six innings, his ERA dropping from 2.44 to 3.01 by the end of the night. The right-hander, who walked twice, allowed two homers and struck out eight, said he wasn’t sharp, adding that he plans to flush out that outing and move on.
There have been several occasions this season where Keller has seemingly carried the Pirates, whether it’s his all game or his 13 strikeout performance. That night, the offense had their backs, doing it in a big way.