In less than a month since his first Major League callup, Ke'Bryan Hayes has emerged as a cornerstone of the rebuilding Pirates’ future.
And while the club is on the verge of a third consecutive last-place finish in the National League Central, its second-ranked prospect showed why he could be the guy to help turn things around.
Hayes went 5-for-5 and scored three times as the Pirates rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Indians on Saturday night at Progressive Field. MLB Pipeline’s No. 38 overall prospect doubled three times and singled twice to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
“To be able to get five hits at the Major League level is really special for me,” Hayes told MLB.com. “All the hard work that I’ve been putting in with my swing change and stuff of that nature, it feels really good.”
The 23-year-old joined the ranks of Roberto Clemente and Dick Groat as the 12th rookie in team history to have five hits in as many plate appearances. He's the first to do so since Neil Walker in 2010.
Hayes is 14-for-27 (.519) with six extra-base hits and seven runs scored during his torrid run.
He began Saturday night’s effort by stroking a 2-2 sinker from Aaron Civale down the right field line in the opening inning before scoring on a base hit by Colin Moran. Hayes opened the third with another two-base hit, dropping a liner into the right-center field gap just beyond the reach of a diving Delino DeShields, and was plated by Josh Bell’s single to right.
The 2015 first-rounder singled in his next two at-bats. He bashed a line drive back through the middle and scored on Moran’s three-run homer in the fourth, then rolled a leadoff single up the middle in the seventh.
Leading off again in the ninth, Hayes drove another first-pitch double to center but was left stranded.
It took Hayes only 23 games to do something his father, Charlie Hayes, couldn't do in a 14-year big league career. The elder Hayes had five four-hit performances but never reached five knocks in a game.
The third baseman made a name for himself with his defense before reaching the Majors, earning a Minor League Gold Glove each of the past three seasons. But Hayes has made plenty of noise with his bat in Pittsburgh. The Texas native is batting .370/.433/.654 with four homers, seven doubles, two triples and 10 RBIs in 81 at-bats with the Pirates.
“Whether he goes 5-for-5 or 0-for-5, he comes in with the same mentality every day. Real slow heartbeat,” Pirates starter Joe Musgrove, who hurled seven scoreless innings, told MLB.com. “It’s fun to watch. He’s a really fun player, and I’m really glad he’s on our side.”
While he did not record a five-hit game at the Minor League level, Hayes did put together seven four-hit games. His best offensive season in the Minors came with Double-A Altoona in 2018. As a 21-year-old, he hit .293/.375/.444 with seven homers, seven triples, 31 doubles and 47 RBIs.
It was the Eastern League success that hitting coach Rick Eckstein wanted Hayes to tap into in the Majors. With most of his hits going up the middle or to the opposite field, the duo found exactly what they were looking for.
Indians No. 10 prospect Triston McKenzie retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth. He struck out three of the six batters he faced in relief and lowered his ERA to 3.24 over 33 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old has 42 strikeouts (11.34 K/9) through eight games, including six starts.
In other action:
Red Sox 8, Braves 2
Tenth-ranked Red Sox prospect Tanner Houck proved he's human while mowing down the National League East champions. He gave up a leadoff homer in the fifth inning to Dansby Swanson, the first run he's allowed in three big league starts. The 2017 first-round pick has a 0.53 ERA after striking out 10 and yielding the lone run on three hits with three walks over six innings. No. 3 prospect Bobby Dalbec smacked his eighth homer, a two-run shot off Braves No. 9 prospect Tucker Davidson, who surrendered seven runs -- two earned -- on three hits and four walks with a pair of strikeouts over 1 2/3 frames in his Major League debut. Box score
Nationals 4, Mets 3 (1st game)
Third-ranked Mets prospect Andres Gimenez saw his season season come to an end after he was lifted in the middle of an at-bat with what turned out to be a right oblique strain. The No. 83 overall prospect was placed on the injured list between games of the doubleheader. A surprise addition to the Opening Day roster, Gimenez effectively wrestled the starting shortstop position from Amed Rosario and batted .263/.333/.398 with eight extra-base hits and 12 RBIs in 118 at-bats. Top Nationals prospect Luis Garcia walked and struck out twice in the opener. Box score
White Sox 9, Cubs 5
No. 37 prospect Nick Madrigal went 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored for the White Sox. It was the fourth multi-hit effort in his last eight games and raised his slash line to .343/.381/.374. No. 93 Garrett Crochet fired two more scoreless innings for the South Siders, topping 100 mph on 15 of his 23 pitches and giving up two hits while striking out three. Box score
Yankees 11, Marlins 4
Third-ranked Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia picked up the win in his sixth Major League start. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out a season-high seven. No. 15 prospect Miguel Yajure handled the final two frames, walking two but yielding just one hit in a scoreless outing. He fanned four. Ninth-ranked Marlins prospect Trevor Rogers struck out four in three innings, an abbreviated outing that could make him available for Miami’s playoff series next week. No. 10 Monte Harrison singled twice and scored a run. Box score
Nationals 5, Mets 3 (2nd game)
Top Nats prospect Luis Garcia went hitless in three at-bats but reached on an error and scored in a five-run third inning. He's hitting .269/.291/.362 with two homers, six doubles and 14 RBIs in 130 at-bats. Box score
Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2
Sixth-ranked Jays prospect Alejandro Kirk had a hit in three at-bats and is batting .375 through 24 trips to the plate. O's No. 5 prospect Ryan Mountcastle drove in a run with an eighth-inning single. It was the only hit in four at-bats for MLB Pipeline’s No. 94 overall prospect, who's batting .331/.385/.496 No. 16 prospect Hunter Harvey recorded just one out and was tagged for three runs -- two earned -- on a pair of hits. Box score
Rangers 6, Astros 1
Rangers No. 3 prospect Leody Taveras blasted his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot in a five-run seventh. The blast was the only hit in five trips for the 22-year-old, who's batting .219/.305/.395 with four RBIs in 32 games. Seventh-ranked Anderson Tejeda singled and scored on Jeff Mathis' three-run homer, which was the front end of a back-to-back effort with Taveras. Demarcus Evans, Texas' No. 22 prospect, struck out Alex Bregman in a 1-2-3 eighth and has a 2.25 ERA in four relief appearances. Box score
Rockies 10, D-backs 3
Third-ranked Arizona prospect Daulton Varsho recorded his second straight multi-hit game with a double, single and a run scored in four at-bats. Through 98 at-bats, the No. 72 overall prospect is hitting .194/.288/.378 with 10 extra-base hits and eight RBIs. Box score
Mariners 5, Athletics 1 (1st game)
M's No. 18 prospect Braden Bishop broke out of a slump by going 2-for-2 with a double, a sacrifice and a run scored. It was his first multi-hit game of the season. Ninth-ranked A's prospect Jonah Heim was 0-for-3. Box score
Rays 4, Phillies 3
Randy Arozarena singled, was hit by a pitch and scored a run for the American League East champions. Tampa Bay's No. 19 prospect is 6-for-13 in his last three games to boost his slash line to .290/.375/.661. Box score
Dodgers 7, Angels 6
Top Angels prospect Jo Adell doubled, singled and scored a run in four at-bats. MLB Pipeline's No. 4 overall prospect is batting .165/.217/.273 with seven extra-base hits and seven RBIs through 117 at-bats in the Majors. Eighth-ranked Jahmai Jones plated Adell with a third-inning single in his first big league at-bat, then reached on an error and scored in the ninth. Box score
Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter,__@Gerard__Gilberto._