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Guerra dominates;Brewers beat Pirates 3-1

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WP: Junior Guerra (7-2) LP: Steven Brault (0-1) SAve: Jeremy Jeffress (25) Homeruns: Pitt, none; Mil, Chris Carter (23)

Junior Guerra shut down the Pirates 3-0 tonight
Junior Guerra shut down the Pirates 3-0 tonight
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Junior Guerra outdueled Pirate rookie Steven Brault at Miller Park tonight as the Brewers dropped the Bucs 3-1. Guerra cruised until the ninth, when the Pirates pushed across their only run.

The Brewers scored twice in the first on a two out, two run homerun from GWRBI champ Cris Carter over both bullpens in left center. Carter’s blast drove home Jonathan Villar, who had doubled to lead off the inning for the crew.

Villar struck out with two down in the second and fourth, leaving Keon Broxton at third and Kirk Nieuwenhuis at second in both innings. They finally added a BMIR in the bottom of the sixth with back to back doubles from Scooter Gennett (off of a lefty again) and Broxton.

Villar had an infield single and stole his league leading 37th base (one more than Starling Marte) leading of the bottom of the seventh against reliever Jared Hughes, and Jake Elmore (in left for a still ailing Ryan Braun) bunted him to third. Villar was thrown out at home on the contact play, a grounder to third by Jonathon Lucroy. Luc reached first on the fielder’s choice. Carter popped out to end the inning.

Meahwhile, Junior Guerra was doing a fine imitation of himself, setting down the Pirates easily. Marte doubled to right center leading off the second but Guerra set down the next three to strand him. A lead-off hit from Jordy Mercer in the sixth went for naught when a good play by Hernan Perez on a sac bunt attempt by Brault forced Mercer, and the final two were retired.

Juni G had 1-2-3 innings in the first, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth. The Pirates got the first two batters on base to start the ninth with a single from pinch hitter Matt Joyce and a walk to John Jaso. Manager Craig Counsell came out to seemingly remove Guerra, but left him in, and Gregory Palonco hit into a fielder's choice to Carter, leaving runners at first and third. Andrew McCutchen hit a slow roller that Hernan Perez flipped to second for a force, but Joyce scored.

With McCutchen at first and two down, Starling Marte hit a hard liner right at Scooter Gennett but the second base umpire couldn't get out of the way. That was ruled a dead ball hit for Marte, and Counsell now removed Guerra for closer Jeremy Jeffress. Very tough luck play; the game should have ended but the Pirates had another chance.

Jeffress faced Jung Ho Kang with the tying run at first, and got him to ground to Perez on the first pitch to end the game. The save was number 25 for Jeffress on the season.

Guerra finished the night with 8.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 run (earned), 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. Jeffress tied a major league record with a one pitch save...maybe. I suppose somebody has gotten a save by picking off a baserunner without throwing a pitch, so maybe not.

The hard luck season that Francisco Cervelli has had continued in the bottom of the eighth when an inside fastball from Juan Nicasio clipped the pantleg of Gennett and hit Cervelli full on the inside of the right ankle. The Buc’s catcher was helped off the field, unable to put weight on his right leg. Cervelli had returned just last week from the DL after suffering a broken bone in his hand earlier this year.

Tomorrow night the Pirates (52-49) send Jameson Tailon (2-1, 3.60) to the mound to face the Brewers (45-56) and Chase Anderson (5-10, 5.40). Anderson is on a one game hitting streak. Tailon faced the Brewers on July 19th,getting no decision, and going 6 innings and allowing 5 hits and 1 earned run. He was hit in the head on a line drive from Hernan Perez in the second inning of that game and stayed down for a few minutes before continuing.