Once again a depleted Brewer line-up produced the necessary offense to win, this time beating the Pirates 5-3. Ryan Braun again sat with right side tightness, and of course Jonathon Lucroy sat pending an expected trade. No deal had been announced at the concluson of this recap. Chase Anderson took advantage of some shoddy baserunning by Pittsburgh to notch his second consecutive win, moving to 6-10 on the season. The batting star was Hernan Perez with a 3 for 4 night, driving in 3 and hitting his 7th homer of the year.
After Chase Anderson struck out the side in the top of the first the Brewers jumped on Bucs’ starter Jameson Taillon for a two spot in the bottom half. Jonathan Villar had an infield single and his 38th steal of the year, but was able to trot home when Perez pulled an inside fastball deep into the second deck in straight away left. 2-0 Brewers.
Anderson avoided serious trouble until there was one down in the fourth. Perez was charged with a tough error on a smash by Andrew McCutchen. The ball appeared to clip the edge of the cutout at third and came up on Hernan; it trickled through his glove and Perez had no play. Starling Marte walked and Jung Ho Kang singled to left to drive in McCutchen. Ramon Flores hit his cut-off man, and Marte was caught in a rundown between second and third. He stayed in it long enough to allow Kang to get to second.
Francisco Cervalli walked (nice to see Cervalli back after his scary injury Friday night) and Josh Harrison singled to right. Kang ran through a stop sign and was thrown out easily at home by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. In the top of the fifth Jordy Mercer took a called strike three before Taillon lined one into right for a seeming hit. Taillon eased up going into first and Nieuwenhuis gunned him down for the old 9-3 putout.
Let’s summarize that sequence: in a string of seven hitters, the Pirates had a reached base on error, a walk, a single, a walk, a single, a strikeout, and a seeming single that turned into a force at first. One run, and it was unearned. Ouch. Marte also contributed a caught stealing at third for the second out of the second inning, so the Buccos truly contributed mightily to their loss.
The Brewers added two in the bottom of the seventh off of relievers Arquimedes Caminero, Jonathon Niece, and Jared Hughes. A one out triple by Keon Broxton was followed by a walk to pinch hitter Andy Wilkins. Wilkins stole second without a throw (his first in the big leagues), but a Villar comebacker to Caminero got Broxton coming home with Wilkins talking third. Niece came in to face Scooter Gennett and Scoot slapped his second single of the night into right with Villar running, plating Wilkins and sending Villar to third. Scooter also stole second without a throw, and Perez singled to left for his third hit, driving home Villar. Gennett was thrown out at the plate by Starling Marte to end the inning.
Will Smith had the eighth and allowed a two out homer to Gregory Polanco to bring the score to 4-2, but in the bottom half the Barry Bonds of Miller Park (Captain Kirk Nieuwenhuis) pulled one way out to right center off of Neftali Feliz to bump the lead back to three at 5-2.
Jeremy Jeffress retired the first two in the top of the ninth but allowed a single, walk, RBI single (Jordy Mercer) before retiring Sean Rodriguez on a flyball to center to cement his 26th save and second in two nights, 5-3.
Carlos Torres and Tyler Thornburg had the sixth and seventh, and both held the Pirates scoreless.
The Brewers had 12 hits on the night, with 8 of them coming in the sixth, seventh, and eighth. Besides Hernan’s three hit night and Scoots’ two hit effort, Capt. Kirk and Broxton also had two hits. Anderson allowed 4 hits in 5 innings, with an unearned run, walking 2 and fanning 7.
With both Smith and Jeffress pitching, it would appear that neither will be included in the Lucroy trade.
The Brewers improved to 46-56, and tomorrow will send Matt Garza (1-4, 5.74) to the bump to try and continue their dominance over the Pirates in Miller Park. Pittsburgh (52-50) counters with Francisco Liriano (6-10, 5.38). Liriano dominated the Brewers last week in Pittsburgh.