WP: Jimmy Nelson (2-1)
LP: Jeff Locke (0-1)
HR: Ryan Braun (2,3), Matt Joyce (1)
On days like today, you remember why Ryan Braun got that long contract extension a few years ago. Braun accounted for four of the Brewers eight runs tonight with two home runs, and the Brewers defeated the Pirates 8-4 in the first game of the three-game set in Pittsburgh.
The Brewers started their day by building a lead bit by bit. Scooter Gennett drove in the first run by grounding into a double play in the second inning. Jonathan Villar singled in Keon Broxton in the third inning, and Domingo Santana drove in Gennett with a single in the fourth inning. The Brewers chased Jeff Locke from the game in the fifth by loading the bases, but couldn't take advantage and remained with a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Braun took advantage of the Pirates bullpen. He hit his first home run in the sixth inning off of Kyle Lobstein to increase the lead to 5-0. Then, after a four-run seventh inning by the Pirates closed the gap to 5-4, Braun hit another two-run home run in his next at-bat to extend the lead to 7-4. A bases loaded walk in the ninth inning by Kirk Nieuwenhuis accounted for the Brewers other run.
Jimmy Nelson turned in another quality start today as well. He pitched six scoreless innings to start the game, though his command wasn't the greatest as he allowed three hits and three walks with only one strikeout. It finally caught up to him in the seventh inning, when a walk, a missed catch error by Gennett, and a home run ended his day. Nelson's final line was three runs allowed (two earned) with four hits and four walks in 6+ innings, throwing 86 pitches in the start.
Michael Blazek came in and retired the first two batters he faced, but back-to-back doubles from David Freese and Starling Marte cut the Brewers lead to 5-4. Blazek limited the damage there, though it was the second straight appearance where he allowed a run. Tyler Thornburg and Jeremy Jeffress finished the game off for the Brewers, each allowing a hit but nothing else to secure the win.
On offense, Braun had the game of the day with a 3-for-5 day, including 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Jonathan Villar also had a three hit game, and Chris Carter and Aaron Hill also had multi-hit games with two each. Scooter Gennett didn't have a hit, but walked three times. As a team, they collected eleven hits total and also walked ten times. If there's anything to complain about, it's that they left twelve runners on base as a team, though they did go 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position..They also did commit two errors, one leading to an unearned run.
The series continues tomorrow in Pittsburgh. Taylor Jungmann looks to rebound after a rough start on Friday, and he will face Jonathon Niese. First pitch is at 6:05 pm.