By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
Pittsburgh Pirates starter Mitch Keller was pulled after five innings despite not allowing a hit — and walking eight — against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Keller couldn’t find the plate in the first inning, when he walked the bases loaded after throwing balls on 12 of his first 15 pitches. The Indians, however, scored only once and then didn’t capitalize in the third after Keller walked the bases full for the second time.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton pulled Keller after 98 pitches — 49 were balls — and replaced him with reliever Nik Turley.
Keller threw six no-hit innings in his previous start against St. Louis on Sept. 19 before leaving and has now thrown 11 straight hitless innings.
Keller is the first NL pitcher with back-to-back no-hit outings of at least five innings since Johnny Vander Meer threw consecutive no-hitters in 1938, STATS said.
Gregory Polanco’s two-run homer in the fourth off Carlos Carrasco has the Pirates ahead 2-1.
The closest Cleveland has come to a hit was in the fifth when José Ramírez, who entered as perhaps baseball’s hottest hitter, ripped a ball down the line that first baseman Colin Moran gloved with a diving stop before throwing to Keller at first in time to beat Ramírez.
The right-hander was sidelined earlier this season with a left oblique injury.
The Pirates haven’t had a no-hitter since Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combined for one in 1997.
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